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Baseboard heater old wiring question
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Baseboard heater old wiring question

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Baseboard heater old wiring question
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Thread: Baseboard heater old wiring question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6

    Default Baseboard heater old wiring question

    Hi, When we moved into our new place I noticed that the baseboard heater in our living room was on a double 15amp breaker. I figured that there must be a reason for it so I left it alone. Then a couple of days ago I decided to replace the drywall on the heater wall, and when I removed all the old drywall I found that the heater wire had been extended with a #14 gauge wire spliced into the original #12 gauge wire. There was no junction box to contain the splice, it was just an ugly bundle of marettes and electrical tape inside the wall. The electrical tape had become very brittle and was falling off.

    Baseboard heater old wiring question-wiring-jpg

    It was obviously very unsafe, so I installed an octogon box and replaced the #14 extention wire to the proper #12 wire. Now it looks like this

    Baseboard heater old wiring question-wiring-jpg

    My question is, should I now switch the 15amp breaker for a 20amp breaker or leave it as it is? Considering that the rest of the wiring on that line is over 30 years old, I really don't want to risk my families safety if there's a chance that the rest of the old #12 wiring on that line wouldn't be able to handle 20 amps. I would rather have an undersized breaker than a wire that will burn before the breaker jumps. How much can I trust a 30+ year old #12 gauge wire on a 20amp breaker?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    400

    Default

    Did you leave the new box accessible?
    What is the wattage of the heater? Unless the heater has been tripping the breaker there is probably no need to up the breaker to 20 amp. However if you ever decide to increase the heater wattage you are now setup to allow for a 20 amp breaker if needed.
    Operation Overlord.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thank you for the quick response. I'm not sure of the wattage, it's an old 5.5' heater. It never tripped the breaker, so I think I'll just leave it at 15 amps for now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6

    Default

    oh, to answer your first question.. The box is securely screwed to the stud about 3 feet from the floor. I'm just a programmer and computer technician but my father is a renovator not an electrician, so I'm pretty well versed in construction codes and I've worked many times on construction projects with him. I just wanted to consult with a professional electrician about the safety of my wiring before doing anything that might be dangerous. High voltage electricity scares the **** out of me.

    I got a copy of the complete canadian electrical code book for 2012 and I couldn't find the information I was looking for in it. The darn thing is over 600 pages long! Needless to say, I was happy to find this website.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    400

    Default

    The box screwed to the stud is good. It can not however be covered with dry wall. The cover needs to be able to be removed without cutting a hole in the drywall.
    Here is a site that may useful to you in Ontario. Just go to the FAQ page at the top right to get answers to many of your question including a code reference.

    http://www.esasafe.com/
    Operation Overlord.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Really? I don't know how many times I've found electrical splice boxes inside walls while doing renovations with my father. I didn't think it was a problem. It's one of the main walls in my living room, I can't leave it without drywall. I actually already covered it, but I havent plastered yet, so it's still easy to remove it. The only other option I can see would be to put it inside the closet where my breaker panel is located. The walls in there are bare studs. In that case, I would have to get another 10 feet or so of 12 gauge wire to reach it from my heater, and I would have to fish the wire coming from the thermostat to that closet as well.

    Thanks for the info.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    400

    Default

    What's on the other side of the wall? Could you flip the box over and leave the cover on the opposite wall?
    code ref 12-3014(1)

    From the ESAFAQ page.

    Question
    The electrician has installed junction boxes near my electrical panel because the cables were too short. Does the code permit this in a brand new house?
    Answer

    The code does not prevent the use of junction boxes where their use is necessary to extend cables that are too short in a new installation.

    Note that the code requires that the junction boxes be accessible after completion of the interior wall and ceiling finishes. The junction boxes cannot be permanently concealed behind drywall or similar materials.

    Rules 12-3000, 12-3014.

    Ontario Electrical Safety Code 25th Edition/2012.
    Operation Overlord.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Same problem. Other side of that wall is my daughter's bedroom. I'm gonna have to move it to the utility closet, there's no other choice.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    400

    Default

    Don't know the layout of your house but the ceiling in the basement works. Above a drop ceiling is considered accessible.
    Operation Overlord.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Nah, my basement is finished with drywall ceilings. Just out of curiosity, why would the box need to be accessible? It's not a junction box really. It's just to contain the splice point for the heaters extension. I can't forsee a time when it would need to be accessed unless the heater would need to be moved, and it's a very small room with only one logical place to put a heater. I would understand if it was for an outlet line, then you would possibly need to access it in the future to lead power to a new outlet in the room or a switch for a light, but it's only a dedicated, independent line for that one heater.

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