Testing a Ceiling Mounted Electric Heater
Why did my electric heater stopped working? How To Test a Heater and Electrical Wiring, Possible Electrical Circuit Wiring Problem.
Electric Heater Problem
Electrical Question: Why did my electric heater stopped working?
- My Nutone #157 surface mount ceiling heater stopped working.
- I took down the unit using a coat hanger to allow the unit to hang from ceiling while checking it.
- I removed the two wire nuts and probed the house wires with my voltmeter and found there was only 13volts.
- I thought the 20 year old heater was bad so I bought a new unit.
The electrical wiring connections were easy:
- Black on black, white on white, an easy fix.
I wired the new heater and it will not work either. I’ve checked the house wiring and it shows 13 volts. I don’t understand what is wrong. I didn’t check the old unit for ohms, but today I checked both units for continuity and they both appear to show open circuits.
This electrical question came from: Dennis, a Handyman from Dallas, Texas.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Dennis.
How to Test a Heater and Electrical Wiring
Application: Testing an Electric Heater and Circuit Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with hand tools and electrical troubleshooting skills.
Precaution: Identify the heater circuit, turn it OFF and then Tag it with a Note before performing any wiring inspections or testing.
Testing a Electric Heater Element and Circuit Wiring
Testing the Heating Element
Make sure you are testing the heater correctly. This heating unit has heating elements which may appear to produce an open reading when checking for resistance and continuity. In order to get an accurate resistance reading, the heat coils should be tested when the unit is not connected to the house wiring. The tester should be set to the OHM scale, and each test lead should be attached to each wire connected to the heating elements. The resistance reading will depend on the watt rating of the heating element, however if no reading is produced then the heating element is most likely faulty.
Testing the Electrical Circuit
Because the heating unit was not working, the electrical power circuit should be checked. Due to the high amount of electricity electric heaters require there is a high probability that the wall switch that controls the heater may need to be replaced. Testing the wall switch for continuity will reveal if the switch is faulty or not. The circuit wiring should be inspected for burnt or faulty connections or splices.
Do not use a tester while the circuit is on unless you fully understand what you are doing and the functions of the test equipment. These electrical components can be safely tested for fault while the circuit is off.
The heating elements will show resistance and should not show give a full open reading.
Possible Electrical Circuit Wiring Problem
- Low Voltage Readings
- If the wall switch is not the problem then there may be a problem with the electrical circuit, which would explain the low voltage reading of 13 volts.
- Electric heating units place a high load on the electric circuit and the neutral wire connections and splices often produce problems.
- Inspect all the electrical wiring of this circuit paying close attention to the white neutral wires.
- Burnt or damaged wiring will require repairs that produce clean solid connections that are tight and spliced properly.
More about Troubleshooting an Electric Heater Problem
For more information about Electrical Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring
- Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods
used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.
Understanding Digital Volt Meters
When working on home electrical wiring using voltage meter can play an important part in electrical safety.
Electrical testers and voltage meters enable you to identify electrical circuits and help prevent the possibility of accidental electrical shock.
Types of Electrical Testers
The following may also be helpful for you:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
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