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  1. #1
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    Default Outlets above baseboard convectors

    OK, bad idea for obvious reasons.

    But looking at it I found myself thinking "Even if this was a few inches above an electric baseboard heater I would write it up on the basis of potential cord damage.... but... should I do the same if it's hydronic baseboard?"

    Thoughts?

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Electrical outlet over electric baseboard heat is not allowed. From the picture it looks like it may have been an add-on supplemental heat source. Maybe a DYI addition or remodeling job?

    Hydronic? I would note that a partially covered the outlet, as shown, could be an electrical hazard.

    In either case, recommend a licensed electrician move the outlet from behind or over the heating element using inspectionese that suits your style.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    One thing I learned trying to find my own answer is that the term "hydronic baseboard heat" is used by manufactures of electric resistance baseboard heaters which use the heating elements to warm stationary (non-circulating) water in the baseboard unit.

    So I'm going to have to change my disruption to something like "circulating hot water baseboard convectors".... unless someone in the HVAC business comes along to tell me what such a unit is *really* called.


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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    2005 NEC 210-52

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    So I'm going to have to change my disruption to something like "circulating hot water baseboard convectors"....
    First, why "disruption"?

    Second, why try to modify the name of something?

    They are not "circulating" nor are all "hot water", but you do have "baseboard" correct.

    "Circulating" implies (says, actually) that there is a device in there which "circulates" the heated fluid. The "circulation" is actually thermal dynamics where heated fluids raise and cooler fluids (as related to the freshly re-heated fluids) settle.

    "Hot water" implies that all use "water", I believe some, many perhaps, use an oil substance.

    In the end, though, what is wrong with just calling it what it is? An "electric baseboard heater".

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    First, why "disruption"?...Second...In the end, though, what is wrong with just calling it what it is? An "electric baseboard heater".
    First, that should have been "description".

    Second, because I'm NOT referring to an "electric baseboard heater".

    I'm referring to baseboard radiator or convector connected to a hydronic heating system.

    A term which - at least until the electric resistance baseboard heater industry started referring to some of their products as "hydronic" - used to refer - exclusively, usefully and descriptively - to hot water circulating systems.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 10-23-2007 at 01:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Second, because I'm NOT referring to an "electric baseboard heater".
    Actually, you are referring to an "electric baseboard heater".

    That is, unless it is not an isolated, individual unit and is part of a larger, connected, centralized system.

    I may be wrong (again) but I thought you were referring to an individual baseboard heater unit which was plugged in or maybe permanently wired in.

    I'm referring to baseboard radiator or convector connected to a hydronic heating system.
    There are electric hydronic heaters, the question I guess I am misunderstanding is: Is this a single unit plugged in or wired in, or, is this just a baseboard heating section of a central hot water heating system?

    A term which - at least until a pack of consumer-scamming, unprincipled, demi-illiterate reprobates in the electric resistance baseboard heater industry started referring to some of their products as "hydronic" - used to refer - exclusively, usefully and descriptively - to hot water circulating systems.
    Your first post said "hydronic baseboard", you are now saying "hydronic heating system", there is a difference, and there could be an even larger difference - one "baseboard" is an individual unit, and they are made as either stand alone or as part of a "system", which gets to what you said in your last post "system".

    "Hydronic" is simply anything with 'fluids', and there are many portable heaters, electrically heated, which heat water/oil/other fluid.

    I suspect you will respond that it is part of a "system" as you referred to it in this post, which throws what I was thinking it was right out the window as I was thinking you were referring to individual electrically heated hydronic units.

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Some type of energy is providing heat, which appears to be electricity. Therefore - “electric baseboard heater.” Keep it simple and direct as most folks are not interested in the dynamics of how, but rather when.

    Brian; how much longer are we going to have to look at that dumb “you tube” ad?

    Jerry McCarthy
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    2005 NEC 210-52
    Not having the NEC to refer to, does this section mention only electric baseboard heating units, or any baseboard heating units?

    Also, for homes built prior to this Code, it is not required to upgrade to this standard, is it?

    As for what to call the units, I appreciate the desire to be accurate, but I am fairly certain that if I began talking to my client about the hydronic baseboard heat distribution system, most of them would look at me puzzled and say "You mean the radiator?"

    Yeah, the radiator. For that reason, I try to keep things generally uncomplicated unless there is a need for technical jargon. Just my 2 cents....


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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    I dunno. The way I read it was that Michael was asking if a cord above a baseboard heater (where heat is provided from a central boiler or water heater) was the same kind of problem that would be present with an electric baseboard heater.

    But, that is just my take.

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Thank you Gunner, you've provided the perfect example of "simple" which has always = clear in concept.

    Isn't phonics pronounced, pon-iks?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I dunno. The way I read it was that Michael was asking if a cord above a baseboard heater (where heat is provided from a central boiler or water heater) was the same kind of problem that would be present with an electric baseboard heater.

