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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2010
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    Upstate New York
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    Default Changing thermostats on electric baseboard heat

    So, headed up to the Big City, and will be checking out Lowe's & Home Depot...

    The house has electric baseboard heat, and 2 wood stoves. Trying to conserve this winter, so going to try wood again. However, I am often out much of the day, so will still need the electric as backup.

    The thermostats in this house never work well. They crank up the heat to what I know is almost 70, when set at 55, and will turn on when set low. Been thinking I should replace them, but how? My son helped his BIL replace some, and said he thinks it's pretty easy.

    I'm guessing at the store, they may give me guidance. But is there any info about my house/wiring/electric I need before leaving?

    Also any advice about changing them is welcome as well. Thanks!
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2002
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    2,092

    Default

    I had exactly the same problem in a little rental I lived in, that also had electric baseboards and a wood stove. But, I never changed that thermostat because it was a rental, though I've done two or three others in houses with regular heat. It's easy - just read the directions that come with the thermostat - and be sure to shut off the breaker first :-) You know this, but be sure whatever you buy is designed for electric baseboard heat. I don't remember why I think this, but it seemed like there were different kinds of thermostats for different kinds of heat. Another thought - are your baseboard units the right size for your rooms? if they're too big for the space, they'll crank out too much heat even at their lowest setting.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2012
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    24

    Default

    Make sure to get high voltage thermostats and that they are rated with enough wattage for the length of electric baseboard heat installed. If the baseboard heat is more watt than the thermostat is rated for just disconnect a length of the baseboard. If you look online there is a rule of thumb for how many watts per length the baseboards use.

    We used Honeywells to replace 30yo thermostats. They new ones are programmable, which is very handy if you only want the heat to come on at certain times. The new thermostats also put out a more consistent heat, so actually saved us money over the old mechanical thermostats. They even have wifi thermostats now so you can adjust the heat remotely!

    We did use an electrician to install only because this a high voltage application and didnt trust what the previous owner may have done. Now that we watched him install them, we would be able to do the it ourselves.


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  4. #4
    CVPeg is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    Nov. 20, 2010
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    Default

    Great - thanks for the advice. Didn't get a chance to go to the big box building stores - hope to do so next week. This gives me confidence!

    I did a little googling, had read about the different types, but now I get they mean electric vs other types of thermostats. Will measure them, be ready to go!
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,497

    Default

    We moved the location of the thermostat up higher on the wall, which greatly changed the room heat problem! With the higher location, it read the temp more correctly, instead of constantly being cooler down at floor level by the cement.

    This baseboard heater was in the tackroom of the barn, just supposed to prevent it being freezing. Certainly NOT any kind of truly warm out there.

    We did the same, higher location of thermostat, with the newer bathroom in the house that got a strip of baseboard heater. It works quite well, not overheating the room or running constantly.

    Heat rises, so if the thermostat can't feel warm, it will just keep heating with the electric heater. Husband did the thermostat moves, said it was no big deal. Haven't tried it myself.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2010
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    Gum Tree PA
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    Thermostats for baseboard electric heat are not the same as the ones for whole house heating, gas or oil, forced hot air or hot water. There are 2 types, ones that mount on the baseboard which you have to buy as a separate unit when buying the baseboard/s. And a wall mountable traditional style. The wall mount requires snaking a 12-2 wire through the wall to the mounting location which can be problematic and a hassle due to the size of the wire. Maybe that has changed since the last time I wired one. Whole house thermostats use a much smaller and easier wire to snake. There are also 2 types of baseboard, 120 and 220 volt, 30 amp. So make sure you know the voltage of yours when buying a thermostat. Always go with 220 baseboard when installing new which is much more efficient. Though using the word efficient with electric baseboard is a bit of an oxymoron. I agree with goodhos’s reasoning but given the fact it can be a real hassle to get a 12-2 wire snaked to the mount location I stayed with the one that mounts on the baseboard. I just played with the dial until I found the right setting for the room. I also super insulated our tack room when remodeling. Note, if wired incorrectly it will trip the breaker no harm to the heater but the thermostat will be fried. Ask me how I know. The wiring is not as straight forward as low voltage whole house thermostats.


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  7. #7
    CVPeg is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    Thanks - the thermostats are already located about 5'- 5'6" up on the wall for each room. But the house is 20+ years old, and they are cheap ones, which don't seem to be correct at all. They can be set at 60, and when the house is already pretty warm, they'll turn the heaters on in a room. I won't be running any wiring, just taking the old ones off, and putting new ones on, so it should be pretty easy. Just wasn't sure what specifics I needed before buying, since it's not easy to run back and forth, and at the local building/hardware stores, prices are pretty high.

    The house is pretty solid & well insulated, but I'm often either on the road for work, but worse, the barn is an hour each way, so once the wood stoves have cooled off, the electric will kick in. I just don't want them kicking in too often. Am just trying to stay one step ahead of the power company, and keep those nasty bills down!
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2010
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    Western NY
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    I have electric baseboard but no woodstoves. This makes me sad, chilly and poor. Should I get new baseboard units put in? They are probably 30 years old....



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2010
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    Gum Tree PA
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    Electric baseboard like incandescent light bulbs, both of which work on the same principal producing heat, light by basically a controlled shorting out of two wires, resistance. And inexpensive why of taking care of what was needed when electricity was dirt cheap. Your basic baseboard is still cheap to buy because nothing has changed about them or how they are made since first being introduced to the market. Cheap to buy and install and as I am sure you know VERY expensive to heat with. I have not used them but I am told that the new wood pellet stoves are very efficient and cost effective. You can buy the wood pellets by the ton. Wood stoves especially the new efficient ones work great but fire wood is not cheap. Unless you find and cut it yourself. I lived off grid in the foothills of the Rockies for a couple of years in my hippy days. Man, it was a lot of hard work cutting enough wood to get through the winters. But I missed long hot showers more then anything. Without having to heat the water by hand.
    So if you baseboards are still working there really is no reason to replace because you will not be upgrading just replacing the same unit with a newer one. At least not with the ones you buy at Home Depot etc. Baseboards either work or stop working. I don't think they degrade, put out less heat with age but not sure about that. Maybe worth asking someone that does. But not a contractor.



  10. #10
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    Aug. 10, 2010
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    Western NY
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    Thank you Gumtree....



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