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Thread: Electric Baseboard Heat Acting Up

  1. #1

    Default Electric Baseboard Heat Acting Up

    Hello All - I am a newby here, but contribute on some other sites often (Vintage Mustang Forum, 403bWise). Thank you in advance for your expertise. We have electric baseboard heat in our condo.

    So, progression seems to be the same. I have the 4th different/brand new thermostat installed now. All of them are specific to a 240V, Double Pole system. I've tried 2 electronic/digital/programmable, and 2 "old school" manual non-programmable.

    Install the thermostat and all works great. After about 4-6 hours, thermostat must be turned higher and higher to get baseboard units to heat.

    Local electrician that I know was working on a job in the area today and stopped by this afternoon. Installed a BRAND NEW Honeywell manual/non-programmable thermostat similar to the one I had. Worked great at 65 degrees. As I sit here at 8 pm, I have to turn it to 80 to get the baseboard units to come on (Even though it is 61 in the room!). Gave local electrician a buzz and he still believes it is the thermostat and not the baseboard unit.

    Property manager informed me today that a number of owners have replaced their aging, 30 year old baseboard units - I assume when they started to act a little weird - Maybe like this?

    What say you?

    Bill

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    8,505

    Default

    The thermostat is a switch. Whether you turn it to 75 or 95, either it is turning on or it isn't -- the amount of turning past the setpoint doesn't change anything. If the problem was the heater, I'd think it would just cut out randomly. Maybe it is cutting out randomly, and the longer it takes to futz with the thermostat lets the problem resolve itself and you think that messing with the thermostat fixed it.

    I would look at the connections in the heater and redo them (they could be loosening as it heats up). There could also be a thermal cutout in the baseboard that has to cool enough before it resets. You can diagnose by replacing the thermostat with a wall switch of suitable amp rating. Just don't leave it this way... You need to turn on the switch and let the heater get the room hot. Turn the switch off. Wait a bit, then turn it on and the heater should come on. If it doesn't, then its the heater or a loose connection. You may have do do this a few times, but the switch is obvious when it is on or off.

    This problem is like the guy with the camaro who got ice cream. Every time he got vanilla, the car would not start. If he got another flavor it would start. Turns out, when he got a flavor other than vanilla, he took longer to decide what flavor and the car cooled enough that it would start. A quick in-out for vanilla it would not start after that hot soak. Obviously, the car can't know what flavor he chose and isn't relevant to the problem.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Welland Ontario
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    4,856

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    What's in the wall; behind the wall where the thermostat is located?. Could there be a source of heat causing the stat to think the room is warm?

    Does the stat feel warm? Hang a normal thermometer on the wall beside the stat. How does the temp read?
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  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joed View Post
    What's in the wall; behind the wall where the thermostat is located?. Could there be a source of heat causing the stat to think the room is warm?

    Does the stat feel warm? Hang a normal thermometer on the wall beside the stat. How does the temp read?
    The stat does get warm. Even hot. No heat source behind the stat.

  5. #5

    Default

    There is nothing behind the wall or nearby that is influencing the thermostat. Nothing has changed in the unit since we moved in - In 2005. Temp reads correctly for room. I think I am going to start focusing on the register itself - Maybe that thermal cutout has degraded over 30 years?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Welland Ontario
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    4,856

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    The first thing I would do is measure the voltage coming out of the stat. If the voltage is zero no point in testing the heater. If the problem was the heater then adjusting the stat would not make the heat come on.

    Could even be an incoming voltage problem.
    May a loose connection and playing with the stat reconnects it.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Welland Ontario
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    4,856

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    Quote Originally Posted by bk10s View Post
    The stat does get warm. Even hot. No heat source behind the stat.
    That would certainly influence it to turn off.
    Possibly a loose connection causing heat? Too many amps for the stat causing contacts to heat up?
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