    But, that is just my take.

    You have it exactly right

    The subsequent confusion, IMO, results from the fact that "hydronic heating", as I've generally seen it used in discussions of HVAC for 40 years, designates a system where water centrally heated (by NG, propane, electricity, wood, or anything else) was circulated through a piping system - not itself designed primarily to transfer heat to air - to radiators, convectors. panel coils or other or heat exchangers intended to transfer heat to air.

    For example that's what it means in the construction industry:

    "Hydronic Heating System - A system that circulates heated water through convectors to heat a building or given space."

    - ttp://www.wisbuild.org/wisbuild/resource+center/building+glossary/default.asp#glossH

    In the HVAC industry:

    "A hydronic heating system uses water or steam from a boiler which depending upon the circumstances is piped to a variety of heat distribution mechanisms such as radiators, baseboard heating or floor inlaid radiant piping or tubing."

    - Heating System Glossary by Brown's Oil & Air Conditioning: Serving Needham and other Metro Boston Communities


    And, to the extent they care about such things at all, to homeowners:

    "Hydronic Heat (Hot water or steam): In a hydronic system, a boiler heats water (to steam in a steam system), and the hot water circulates throughout the home through pipes. The boiler supplies hot water (or steam) to radiators located throughout the home."

    - BBB Alerts & News

    Then, things got more complicated: HVAC contractors in some parts of the country and specializing in such systems began using "hydronic" as shorthand for "radiant hydronic enbedded slab" heating, which still meets the definitions above of a "circulating" system, but I've run into experienced HIs who think that's ALL it refers to.

    Then, to make things even more complicated, some manufactures of electric resistance heating equipment, both hardwired and portable, started to call their systems "hydronic" as well, because they are heating liquids and using them to transfer heat very short distances to air without any intermediate distribution system, as for example:

    HBB500 QMark Electric Hydronic Baseboard Heater - 500 Watts

    IMO in doing do, they have muddied the waters to the point where "hydronic" has lost it's original meaning, and appears we need separate terms for this sort of local electric resistance heating as opposed to conventional circulating "hydronic systems", so I guess I'll now have to report:

    "hydronic (hot water) baseboard radiator/convector/whatever"

    "electric resistance ("hydronic") baseboard radiator/convector/whatever"

    and we can start discussing the difference between "radiators", "convectors" and "panel coils"... which matters because at least here in Illinois HIs are required to identify the fuel source and type of the heating system, and report the presence / absence of a permanent heat source in each habitable room.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 10-23-2007 at 11:59 AM.

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    I agree with your assessment, Gunnar.

    What was the answer, though? Not having the code reference cited, I am not sure if that answered the question with regard to any potential difference resulting from the heat source being heated water as opposed to a standard electric baseboard unit.


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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Michalski View Post
    I agree with your assessment, Gunnar.

    What was the answer, though? Not having the code reference cited, I am not sure if that answered the question with regard to any potential difference resulting from the heat source being heated water as opposed to a standard electric baseboard unit.

    According to the 3rd edition of "Electric Inspection of Existing Dwellings" by Hanson, Kardon and Casey, Chapter 6-2, there is no specific NEC prohibition of this placement, so you are back to 110-3b "listing and labeling". Apparently, the UL listing of most or all electric resistance baseboard units prohibits such outlets (see below for example).

    But that's just for electric baseboard.

    I looked at instalation instructions for several brands of radiators for "recirculating closed-loop hydronic systems", and found no reference to outlet placement:


    EcoTech Hydronics & Heating - Baseboard Radiators Installation Instructions
    Runtal Baseboard Radiators - Runtal Baseboard - Runtal Radiators
    http://www.runtalnorthamerica.com/co...horizontal.pdf
    http://hoksales.com/downloads/myson/Decor%20Manual.pdf

    Which was why I asked the question in the first place.

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    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 10-23-2007 at 11:50 AM.

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    Wink Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    According to the 3rd edition of "Electric Inspection of Existing Dwellings" by Hanson, Kardon and Casey, Chapter 6-2, there is no specific NEC prohibition of this placement, so you are back to 110-3b "listing and labeling". Apparently, the UL listing of most or all electric resistance baseboard units prohibits such outlets (see below for example).

    But that's just for electric baseboard.

