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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 7535
Experience:  Proven Professional 48 years Experience
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I have two baseboard heaters that are not working and no

Customer Question

I have two baseboard heaters that are not working and no current is getting to the low voltage thermostat. It is controlled by a White Rodgers "Level temp silent operator" dual relay TYPE 24A01G. I suspect that it is the culprit and want to know how to test it. There is a potential second cause though. This summer I had an electrician in and they stuffed the relay into the junction box. When I look inside the box and trace the wires from the circuit breaker I see four wires: one black, one blue and two red. The blue and black write are connected to the relay, but both red wires are simply capped and connected to nothing. This seems wrong to me, but what should these red wires be connected to to complete a circuit? The thermostat wires are properly connected to the relay.
JA: How old is the system in question? And have you consulted an electrician yet?
Customer: The baseboard heaters are 40 years old, but the breaker board is about ten years old and the relay maybe only a few years old.
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: Hope so!
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: Don't think so
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Hi, I'm Mike and I'll be assisting you. Please stand by while I review your question.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

I agree that the red wired should be connected. Tie them together and check the heaters.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
ok, give me a minute
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Standing by.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi Mike, I'm Chris.
Before I hook up the red wires, I just want to make sure you know they both come out of the circuit breaker. Should I still hook them up?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Don't know why that would be. Cables have only one wire of any color. If there are 2 reds, the norm would be one from the panel and one from the heaters. Check to know positively where they come from. If as stated connect them.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
ok
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Standing by.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
There are two circuit breakers joined together. the top one has a black wire coming out closer to the front and a red wire coming out farther back. the lower breaker has a blue wire coming out of the front and a red wire coming out of the back. Both the blue and black wires are connected to the relay while both red wires are simply capped in the junction box and not connected to anything.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

That indicates there are 2 240V circuits both have red wires. The black and blue wires are paired with the reds. Both reds connected to nothing says that the 240V circuit is open and the heaters don't have power. If you only have 2 red, 1 blue and 1 black at the relay the wires to the heaters are not there. You need to verify where they are.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The heaters are wired with romex which has one white wire, one black and a ground. Two sets come into the junction box, one from each heater. the two black wires from the romex are connected to the blue wire from the breaker and the yellow wire from the relay. the white wires are connected to the blue wire from the relay. The black wire from the relay is connected to the black wire from the breaker. It is as if the doubled breaker only needs the blue and black wires and the red wires would only be used if each breaker was being used separately
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

OK, from your description of the wires the only thing I see as a possibility of not working would be is you have current carrying wires but no mention on relay control wires. You need a way to bring the relay on.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
wouldn't the relay control wires be the low voltage wires coming from the thermostat? they are connected as described in my initial post.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Yes they would be additional to the last mentioned wires and would be outside the box. If you check them for voltage you will know if the low voltage is.working. if you don't have a tester, quickly touch the low voltage wires together for a spark.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
There is no low voltage current at the thermostat, and none coming out of the relay.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Find the transformer and test line and output to determine which is failed.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
sorry for the delay, someone came to the door.
My tester is just a little LED, not a multi tester . I am guessing I have to turn the power back on before testing.
Also, does it matter if the failure is in the line or the output? in either case wouldn't I have to replace the relay?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Not having low voltage is a transformer problem not a relay problem. The transformer can be checked with your tester on the line side and sparking it on the low side.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I think the transformer is inside the relay. On the outside of the relay/transformer, it says line is black and yellow and load is blue and yellow. the low voltage wires also come out of the unit. I turned the power on and got a light when testing the black and yellow (inside the wire nuts so relay black still connected to the black heater wires and panel blue and the relay yellow still connected to the panel black. It seems this just tests for whether the only two wires coming out of the panel (blue and black) are providing a current. Should I disconnect something?
When I did the test on the blue and yellow coming out of the relay/transformer I got no light.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Transformer is in the relay. Put the low voltage wired together to bring it on. If not, it is defective.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
OK Thanks, ***** went online to find the manual for this thing, the schematic of the unit shows a transformer inside. Remind me how to test: you said earlier " The transformer can be checked with your tester on the line side and sparking it on the low side." What wires do i put my tester on to do this? Two low voltage lines exit the unit (red and white) and connect to the red and white wires from the thermostat.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Putting the red and white together should spark if the transformer is good and if left together bring the relay on. If not the relay needs to be replaced.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Great! I did get a spark but nothing audible happened after. Since both transformer and relays are in this single unit I guess I have to get a whole new one.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

You need to get a 2 wire voltage tester to verify 240V at the relay line wires. I suggest flipping the breaker off and back on to make sure it has an output.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
OK, Thanks. I guess I'll have to go buy a voltage tester. I appreciated your help and step by step guidance.
All the best, Chris
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Very good, you're welcome.

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