When to Fix-It-Yourself and When to Call an Electrician

Messing with electrical appliances and components is serious business. Hello, my name is George Tanner. I’m a retired electrician. I can’t even begin to tell you how many horror stories I heard over the years of working as an electrician. People who thought they could quickly fix something in their homes but never should have even tried. Some got hurt and others were lucky. My goal here is to provide you with some guidelines as to what electrical malfunctions are easily fixable by nearly any adult, and what you should never attempt on your own. One thing you are going to hear me stress more than once is that electrical components are not to be taken lightly. We protect our children from them; we also have to protect ourselves. I hope you find this blog to be helpful!

Troubleshooting Frequent Issues With Electric Baseboard Heaters


Baseboard heaters are a popular home fixture in many homes, especially when a central HVAC installation would not be an economical feat. Even though these heaters are very effective at providing heat and will last for years without incident, they can have their fair share of problems. Here are a few of the most common issues you could have with the baseboard heaters that you have in your home and what you will need to do to make them work properly. 

Problem: Heater kicks off intermittently throughout the day even though it has not reached temperature. 

Cause and Solution: In most cases, this is an indicator that the temperature control sensor inside of the heater is not working. Because electric baseboard heaters are each equipped with their own thermostat, it is not uncommon for the thermostats to go bad after several years of use. If you are not getting an adequate level of heat in a specific room, and you are positive that the control knob is properly set, you will likely have to have the thermostat of the unit replaced by a heating professional. 

Problem: The heater throws the breaker after being on for a few minutes. 

Cause and Solution: If the heater is throwing the breaker, it is most likely because it is overheating. This could be because there is not adequate air flow around the heater itself. Check to make sure that you do not have furniture,drapes, or any other objects too close to the heater. If the problem persists afterwards, it could be an electrical issue and will need to be addressed immediately. 

Problem: The heater kicks on, but is blowing cold air instead of warm. 

Cause and Solution: A baseboard heater that is not producing heat and only blowing cold air is experiencing heating element failure. This means that the unit is on and the blower system is working as it should, but there is nothing inside producing heat to distribute. In some cases, this can be caused by the build-up of dust and debris inside of the heater, which will prevent the heating element from kicking in as it should. However, it could mean that the heating elements will have to be replaced. 

With a little time and attention, you can get many years of use from baseboard heaters. If you are having issues that you cannot diagnose on your own, contact a heating professional (such as Feldman Brothers Electrical Supply Co) for help or advice.


26 June 2015