Electric baseboard heating problem

Discussion in 'Misc DIY' started by Gm1234, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. Gm1234

    Gm1234 Guest

    We have a bedroom in attic that we seldom use. But with holiday houseguests
    it is getting use. But, the electric baseboard heater is not working.

    We have fuse panels. This particular room's heating is not identified, but
    perhaps it shares a circuit with another heater? Anyway, I removed all fuses
    and checked each one. No bad fuses.

    The heater is controlled by a wall thermostat - It has white and black wires
    coming to it - The thermostat breaks the white wire only, the black wire
    really just passes through. I checked voltages - nothing across the white &
    black on either side of the thermostat. But from either black or white to
    ground (the box), I get 110v. Just is case, I changed out the thermostat for
    a spare, but no change.

    At heater, it is the same - no voltage between the incoming wires, but 110v
    to ground from either side.

    Questions:
    - If I see 110v to ground from black & white, why don't I see 220V across
    these conductors?
    - If I see the 110v to ground, does that mean that I do have power to the
    heater?

    Any suggestions as to how to further troubleshoot this problem?

    Graham
    Ontario, Canada
     
    Gm1234, Dec 31, 2006
    #1
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  2. Gm1234

    dpb Guest

    Big Al wrote:
    > "dpb" <> wrote in message
    > news:...

    ,,,
    > > > This is what I would have thought, but the puzzle is that I get the 110v

    > to
    > > > ground, but not 220v across the hot conductors. ...

    > >
    > > That indicates both "hot" wires are connected to the same phase
    > > somewhere -- either at the fuse box or at some other junction box,
    > > somebody made a wiring mistake and got both of them on the same side.

    >
    > It indicates one leg is open. The 120 is passing thru the element.


    Depends on where he's measuring, but possible, yes. Thought OP
    indicated directly across feeds, but if not...
     
    dpb, Jan 1, 2007
    #2
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  3. Gm1234

    Gm1234 Guest

    "mm" wrote >
    > >We have a bedroom in attic that we seldom use. But with holiday

    houseguests
    > >it is getting use. But, the electric baseboard heater is not working.

    >
    > BTW, has it ever worked? How long have you lived there?


    Good Question! and the answer is YES it has always worked in the past, but
    we had not checked it this winter until now.

    This should answer most of the suggestions (I appreciate them!) - We have
    lived here for 30+ years - The panel has not been modified during that time
    nor the bedroom's wiring.

    I understand how the voltages would be as measured if somehow both hots were
    being fed from same phase - But at a loss to know how this could be.

    We did have some bathroom rewiring done this past summer, but it should not
    affect this area. But you never know!

    Graham
     
    Gm1234, Jan 1, 2007
    #3
  4. Gm1234

    Gm1234 Guest

    "dpb" <> wrote
    >
    > Big Al wrote:


    > >
    > > It indicates one leg is open. The 120 is passing thru the element.

    >
    > Depends on where he's measuring, but possible, yes. Thought OP
    > indicated directly across feeds, but if not...
    >


    I measured zero volts across white/black hot wires at feed to wall
    thermostat and also at feed to heater itself. At both places, I read 110v to
    ground from either hot wire.

    Graham
     
    Gm1234, Jan 1, 2007
    #4
  5. Gm1234

    indago Guest

    061231 2102 - Gm1234 posted:

    >
    > "dpb" <> wrote
    >>
    >> Big Al wrote:

    >
    >>>
    >>> It indicates one leg is open. The 120 is passing thru the element.

    >>
    >> Depends on where he's measuring, but possible, yes. Thought OP
    >> indicated directly across feeds, but if not...
    >>

    >
    > I measured zero volts across white/black hot wires at feed to wall
    > thermostat and also at feed to heater itself. At both places, I read 110v to
    > ground from either hot wire.
    >
    > Graham
    >
    >

    Disconnect the power to the heater at the panel, and then disconnect the
    wires at the heater. Then, reconnect the power to the circuit at the panel,
    and turn the thermostat all the way up. Then, check, with your voltmeter,
    across the two wires at the heater. Also, check each one to ground. The
    one that shows 0 to ground is the one that is giving you the problem. If
    the system was working before, it should work now, except maybe a fuse has
    blown, or, when the remodel was taking place, the wire got cut somewhere
    along the line.
     
    indago, Jan 1, 2007
    #5
  6. Gm1234

    RBM Guest

    He should first check to see that he has 240 volts on that circuit at the
    panel



