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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Default How can I locate an electric heat relay?

    I have electric heat in my house, each room on it's own breaker in the garage. One room now bakes at around 83 degrees and will only shut off if the breaker is switched. I replaced the room's thermostat with one from another room that I know works and the same thing happened. My electrician is leaving town for 3 months, but brought over a new relay, which he said is most likely what is needed. However, we were unable to find where the old one is. The room's cable from the breaker switch in the garage is visible for about 10 inches and then disappears under insulation. Checking where the other cables come out through the basement does not reveal that particular one anyway. I've removed the basement insulation near the (sheetrocked and paneled) room with the problem but there's no sign of the cable. I explored the baseboard heaters, but no luck. Two questions: Is there a tool that can help trace the cable to locate the faulty relay? Is it possible to ignore the faulty relay and install one near the breaker box where the cable is obvious? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    The Great White North
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    4,045

    Default Re: How can I locate an electric heat relay?

    Relay ?!?!?

    Sounds to me you have electric baseboard heat ?
    Typically the thermostats for them would be line voltage --- either 120vac or 240vac.
    Wiring is straight forward for line voltage thermostats --- supply feed goes to the line side and the baseboard heater connected to the load side. Switching on/off is done inside the thermostat. ---- No external relays involved.

    Now, if for some reason you are using low voltage 24vac thermostats then I can see external relays being used.

    If that's the case there's a need to have a step down transformer ( 120vac primary -- 24vac secondary ) hard wired somewhere and wiring from the transformer supplying 24vac to the thermostats. That 24vac output from the thermostat would energize the coil of a relay to open or close contacts to switch the 120 /240vac on and off for the baseboard heaters.
    A guess would be the relays are either located in the device box where the thermostats and wire connections are.
    Or --------
    Perhaps theres a junction box located near the breaker panel with the relays , transformer and associated wiring.

    Of course this is all sight unseen.

    There are "wire tracers " available to purchase.
    However, if you can't readily find or see the relays then your wiring is not proper. Any junction or splice has to be readily accessable ( not hidden) and enclosed inside an approved box --- which includes relays switching line voltage.
    Last edited by canuk; 01-25-2011 at 07:52 PM.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Midwest
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    179

    Default Re: How can I locate an electric heat relay?

    Exactly as Canuk stated. The thermostat will tell you if it is line voltage (large wire 10 gauge) or low voltage (small doorbell type wire) 22 gauge, If it is line voltage, it will not have a relay. If it has a low voltage stat, it must have a relay. I would have a 240/24 vac transformer and a 24 vac relay mounted in the heater or at the breaker panel as Canuk said. It would not make sense to put them anywhere else. The transformer and relay must be mounted in a box, and it cannot be hidden behind sheetrock.
    "Lead by Example"

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    The Great White North
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    Default Re: How can I locate an electric heat relay?

    I guess it's possible ( for whatever reason ) the stats maybe 120vac line voltage and the heaters are 240vac.
    Who knows.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Midwest
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    179

    Default Re: How can I locate an electric heat relay?

    Quote Originally Posted by canuk View Post
    I guess it's possible ( for whatever reason ) the stats maybe 120vac line voltage and the heaters are 240vac.
    Who knows.
    I was meaning 240 volts when I said line voltage, I don't know if its different up north :-)
    "Lead by Example"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: How can I locate an electric heat relay?

    Yes, this is electric baseboard heat and it's low voltage. There's a junction box near the breaker panel with 8 relays, but the wire from the (problem) heater breaker isn't connected to any of them. I operated on the heater (2 linked together, actually) and there's no relay in there either. That's why I wondered if there's a way to either locate the relay with some sort of tool or to ignore it and install a new one on the heater cable as it exits from the breaker panel, figuring it would bypass the original relay, wherever it is.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Midwest
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    179

    Default Re: How can I locate an electric heat relay?

    Can you post a photo of the stat and relays? Are there 8 stats corresponding to the 8 relays?

    Does a pair of wires leave each heater circuit-breaker and go to a relay? You will have to have two wires for the low voltage coil in the relay and either one or two wires from the circuit-breaker to each relay. You will also have one or two supply wires from each relay to the heater. The relays may open one line or both lines to a heater depending on who installed it.

    I would not see any reason to bypass a relay when it already has all the wires you need, plus an enclosure. Also the if the contacts are welded together, they may also eventually burn open and you will have no heat.
    "Lead by Example"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: How can I locate an electric heat relay?

    I don't have a photo, but I do have information that might help.
    The relays are White-Rodgers 24A01G-2 240V.A.C., 25 amps. non-ind. The wire from the breaker with the problem heat goes into the box but doesn't connect to a relay. That's the problem--I can't locate that relay with or without a junction box. The 8 relays do correspond to 8 stats. There's one other relay attached to a junction box at the far end of the basement (over 50' from the breaker panel and other relays), but it doesn't appear to have anything to do with the room with the heat problem, which is nearby. It is connected to a different room. The baseboard heaters are Electromode Series 9955, cast alum. grid, 3.3 kw, according to the written proposal from the original electrician from when the house was built in 1971. It has a "Singer" label on it, which I know is now defunct. The thermostat is White-Rodgers and info. on it is heating .15 to 1.0 amps, cooling 1.5 amps max, max voltage 30 V.A.C., E1 Type 1F36-910. The reason I wondered about the possibility of bypassing that relay is because I can't find it to replace it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: How can I locate an electric heat relay?

    Thanks for the additional info, a photo is not necessary.

    The W-R relay contains a transformer and two independent single pole contacts. It can be used to control two seperate loads. From what I understand so far,
    1. There is one stat for each relay box you have found, and one additional stat that you cant find the relay for.
    2. You know which breaker controls the p0wer to the heater.
    3. You don't know where the 24 volt stat wires go.
    If any of this is wrong let me know.

    If you had the tools such as a wire tracer, you could shutoff the breaker to the problem heater and remove the wires from the breaker and put a signal on the wires with the transmitter, and then attempt to follow the wire through the walls, ceiling, or crawl space in an attempt to find the relay.

    The best place for the relay is at the panel, but if the stat wire was forgotten or added later, the electrician may have found it easier to install the relay near the heater rather than run the stat wire back to the panel area.

    Yes, you can install another relay box at the panel or elsewhere, and run a new pair of 24 volt wires to the stat, and cap off and abandon the existing 24 volt wires. If I were doing the repair for someone, I would locate the missing relay, but what you propose would also work.
    http://www.emersonclimate.com/en-US/....aspx#24A01G-3
    "Lead by Example"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: How can I locate an electric heat relay?

    Your items 1, 2, and 3 are correct. A wire tracer sounds like a good possibility, although the expense is a concern. I might see first if ripping out a whole lot of insulation (and who knows what else) would reveal the relay. It'll be a mess, but seems like the way to go for now, depending on what other barriers I meet. The wiring, including the heat for that room, was installed the same time as in the rest of the house. That's why this is so weird. I certainly agree with you about not wanting to run all new wiring. Thank you so much for your help. This is great!

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