LESLIE: Alright, Lori in Indiana has a question about let’s call this electricity and heating. (chuckles)
The Right Electricity for your Heating System
LESLIE: What’s going on, Lori?
LORI: (chuckles) Well, I’m calling from (AUDIO GAP) and I have the mother of all money pits.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) OK.
LORI: So – hello, so I have a question for the professor.
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
LORI: There are wires sticking out of the wall for baseboard heaters.
LORI: How do I determine if I [should use] (ph) 120 volt or 240 volt?
TOM: Oh, well, if it’s a baseboard heating unit, it’s going to be 240.
LORI: Really, it’s that easy?
TOM: Mm-hmm, yeah. I mean you can’t – it would be unusual to have a 120-volt built-in baseboard heating system. How many wires do you have sticking out?
LORI: Well, I have a black and a white and a ground and I was told that if it was 240 it would have to be black and white and red.
TOM: Oh, well, if it’s a black and a white and a ground, it’s not 240. But are you sure it’s for heat?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And not an outlet?
LORI: (overlapping voices) Yes, they had eight heaters and yanked them out and threw them away.
TOM and LESLIE: Hmm.
TOM: Well, they may have had some old 120 volts but, typically, you need 240 for a baseboard heating system.
LORI: And it’s not possible that they took a 120 and wrapped it around and hotwired it and I’ll burn down my house, is it?
TOM: No, no.
LESLIE: (chuckling) No.
LORI: (chuckling) OK.
TOM: Not likely. But listen; you should make sure those wires are dead and you should make sure that if they’re tied into a circuit breaker that they’re disconnected for the breaker; they’re not just – the breakers are just turned off but somebody could turn that back on by accident and then all of a sudden you’ve got hot wires.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And they’re sticking out and they’re live.
TOM: Yeah. You want to make sure they’re completely disconnected from the panel.
LORI: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.