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How to Wire Your Baseboard Heater

baseboard heater

Winter's on the way and one of the most popular forms of supplemental heating is a baseboard heater. Not only are they effective but they're so subtle and provide an even flow of heat most people have come to appreciate. Some of the benefits include:

  • Easy maintenance
  • Zonal heating
  • Low profile design
  • Low operating temperatures
  • Neutral colors
  • Extremely quiet
  • Temperature accuracy within 1-2 degrees of settings
  • Safe choice with built-in thermal cut out
  • Draft-free heating
  • Fins for widespread coverage

Installing a baseboard heater is simple. There are two brands that we carry requiring hardwire installation, Cadet and QMark. First, we'll review Cadet.

Installing a Cadet Baseboard Heater

* Turn off electrical power

baseboard-heater-installation

1. Determine where you want to install the heater. The seam at the junction of the wall and floor behind the heater should be caulked to prevent dust from being drawn into the room.

The heater should also be flush against the surface of the wall. Place it either under a window, along an outside wall, or as close as possible to an outside door. Do not install heater beneath an electrical outlet.

The heater may sit directly on any floor surface, including carpet. Do not allow carpet to block lower air intake located 1 inch from the bottom. Be sure it is clear of all obstructions and that there is a 12 inch clearance between the heater and drapes.

2. Determine which side of the baseboard you plan to wire. It can be wired to the right or to the left of the unit. You must locate supply wires before mounting the heater.

3. Verify that the electrical supply wires are the same voltage as the heater. For example, 120V heater to a 120V power supply.

baseboard-heater-installation-2

4. Locate wall studs closest to the supply wires and position the heater against the wall.

5. Remove the wiring compartment cover by removing the screw.

6. Remove the slotted knockout closest to the supply wires and install a strain relief connector.

7. Mount the heater securely to the wall with nails or screws. They must go into at least two wall studs. The back of the heater has star punch dimples that allow nails or screw to pierce the sheet metal.

8. Connect the grounding lead to the grounding screw. Both sides of the heater include a grounding screw.

9. Double check the wiring to be sure the electrical supply wires are the same voltage as the heater. If wiring on the left, disconnect factory connector A. If wiring on the right, disconnect factory connector B. Only disconnect one factory connector.

10. For standard baseboard wring on the right or left 120V or 240V supply.

  • Connect one supply wire to one heater wire.
  • Connect remaining supply wire to remaining heater wire.
  • Replace wiring compartment cover and secure with screw previously removed.
  • Turn power back on at the electrical panel board.
baseboard-installation-3

11. Multi-watt baseboard heater right or left wiring 120V or 240V supply.

  • Connect one supply wire to the upper black wire.

Before proceeding, you must decide whether you prefer 2000 or 2500 watts.

a. For 2500 watt applications: Connect the remaining supply wires to both the black and red wires.

baseboard-heater-installation-4

b. For 2000 watt applications: Connect the remaining supply wire to the remaining black wire. Leave the red wire disconnected and cap loose end with an approved wire connector, or wrap loose end with electrical tape.

  • Replace wiring compartment cover and secure with screw previously removed.
  • Turn power back on at the electrical panel board

If you're looking at how to hardwire a baseboard heater, you probably want to install a thermostat as well. Below are some instructions on how to setup your thermostat.

1. Single pole wall thermostat

  • Route supply wires to the thermostat wiring box if not already present.
  • Connect one supply wire to one thermostat wire marked L1.
  • Route remaining thermostat wire marked T1 to the baseboard heater.
  • Route remaining supply and ground wire to the baseboard heater.

Follow the installation instructions above for mounting and wiring your baseboard heater and you're all set!

2. Double pole wall thermostat

  • Route supply wires to the thermostat wiring box if not already present.
  • Connect one supply wire to one thermostat wire marked L1.
  • Connect remaining supply wire to other thermostat wire marked L2.
  • Route remaining thermostat wires marked T1 and T2 to the baseboard heater.
  • Route ground wire to the baseboard heater.

Follow installation instructions for mounting and wiring your baseboard heater and you're good to go!

Installing Your QMark Baseboard Heater

*Turn off electrical power

baseboard-heater-installed

1. Decide where you want to install the heater. Do not install heater against vinyl wallpaper, paperboard, or low density fiberboard surface. For best results, place the heater under a window.

Mount the heater flush against the wall. If need be, remove molding. If you want to replace the molding after installation be sure to allow 1/16" clearance between the heater's end and the molding.

Do not install heater beneath an electrical outlet. The heater may sit directly on any floor surface, including carpet. Be sure the heater is clear of all obstructions and that there is a 6 inch clearance between the heater and drapes.

baseboard-heater-end-cap

2. Mark the location on the wall or floor for the power supply entry into the heater. Set the heater aside and drill an appropriate sized hole into the wall or floor. The baseboard heater can be wired to the left or the right. Remove the left or right junction box end cap by removing the screw at the end of the heater and sliding the cap off.

3. Verify that the electrical supply wires are the same voltage as the heater. For example, 120V heater to a 120V power supply.

4. Remove the front cover of the heater by removing the screws located in the lower corners. Pull the bottom of the cover outward and lift the top of the cover off the junction box. Remove the top of the cover off the center bracket and off the immediate supports.

5. Remove the appropriate electrical knockout from the back of the heater and thermostat accessory if needed. The supply wiring can enter the raceway without using a knockout if needed. *Please note: The power supply must enter the heater through the knockout in the back of the heater if installed above the floor.

interior-wall-stud

6. Install the power supply wires into the heater and thermostat location as determined by the thermostat option selected. If you're moving the wires through the knockout, be sure to use a cable connector and leave 6-8 inches of wire for heater connection. If the power supply enters through the hole at the bottom of the junction box, a cable connector is not required. *Please note: Cable connector must be purchased separately.

stud-finder

7. Locate wall studs closest to the supply wires and position the heater against the wall. You can use a stud finder to do this. Drill punch or use a nail driver to put holes through the back enclosure at stud locations. The heater includes nail point marks showing correct locations for mounting holes.

8. Connect supply wire to the heater. Remove the wirenut and connect heater leads individually to power supply leads. *Please note: Do not remove permanently crimped wires.

9. Replace the front cover by fitting the top lip of the cover onto the tabs of each junction box and top edge of the element support brackets. Rotate the cover downward, pushing the bottom corners inward. Install two screws through the cover into the junction boxes. Be sure the bottom of the cover connects to each bottom support bracket.

10. Replace the end caps and secure with screws.

Use this guide in conjunction with the manufacturer installation instructions, and you'll have your heater up and running in no time.

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