Will a 40 amp breaker work? baseboard heaters

sunroomguyAugust 31, 2010

i will be installing 2- 6' and 2-8' electric base board heaters. one 6' and one 8' is 4000 watts/ 18 amps. the panel only has room for 1 dbl pole breaker (unless i use a couple of sgl pole tandems). if there was more room, i would install 2 - 20's. can i use a 40 amp dbl pole and run two 12-2 cu wires off of it?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


You can use a 30A circuit for electric heat, but not larger.
Even if you could use a 40A you CANNOT parallel #12 wire of it. You would need #8cu.

You need two circuits. End of story.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 10:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First, based on the question, I doubt that the person has enough experience or wiring knowledge to do the job correctly. Get a pro to do it.
Based on the information posted, a 30 amp double -pole breaker could be used to supply those heaters using #10 conductors. Both heaters would be on that circuit.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 7:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All the wire used in a circuit must be sized for the protective device. So, no, you can't connect two #12 cables to a 40a breaker. Not even if you're sure the loads are appropriate. Not code compliant, not safe.

If I'm not mistaken, a permanently installed heater is considered a sustained load, so is subject to the 80% load rule. Thus a 20a 240v circuit can supply up to 3840w worth of heaters and a 30a 240v circuit up to 5760w.

First, make sure your service has enough capacity to handle the additional load. No point in proceeding if you're just going to trip the main on some subzero winter night.

If that's up to snuff, to power your heaters, I'd probably install a 100a main lugs subpanel. Feed the sub from a 100a breaker in your main's last remaining double pole slot. Then run your heaters from breakers in the sub. It sounds like two 30a circuits (with #10 wire) would do it.

If some of this is confusing, I suggest you get a copy of Wiring Simplified and study up before proceeding. Or just call a pro, as Bus suggested.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 6:50PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Does a refrigerator need to be on a separate circuit?
Does a refrigerator need to be on a separate circuit?...
Replacing fan speed dial back to standard toggle?
I am removing a ceiling fan and replacing it with a...
Spa Capacitor question
My spa is wired for 220v. The pump motor is rated for...
Reuse electrical panel
I replaced a 24 circuit Square D panel with a new 40...
Insulation in electrical box
While in my attic the other day I saw an open electrical...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™