Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Guest Project

Our daughter and her fiancĂ© have been looking to buy an older home for renovation and living.  The usual problems appear in each potential home.  Undersized, archaic electrical and HVAC concerns weighed against the power requirements for present day home owners looking to future upgrades.  The cost of these upgrades is also of concern.

Newer homes within their price range offer little improvement with single circuits per room, 14 gauge wiring and underrated builder's grade HVAC flex ducted through the attic with inherent energy loss. 

What follows is a possible low cost solution to these problems from ideas pondered over the last couple of months. I am neither an engineer or electrician, so I am seeking clarification and/or certification as to whether or not this can work as conceived and executed.

Opinions/advice from all interested parties is appreciated. 


DISCLAIMER AND PHOTOGRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS FOLLOW ARTICLE.


I have a habit of checking all retailers’ products, as they pertain to my projects, therefore I may purchase and adapt per manufacturers’ instructions accordingly.  Hence, all retailers and manufacturers of products used in this mock-up project represent NO official endorsement from any of the following corporate entities, but are listed as follows


  • Home Depot
  • Lowes 
  • Menards 
  • Cadet Heating Products
  • Honeywell 
  • Cooper Wiring Devices 
  • South Wire 
  • Gardner Bender Electrical
  • Steel City 
  • C E Tech
  • Rust-Oleum
  • Kilz 
  • The Hillman Group    

This is a mock-up, so it is stated that all circuits are to be inspection code approved by all federal, state and local municipalities.  Also, understood that G.F.C.I. protected circuit breakers are to be installed in the new circuit box for each new circuit. All new wiring is intended to be installed for each new circuit. This unit is to be permanently attached to a wall, preferably under a window. 

Central A/C was not mentioned as a necessity, so an independent circuit outlet to the right of the thermostat has been installed for seasonal use of either a window A/C or a portable unit vented to the window.  In this case it is wired for 110/120v.

 Each of the three heating units are 30 inches long, 220/240v parallel wired, 500 watts each and have deflectors mounted just below the middle and top units.  This application is intended to provide a "cold well" for the intake above it and also deflect heat from the unit below it so as not to overheat the thermal shutdown in the unit above it.  This should add turbulence and I think favorably alter the air flow of the smaller footprint (30 inches vertically rather than 90 inches horizontally). I am guessing at this since I have zip knowledge of thermodynamics. 

All wiring used on this project is 12/2 with ground and all outlets are a 20amp rating.  The two lower horizontally mounted outlets on either side are to represent the start of two room outlet branch circuits. Each one proceeding in opposite directions and tracked along concealing baseboards, thereby increasing normal capacity to two circuits per room for incidental usage such as lamp/lighting, stereo, TV, phone chargers, etc.

The outlet to the left of the cable/communications outlet is a dedicated independent circuit/duplex outlet intended for APU and/or lightning surge protection for high end electronics such as gaming computers.  

The cable/communication's box is currently wired CAT3, CAT5e, and standard cable/antenna, with 3 auxiliary knockouts still available. 

All outlets and thermostat are taped to prevent incidental shock.  

This system is designed to allow the typical homeowner/DIYer to leisurely and inexpensively upgrade comfort and convenience with little disruption of everyday family life.  This method should limit aggravated exposure to lead base paints, molds, allergens, asbestos, etc normally associated with tear outs and rewires. 

Obviously, large windows along with increased room size would require larger baseboard units mounted on considerably larger cabinets, and assessed accordingly.  

As this is a mock up, the power in from the circuit box are the cables coming out of the lower holes.  Power out to the two branch circuits are the upper holes. 

The wood cabinet is framed with 2"x 4", along with a 2"x 6" base, covered by 1/2" thick 2'x 4' sanded plywood. The textured finish of the wood cabinet is RUST-OLEUM Deck and Concrete Restore 10X Advanced Resurfacer.  

The accompanying photos should help clarify the text. 

Thanks for any help offered, any suggestions, or flat out warnings of "DON'T USE!"

DISCLAIMER:  THIS PROJECT MUST BE VERIFIED/SAFETY CHECKED BY COMPETENT/LICENSED PROFESSIONALS, ENGINEERS, ELECTRICIANS, ETC.  IT IS NOT NOW, NOR IS IT INTENDED TO BE COPYRIGHTED, PATENTED OR CLAIMED BY ANY INDIVIDUAL OR CORPORATE ENTITY.  ANY USE, ATTEMPT OR CORRECTION OF THIS PROJECT IS AT YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL RISK.  ALL FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL INSPECTIONS AND CODE ENFORCEMENT MUST BE STRICTLY ADHERED TO ON ANY ELECTRICAL PROJECT.

Upper and lower photos are basic cabinet construction.


Front and back with the electrical boxes installed directly to plywood.


Additional center hole was drilled on each flange for three point screw down.

Three 1-1/2 inch holes for power access to each baseboard unit. 


Top right handy box is the thermostat, top left box is 110/120v A/C circuit, bottom horizontal handy box represents one of two electrical branch circuits for room perimeter.

Thermostat send power to the bottom element, then is parallel wired from there to the remaining two baseboard units.

Upper left handy box is cable/communications, upper right box is a dedicated, independent circuit/duplex outlet, lower horizontal handy box represents the second of the two branch circuits for the room.













Thermostat, red is T2, L2.

Thermostat, black is L1, T1.








Side view of the deflectors below the top and middle baseboard units.




Guest Blogger

Brian