We understand that there's always the need to make everything convenient, including installing outlets that are within reach. However, you may wonder if placing an outlet above your baseboard heater is safe.
Before you begin the installation process, allow us to answer some of your questions.
For safety purposes, placing an outlet above your baseboard heater is not advised. As the name suggests, a baseboard heater produces heat, which could be a fire hazard when it gets hot.
Electrical outlets are also made of plastic, which could melt when exposed to high temperatures over a long period.
Additionally, newer hot water baseboard heater models generate heat faster than older models, making them a possible cause of electrical hazards.
However, do not let these setbacks stop you from maximizing the capabilities of your baseboard heater. Heaters are essential during the winter as they can provide the warmth you need, preventing serious complications like hypothermia.
With the help of experts in the field, we've created this article to help you find other spots where you can install an electrical outlet for your baseboard heater. Keep reading this specially curated article to find out.
Places Where You Can Safely Place an Electrical Outlet
Although electrical codes do not typically forbid installing baseboard heaters above and under wall outlets, the heater manufacturers usually tell you otherwise. There is a possibility that a cord plugged into an outlet could fall onto the heater.
As per the National Electrical Code [NEC], a home has to have a wall outlet every twelve feet along the walls, so it's best to go with the national standard when installing your baseboard heater. And with that clearance requirement, having an outlet near the heater unit is already a no-go.
How much space do you need above a baseboard heater?
When installing your baseboard heater, it is essential to leave a gap of up to twelve inches before having anything next to it. If placing the heater near a door, be sure it won't be blocked when the door opens or closes.
If you're unsure, you may use the NEC standard mentioned above as your basis when it comes to your baseboard heater's location.
Do baseboard heaters get extremely hot?
Yes, baseboard heaters can produce extremely hot conditions, approximately 60-80°F, but they can also reach as high as 195°F. Ensure that your heater's thermostat is frequently checked to prevent it from becoming a fire hazard.
Furthermore, leave your thermostat setting alone and avoid playing around with it, especially setting it to a higher temp, since this can also cause overheating.
If your baseboard heater happens to overheat, you might find yourself detecting a burning smell. When this happens, you can do a little troubleshooting that won't require too much legwork.
- Open the circuit breaker's panel box using a compatible screwdriver. Check the output from the panel to the heater using a volt ohmmeter. If you find something wrong with it, have the breaker replaced.
- Should your breaker not need a replacement, you may begin checking the thermostat for any issues.
- If there aren't any issues with the thermostat, move forward to inspecting the resistance and feed wires.
- Make sure that 220 Volts are displayed on the meter. The feed wires must be changed if the meter reading is less than 110 Volts. To find a break, go back through the wires or replace them.
However, these are just preventive measures, and if you find something completely off about your heater's performance or overall look, it's better to call a professional for help.
To ensure the best performance all the time, regularly clean up your baseboard heater by vacuuming it to get rid of dust, debris, or grime build-up, which could eventually cause problems.
We wrote more about this topic. Check out this article on HVACSeer.com to learn more about baseboard heater temperatures.
Does baseboard heat use a lot of electricity?
Electric baseboard heaters often consume more energy than electric heat pumps. Higher electric bills are the result, especially during the worst winter months when they are forced to work harder to keep your house warm and fuzzy.
It is estimated that running a 1000W electric-based baseboard heater for up to six hours during the warmer seasons could rack up to 900 kWh of electricity every year, which can be costly.
However, there have been reports of people getting to save more when they upgraded their thermostats, although it can be a challenge to do.
You can further save up by having your home insulated from the walls up to the floors to provide resistance to heat and lessen the electricity costs.
How to Upgrade Your Heater's Thermostat
To upgrade your thermostat, have your tools handy for a seamless process. You will need a circuit or continuity tester, a screwdriver, a one-line voltage thermostat, and a few wire nuts.
- Turn off the power circuit and begin by removing your heater's existing thermostat. Be sure not to touch the wires.
- Run your circuit or continuity tester through the ground wires to ensure there are no voltages. Once you've confirmed that every wire is voltage-free, label the wires so you won't get confused as you go through each of them along the process.
- Test your new thermostat through the continuity tester to check if it's working well.
- If there are no issues encountered with your thermostat, start connecting the wires accordingly.
- Once done, affix the thermostat to the box and close the covers. You may now use your heater if you've ensured everything is working smoothly.
Is it safe to hang curtains over baseboard heaters?
No, it is unsafe to hang curtains above the baseboard heater. This is because curtains are highly flammable materials, so should there be any overheating, you could be in serious trouble.
However, you can still have the option to install a curtain that's ultra short and just hangs above the windowsill that won't be reaching any part of the heater.
Do baseboard heaters use electricity when turned off?
If you are using a hydronic baseboard heater, it will continue to provide heat even after they are shut off until the liquid cools down. Unlike electric heaters, the unit will stop consuming electricity once shut off because it no longer has any power source.
To save some costs, you may continuously run your heater throughout the day [in lower temperature settings to avoid overheating] as the constant switching from on and off can be considered more costly.
To directly answer your question, it is not advisable to have an outlet above a baseboard heater — unless the outlet is at least 12 inches far apart from the heater unit.
It's also best to keep any hindrances away from the unit, such as doors, cabinets, furniture, and more, that could cause a blockage of airflow and produce a subpar performance.
It is also essential to look out for the heater's temperature; you don't want it to be too hot as it can overheat or, worse, start a fire. We don't want that, especially on a cold or windy day.
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