Games Heating & Cooling

Installing Electric Heaters | The Family Handyman


Study operating a separate electrical circuit for the heater, operating cables, plus methods to measurement the electrical heater for the dimensions of your room.

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Does your property have a room or two that simply don’t remain heat in chilly climate? If you cannot regulate the central heating system to heat the room, think about including an electrical heater. You’ll be able to conveniently mount electrical heaters in partitions (proven above), in flooring (between joists), or alongside the baseboard.

Whereas electrical warmth is costlier than fuel, the warmers and supplies for set up are a lot inexpensive. Take into account that these are for auxiliary warmth, not the primary supply. We advocate that you simply put the heater on a separate setback thermostat that mechanically turns it on whenever you’re house and utilizing the room.

On this article, we’ll present you learn how to hard-wire a heater, which suggests you need to run a separate circuit to the primary panel. That is safer than utilizing a plug-in moveable heater, which may overload an present circuit. We’ll present you how one can measurement the heater, run a brand new, protected 240-volt circuit and set up a programmable thermostat. We cannot present you learn how to hook the circuit into the primary electrical panel. Rent a licensed electrician for that step.

Most houses have enough capability for the brand new circuit within the service panel. In case you have circuit breakers, you will want two empty breaker areas. A fuse field may be harder to learn. Have the electrician you rent examine your panel earlier than you begin the undertaking and ensure the deliberate hookup. Remember to apply for an area electrical allow so an inspector will verify your work.

Electric heaters are sized by wattage. See “Sizing Your Heater,” to find out the best one in your area. For a heater as much as 2,880 watts, run a cable with two 14-gauge wires and one floor wire (referred to as 14-2 with floor); run 12-2 cable with floor to deal with as much as three,840 watts.

Determine A: Typical Wiring Plan

This can be a commonplace, easy plan for wiring an electrical heater.

Wiring planWiring plan

Discover the simplest cable route

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph 1: Find the heater

Discover a location for the heater and thermostat on the wall. Push about 12 in. of wire, corresponding to a coat hanger, by means of the ceiling drywall immediately above the heater and thermostat places.

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph 2: Drill by way of prime plate

Push apart the insulation to find the coat hanger wire and the wall prime plates. Drill a three/Four-in. gap via the middle of the highest plates on the heater and thermostat places.

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph three: Reduce the heater gap

Find the wall studs with a stud finder and minimize a gap sized for the heater can alongside one stud. Glue and screw a 12-in. 2×Four block to the drywall on the different aspect of the opening. Warning: Reduce a small gap within the drywall first and verify for electrical wires earlier than sawing the large gap.

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph Four: Run the wire

Tape the top of the cable to an Eight-ft. weighted string. Drop the complete string via the opening, then push via about 7 ft. of cable. Pull the string and cable down from under, leaving about 2 ft. of cable hanging via the cutout gap.

Every set up is exclusive, so first plan the route of your new circuit. Reap the benefits of open areas comparable to an unfinished attic or basement to get the cable shut, then fish it by way of the wall.

First discover a spot on an inside wall to mount the heater. Find the studs to make certain there’s sufficient area between them. Avoid warmth vents and partitions with plumbing fixtures on them to keep away from ducts and pipes. The heater requires a depth of Four in. so the wall cavity have to be at the very least 2×Four framing. Learn the producer’s directions and ensure the clearances across the heater. Do not set up it under a towel bar or close to curtains or some other materials that may catch on hearth. Make it possible for nothing flammable sits inside three ft. in entrance of the heater.

Find the thermostat away from the recent air. One foot above an present mild change is an effective selection. Keep away from the wall immediately above the heater and any exterior partitions.


Some attics have vermiculite insulation, a pea-size, flaky, grey mineral which will include asbestos. Asbestos is a well being hazard. Do not disturb vermiculite until a check exhibits that it does not include asbestos. Contact your native public well being division for the identify of a testing lab.

Fishing Tip

For straightforward pulling, tie a heavy nut to at least one finish of the string and tape the string to the cable, tapering the tape on the cable finish.

Use a weight to fish wires. Use a weight to fish wires.

Set up the heater

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph 5: Wire the heater

Take away one knockout from the highest of the heater can and set up a 1/2-in. cable clamp. Strip 12 in. of sheathing from the cable. Push it by way of the clamp into the heater can till 1/Four in. to 1 in. of sheathing extends into the field. Push the can and cable into the stud area and fasten the can to the framing with 4 1-in. screws.

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph 6: Set up the heater

Strip 5/Eight in. of insulation from every wire’s finish, then join the black and taped white wires to the black heater wires utilizing wire connectors. Join the cable’s naked floor wire to the inexperienced heater floor wire. Push the heater into the can and fasten it. Set up the duvet grille.

Drill a small gap within the ceiling about three in. out from the wall immediately above the heater and thermostat places. Push about 12 in. of coat hanger or different stiff wire by means of the drywall into the attic (Photograph 1).

Subsequent go into the attic and discover the highest plates of the bathtub partitions utilizing the wires as a information. Push the insulation briefly apart, giving your self loads of room to work. Drill three/Four-in. holes utterly by way of the plates (Photograph 2), then drop a weighted string by means of the opening to ensure there are not any impassable obstructions within the wall.

Now go down into the bathtub and make the cutout within the wall for the heater can (Photograph three).