    I looked at instalation instructions for several brands of radiators for "recirculating closed-loop hydronic systems", and found no reference to outlet placement:


    EcoTech Hydronics & Heating - Baseboard Radiators Installation Instructions
    Runtal Baseboard Radiators - Runtal Baseboard - Runtal Radiators
    http://www.runtalnorthamerica.com/co...horizontal.pdf
    http://hoksales.com/downloads/myson/Decor%20Manual.pdf

    Which was why I asked the question in the first place.
    I knew I had seen the diagram and spec statement before. I went to "Code Check HVAC" Page 3, Appliance Installation, BaseBoard Heaters,
    "No receptacles above perm installed heater (integral receptacle OK)" with reference to 2005 NEC 424.9 and 2003 IRC 1405.1. And, it was on my NHIE.
    Stu

    P.S. I didn't find anything noted in the electrical sections of Code Check


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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    From the minuted of a recent meeting of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, George Washington Chapter. This chapter encompasses Washington, D.C. and most of Maryland:

    "We discussed other amusing challenges of the “find the section this violates” variety. We noted some changes that snuck up on us. Receptacles over baseboard heaters are not explicitly forbidden. There are Fine Print Notes in a couple of locations (210.52 and 424.9) alerting installers to the possibility of a 110.3(B) issue, but whether this is a violation depends on the individual heater’s Listing. David also argued the inadequacy of common wording. He pointed out the absurdity of asserting that any receptacle installed above a heater would put equipment cords at risk, using the example of a clock-hanger six feet up..."

    -
    IAEI-GW Chapter


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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    From the NEC. (underlining is mine)
    - 210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets.
    - - This section provides requirements for 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere receptacle outlets. Receptacle outlets required by this section shall be in addition to any receptacle that is part of a luminaire (lighting fixture) or appliance, located within cabinets or cupboards, or located more than 1.7 m (5½ ft) above the floor.
    - - Permanently installed electric baseboard heaters equipped with factory-installed receptacle outlets or outlets provided as a separate assembly by the manufacturer shall be permitted as the required outlet or outlets for the wall space utilized by such permanently installed heaters. Such receptacle outlets shall not be connected to the heater circuits.
    - - FPN: Listed baseboard heaters include instructions that may not permit their installation below receptacle outlets.

    Other than the unenforceable FPN (Fine Print Note) I don't see where, generally speaking, receptacle outlets are not allowed above baseboard heater, and the FPN only refers 110.3(B) Listing and Labeling in that *some* ("may" means *some*) baseboard heaters "may" not permit themselves to be installed below receptacles, but it does not state *none are* permitted below receptacles in dwelling units.

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    The subsequent confusion, IMO, results from the fact that
    Micheal,

    *MY* confusion came about because your first post stated "Even if this was a few inches above an electric baseboard heater I would write it up on the basis of potential cord damage.... but... should I do the same if it's hydronic baseboard?", whereas you follow up post stated "hydronic heating system" which clarified what you were talking about.

    I.e., 'individual' units heated electrically or units as part of a system where the fluid was heated electrically.

    I would not call a baseboard heater 'electrically heated' if it was part of an hydronic system which circulated hot water which was "electrically heated".

    On the other hand, which is a moot point now, I would call a separate baseboard heater and "electric baseboard heater" if electricity heated the fluid *IN IT*, as a self-contained unit.

    Regardless, though, the NEC does not prohibit that installation for "baseboard heater", regardless of the energy source ... unless the listing and labeling so prohibits it.

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Of course you could still write it up as an obstructed outlet.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Of course you could still write it up as an obstructed outlet.
    That it is.



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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Thank you for the code citation, Jerry P. I appreciate it!


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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Receptacle is obstructed by the wall mounted heating device.

    Solution:

    1. Either remove the existing receptacle, terminate the wiring properly and cover with a "blank" cover plate.

    2. Remove the heating device so that the receptacle is accessible.

    Seems simple enough for me.

    rick


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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Third suggestion: surface raceway ("Wiremold") from the current box location to a point beyond the ends of the baseboard radiator.


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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Solution:

    1. Either remove the existing receptacle, terminate the wiring properly and cover with a "blank" cover plate.
    Not an acceptable solution as that would (more likely than not) eliminate one of the *required* receptacles along that wall space.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Third suggestion: surface raceway ("Wiremold") from the current box location to a point beyond the ends of the baseboard radiator.
    Might also disrupt the receptacle outlet locations ... 'might'.

    When getting the wiremold out, why not install a shallow surface box and run the wiremold directly up higher, where the receptacle will not be obstructed? Because, maybe that baseboard heater is not listed for installation below a receptacle outlet ... maybe.

    Or (the best, but most costly correction) replace the baseboard heater with one which has a receptacle built into it.

    Just another example of why we (HIs) need to be careful of what we recommend.

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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Hydronic baseboard has a design tempature of 180 degrees . Not hot enough to start a fire .........

    Electric baseboard can and will get hot enough to start a fire if a cord or curtain gets inside or close to it ....

    The National electrical code does not allow outlets placed above electric baseboard.....

    Electrically heated hydronic baseboard still runs at the 180 degree design tempatures so a outlet can be placed over it if the manufacture allows it...

    Dave in NH


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    Default Re: Outlets above baseboard convectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Belisle View Post
    The National electrical code does not allow outlets placed above electric baseboard.....
    Dave,

    What code section is that?

    Thanks.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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