    "indago" <> wrote in message
    news:C1BDE1CA.7156%...
    > 061231 2102 - Gm1234 posted:
    >
    >>
    >> "dpb" <> wrote
    >>>
    >>> Big Al wrote:

    >>
    >>>>
    >>>> It indicates one leg is open. The 120 is passing thru the element.
    >>>
    >>> Depends on where he's measuring, but possible, yes. Thought OP
    >>> indicated directly across feeds, but if not...
    >>>

    >>
    >> I measured zero volts across white/black hot wires at feed to wall
    >> thermostat and also at feed to heater itself. At both places, I read 110v
    >> to
    >> ground from either hot wire.
    >>
    >> Graham
    >>
    >>

    > Disconnect the power to the heater at the panel, and then disconnect the
    > wires at the heater. Then, reconnect the power to the circuit at the
    > panel,
    > and turn the thermostat all the way up. Then, check, with your voltmeter,
    > across the two wires at the heater. Also, check each one to ground. The
    > one that shows 0 to ground is the one that is giving you the problem. If
    > the system was working before, it should work now, except maybe a fuse has
    > blown, or, when the remodel was taking place, the wire got cut somewhere
    > along the line.
    >
     
    RBM, Jan 1, 2007
    #6
  7. Gm1234

    mm Guest

    On Sun, 31 Dec 2006 20:56:19 -0500, "Gm1234" <>
    wrote:

    >
    >"mm" wrote >
    >> >We have a bedroom in attic that we seldom use. But with holiday

    >houseguests
    >> >it is getting use. But, the electric baseboard heater is not working.

    >>
    >> BTW, has it ever worked? How long have you lived there?

    >
    >Good Question! and the answer is YES it has always worked in the past, but
    >we had not checked it this winter until now.


    Hard to believe it used to be connected to the right phase, and it
    moved during the summer.
    >
    >This should answer most of the suggestions (I appreciate them!) - We have
    >lived here for 30+ years - The panel has not been modified during that time
    >nor the bedroom's wiring.
    >
    >I understand how the voltages would be as measured if somehow both hots were
    >being fed from same phase - But at a loss to know how this could be.
    >
    >We did have some bathroom rewiring done this past summer, but it should not
    >affect this area. But you never know!


    That is undoubtedly the reason. How, I have no idea.

    You didn't answer my previous post. Is it permanent heating or space
    heating? More importantly, do you know that it is 220, or might it be
    110?

    If it were 110 and the heat is on, but the white is broken some place
    between the thermostat and the fusebox, then you would get 110 at both
    the whiite and black between ground, but 0 between white and black.

    Although white is usually neutral and at ground potential, when the
    white wire is broken, the 110 potential will flow from the black
    through the appliance to the portion of white closer to the appliance.
    It's all at the same voltage when there is no current flow.

    Come to think of it, this would all be true with 220 also. In 220
    only 110 comes from each conductor. Maybe the fuse or breaker, or
    wire, for white or black, is blown, tripped, or broken. That would
    account for your symptoms.

    >Graham
    >
     
    mm, Jan 1, 2007
    #7
  8. Gm1234

    Gm1234 Guest

    > He should first check to see that he has 240 volts on that circuit at the
    > panel


    OK, thanks for input - Problem is resolved!

    Because heating circuits are not clearly labeled on fuse panel, I did not
    know which one the problem heater was on. Today I pulled all heater fuses
    (They are in double-fuse holders with hinged cover to prevent removal of
    individual fuses). I now did not have 110v to ground at the wall
    thermostat. We then plugged the fuseholders in one at a time until the 110v
    re-appeared. So we found which circuit the heater was on..

    I tested problem circuit fuses by using resistance meter across the brass
    forks of the fuse holder and it showed continuity for both pairs. But, when
    I removed the fuses, one was bad! This despite it showing no sign of having
    blown - fuse strip was still intact - problem must have been internal.

    Anyway, a new fuse solved problem - I guess next time I should remove each
    fuse from holder, but still don't understand why testing across the "prongs"
    showed no problem!

    Existing main panel is Amalgamated Electric Cat No 200-4240 combination
    service entrance/panel 200A with 19 double fuses and one large fuse pair for
    range. There are two small sub panels with 6 breakers each that serve areas
    that were re-wired at one time. There is another breaker panel in the garage
    also fed from the main panel.

    Would it be worthwhile considering upgrading main panel to a breaker panel?
    Rough cost?

    Thanks for all the input guys!
     
    Gm1234, Jan 1, 2007
    #8
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