How to troubleshoot a baseboard heater

Baseboard heaters sometimes malfunction just like other machines, and you may need to troubleshoot it.

If a circuit breaker trips anytime you switch on your baseboard heater, you have a short somewhere in your heating system.

To inspect and fix this, you will first turn off power in the circuit breaker box. This will protect you from getting electrocuted because a blown fuse doesn’t mean there is no electric current. Then inspect the electrical components and the wire connections. Follow the wire from the electrical panel to see if there are crushed wires or burnt wire terminals. Ensure all wires are intact and connected to your thermostat. Using a multimeter, you can check for any continuity in the wires leading to the thermostat, electrical panels, and circuit breaker. Replace your thermostat if there is continuity to wires leading to the thermostat. Also, replace your thermostat if it cannot turn off the unit. If a baseboard heater runs for a short while before tripping the circuit breaker, check the total amperage load of your circuit breaker. A circuit breaker with a high enough amperage will handle the heat load. A circuit breaker should exceed the heater’s total amperage by over 120 percent. If the amperage is sufficient, you will need to check for loose connections. To fix a circuit breaker, switch off the power and wait for it to cool, and then replace it with a size recommended by the manufacturer. If the baseboard heater doesn’t turn on, switch off the power and remove the thermostat. Check the continuity and replace your thermostat if there is no continuity. Clean your heater to prevent a burning smell from the unit.

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