Again within the attic, tape the weighted string to the top of the heater cable. Whereas fishing, you could want to tug onerous on the string, so you’ll want to tape the string and cable securely (see tip on p. 68). Drop the string by means of the opening within the prime plate (Photograph Four) and begin the cable into the opening. It is best to have a helper pull on the string and information the cable as you push it down. In any other case, you could have to go up and down a few occasions from the attic.

You do not have to staple the cable to the aspect of the studs when fishing via an enclosed area, however you should clamp the cable to the can (Photograph 5). Make certain the cable is safe and may’t pull out.

Join the circuit wires to the heater wires (Photograph 6). As a result of this can be a 240-volt circuit, each the black and white wires are scorching feeds. Make sure to wrap black electrical tape across the white wire to determine it as a scorching wire. Examine the package deal labeling to make certain the wire connectors are the fitting measurement for the quantity and measurement of wires you are connecting.

Run cables to the thermostat and essential panel

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph 7: Run thermostat wires

Reduce the opening for the transforming change field (Photograph Eight) with a drywall noticed. Return into the attic and tape the heater cable to the cable going to the primary panel (labeled “line”). Push about 5 ft. via the three/Four-in. gap drilled via the highest plate (Photograph 2). Return to the room under, attain via the change field gap and pull out about 2 ft. of cable.

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph Eight: Transforming change field

A “remodeling” change field is right for the thermostat. Minimize the drywall to exactly match the field, push the stripped cables by means of the underside cable clamping slots, then slip the field into the wall. Flip the 2 help screws till the helps are tight towards the drywall.

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph 9: Join the wires

Join the 2 cable wires from the primary panel to the thermostat’s “line” wires (they will be marked). Join the 2 wires from the heater to the “load” wires on the thermostat. Join the 2 naked floor wires. Fold the wires into the field, slide the thermostat in and safe with the 2 mounting screws.

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph 10: Minimize above service panel

Punch a horizontal slot within the drywall above the service panel with a hammer to find the studs. Mark out a straight line centered on every stud and minimize by means of the drywall with a utility knife. It’s going to take a number of repeated cuts to get via. Rating alongside the wall/ceiling joint and take away the drywall.

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph 11: Pull cables to service panel

Punch a gap within the ceiling to show the highest plate and electrical cables. Pull the cable from the thermostat by way of the opening and let it cling to the ground. At this level, rent an electrician to complete the hookup to the service panel.

Installing Electric Heaters

Photograph 12: Construct a entry panel

AFTER HOOKUP, construct a canopy from three/Four-in. plywood and screw it over the opening for straightforward future entry.

Subsequent stretch the cable from the ceiling above the service panel to the ceiling over the bathtub. Depart no less than 10 ft. of additional cable at every finish.

Mark the cable from the service panel because the “line” cable (Photograph 7). Tape the 2 cables collectively nose to nose. This can make them stiffer and help in pushing them straight down by means of the wall. Taper the tape over the ends to stop them from snagging. You’ll push these cables by means of the three/Four-in. gap to the thermostat location and not using a fish line until there is a partial obstruction. Pull 2 ft. of cable out of the wall.

Strip 12 in. of sheathing from the 2 cables, however maintain the “line” label on the wires from the primary panel to keep away from confusion (Photograph 9). It is simpler to put in the transforming field for those who push the cables by way of the underside clamps, then insert the transforming field into the opening and tighten its help screws.

Make certain that the thermostat’s “line” wires hook up with the wires from the primary panel, marked “line” (Photograph 9). Join the thermostat’s “load” wires to the wires that run to the heater. This can be a non-grounded thermostat, so simply join the 2 new circuit floor wires collectively.

Return up into the attic and drive a wire staple inside 12 in. of the place the cables emerge from the highest plates. Work from the bathtub towards the service panel, stapling the cable to the highest of the joists. Drive staples not more than Four ft. 6 in. aside and hold the cable taut. For a neat job, run the cable in straight strains parallel with or perpendicular to the joists. Keep at the very least 6 ft. away from any attic storage areas and the entry or scuttle gap. Cease once you get above the service panel.

Typically the wall across the service panel is roofed by drywall. If that is the case, then take away the drywall above it (Photograph 10). Work rigorously. First, break a horizontal slot by means of the drywall with a hammer (Photograph 10), find the studs and reduce by means of the drywall with a utility knife precisely over the middle of the studs. This ensures that you simply will not hit any wires. Break open a piece of ceiling to show the wall prime plates. Pull the cable via this gap (Photograph 11), and depart sufficient cable to hold to the ground. Rent an electrician to make the ultimate run and join the wires within the service panel.


Do not use a noticed to chop into the stud area; it is loaded with scorching wires.

Let your electrician drill holes via the highest plate over the primary electrical panel; it is easy to hit a stay wire.

Sizing Your Heater

Typically, you possibly can roughly measurement the electrical heater (in watts, that’s, a measure of warmth output) in line with the dimensions of the room. The chart under exhibits our “rule of thumb” tips. It assumes that you simply solely want to boost the room temperature 5 to 10 levels F for consolation. And we have outsized the warmers a bit to deal with extra-cold durations.

Room Flooring Space Heater Measurement
Lower than 100 sq. ft. 1,000 watts
100 to 150 sq. ft. 1,500 watts
150 to 250 sq. ft. 2,500 watts

Required Instruments for this Undertaking

Have the required instruments for this DIY venture lined up earlier than you begin—you’ll save time and frustration.

Required Supplies for this Challenge

Keep away from last-minute purchasing journeys by having all of your supplies prepared forward of time. Right here’s an inventory.