How to Install Wall Heaters

Wall Heater
Why Buy Wall Heaters?

Some homes can occasionally use a boost in heating, and whether it's a new room addition or a chilly garage, wall  heaters are a great option. They are a user-friendly, cost effective heating source, and can fit pretty much anywhere.

Using a wall heater to heat a single room can be a money saving alternative to turning on central heating. They're great for bathrooms and entryways, and provide zonal heat for rooms you use the most.

Electric wall heaters require a dedicated circuit, and run on either 120 or 240 volts, with several wattage options. How large of an area your heater will cover depends on the wattage. Generally, 1,000 watts = 100 square feet of heat.

Types of Wall Heaters

Electric wall heaters usually produce convection heating with a motorized fan, although some models do use silent radiant heat with electric coils and a reflective back panel.

Convection wall heaters use a blower to push out warm air and circulate it in the room. Heat is generated through aeration. Convection heaters are a great fast and efficient heat source for garages, basements and dens.

Radiant wall heaters quietly and effectively heat small rooms immediately. Heat is transferred directly from a hot surface, which is reflected out and around the room. No air blower is needed.

Micathermic wall heaters combine both convection and radiant heating. They provide the most even, widespread warmth.

Different Ways to Install

Installing a wall heater yourself is easy to do, and is another way to save money. While some cities have building codes that require an electrician to connect the wall heater's dedicated circuit to your home's electrical panel, wiring the heater itself is fairly straight forward. Most wall heaters come with an installation kit and easy to understand instructions to help you out.

Wall heaters are compact and lightweight, making them easy to handle. They mount to any flat area, and can either be recessed or surface mounted.

Recessed wall heaters require a bit more work, but they allow your heater to be completely out of the way since the heater is mounted flush to the wall.

Surface mounted wall heaters are easier to install, and while they may stick out a bit, these wall heaters are still very flat, and take up minimal space.

Things You'll Need

1. Wall heater

2. Power drill

3. Measuring tape

4. Drywall saw

5. Stud finder

6. Wire connectors

7. Cable ripper

Installing Wall Heaters

Wall Heater Installation

1. Find a suitable location for your wall heater. Find a central location where you can easily snake a supply wire through the wall. Do not install the heater where it can be easily blocked, like behind a door.

2. Locate a stud and carefully mark an outline of your wall heater so one side of the hole will be along the edge of a stud. Cutting between studs gives your heater better support.

3. Turn of the power to nearby circuits.

4. Use a drywall saw to cut an outline of the heater on your wall. Be careful not to cut any existing electrical wires or pipes.

5. Wall heaters need a dedicated circuit, so you will need to install a new circuit breaker at the main panel and fish cable to the location of your wall heater.

6. After cutting the opening in the wall for your electric wall heater, have an electrician install the new circuit and fish the cable to the wall opening between studs, allowing slack to wire the heater.

7. Once the cable is set up, use a cable ripper to remove cable sheathing. Strip the wiring leads with a multi-purpose tool and pull the cable through the heater mounting box.

8. Fold the cables behind the mounting box into the wall cavity and secure the box between two studs with a power drill. Wall heaters have a mounting box to protect the wall interior from heat damage.

9. Now you can screw on your wall heater to the mounting box. The heater must be carefully positioned in the right spot everything lines up correctly. Clip on the cover plate.

10. Turn the power back on and test your wall heater.

Safety Tips

  • Always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Make sure you know the volts and wattage usage of the wall heaters you buy and install.
  • Verify your electrical supply wires are the same voltage as the electric wall heater.
  • Turn off nearby circuits before beginning the installation.
  • Be careful to avoid hot wires in the stud space when you cut the drywall.
  • Have an electrician do the new circuit installation.
  • It's easy to accidentally install a unit upside down, so make sure you know which end is up.

Maintaining Wall Heaters

Regular wall heater maintenance is recommended, so your heater stays working its best. All wall heaters need are a seasonal cleaning.

To clean, turn off electrical power from the circuit breaker or fuse box. Take off the wall heater grill and wipe it down with a damp cloth.

Use a vacuum hose to remove debris and dust from inside the unit, being careful not to damage any parts.

Secure everything back together, and restore power to the heater.

Cleaning and maintaining wall heaters is a breeze! Wall heater motors are permanently lubricated so they require no upkeep.

Wall Heaters and Their Features

In addition to being relatively easy to install and maintain, electric wall heaters come with features that also make them easy and convenient to use. These universal features of wall heaters are great to keep in mind when comparing different models as you shop around.

Adjustable Wattage

Some wall heaters have an energy saver feature that lets you adjust the wattage. Changing the wattage will determine the amount the heat produced by a wall heater, and adjustable wattage adds a versatile heating option that can help save you electricity.

Unobtrusive and Compact

Wall heaters are great space savers that don't take up any floor space. Since some even recess into the wall, they maintain a discrete appearance that prevents it from being the eyesore other heaters can be. Most wall heaters come in a neutral white color as well.

Built-In Thermostat

Many electric wall heaters have a built-in thermostat for convenient operation. Sometimes offering a full temperature range, you can control the exact amount of electricity input and heat output, for customized comfort.

Safe to Use

Wall heaters don't overheat, and manufacturers usually install some sort of automatic shut-off as an added safety measure against overheating. Most wall heaters are cool to the touch and won't burn your hands, and since they mount to the wall, you can install one high and out of reach to small children and pets.