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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    49

    Default Breaker Box Question

    First, please know that my knowledge of anything electrical is next to nothing. This question is a bit stupid, but I'm still gonna ask it.

    My 1937 4-room bungalow has individual baseboard heaters in each room - each with it's own dial from 1-10. No central heating. The breaker box labels say "heater" for the 4 rooms, but don't specify which goes to which (I'll test and fix that little problem when it's not so hot!).

    So, my question is this - is it okay to just flip all the "heater" switches until I accomplish what I need to do - which is to loosen and get behind the one in the kitchen? Does it matter if they're off for any length of time if they're not being used?

    TIA for the useful help I know I'll receive from all you helpful TOH folks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Breaker Box Question

    If you are doing the work now, just turn them all off and do what you need to do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,804

    Default Re: Breaker Box Question

    First let me say that the only stupid question is one that is not ask.

    No it will not harm them to turn them off for an extended period. They are off when they are not providing heat.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,611

    Default Re: Breaker Box Question

    I still like to check with a tester to make sure the circuit is off before messing with it. Chances are they are 220 volt.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Breaker Box Question

    Thanks everyone for your replies - I thought no one had answered because I didn't get email notification, even I have my preferences set to receive instant notification (is there a moderator I can contact about that?).

    I don't have a tester, so I'll take my chances.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Breaker Box Question

    You can use a light bulb holder with are wires, or a errant child with wet hands....


    Seriously, if you own a home there are 2 basic electrical testers you should have;

    One that has the 3 lights and you plug into an outlet, and the other has a red and black wire to test for 110v and 220v so there are no serious mistakes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,118

    Default Re: Breaker Box Question

    The only way to know for certain that a given wire is 'dead' is to test it against a known ground with something like a meter or bulb. Your hair-do gets rather poofy when you become the ground and if the current path is across your heart the mortician may be seeing you rather soon- but you won't be seeing him

    Seriously, basic multi-meters are cheap and if you're going to do any electrical work you really need one. It doesn't have to be terribly accurate, just reliable and checked on a live circuit for function before using it for your intended project. For many years that's all I had but it was enough, and it also got me through automotive work, checked bulbs and batteries and so much more.

    The mortician may advise otherwise but I say it's the best money you can ever spend.

    Phil

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,611

    Default Re: Breaker Box Question

    As mentioned, a circuit tester is a mandatory tool for any DIYer. An inexpensive neon tester may set you back $5 or so. Circuit breakers aren't always labeled correctly or fully.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Breaker Box Question

    Well, I'm not doing any electrical work ... I only wanted to get it a little bit away from the wall to get at the wallpaper, which I've stripped from the rest of that wall - why there's wallpaper behind the heating unit is beyond me. I've managed to sc**** away enough so that it's not bugging me any more.

    I just turned the breakers off. However, once I removed a plate at one end of the unit and peered inside, I realized I couldn't tell where or how it was attached to the wall and didn't dare mess with it - tester or no ... it's not something I want to mess with.

    Thanks everyone.

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