Friday, October 7, 2011

how to: bathroom heater upgrade!

jambaloney here.

this post has lotsa pics - i want to show how 1,2,3 an upgrade can be if you are ready. in this case, our bathroom baseboard heater needs replacing- it is in the wrong place, is too weak and, well, doesn't really provide any heat. in the winter, it sucks using the toilet, so we plug this thing in - a pain!!

winter is coming, we need an upgrade... first step, i identify and isolate the POS (piece of s***) :

next - i turn off breakers #1 and #3:

one of these helps ;-)

next, i get the tools together... new heater, elecrtical kit, 12/2 wire, drill, bits, screws, junction box (didn't need the reciprocating saw after all - i drilled the new heater right into the baseboard)

okay, back to the bathroom to pry the POS off the wall:

and take the cover off revealing the "guts" - pehew!!

after i take the wire nuts off, i test for conductivity... black on black (hot), red on red or white (neutral) ...nothing here, safe to proceed!

the POS has been taken to the "boneyard" (more on that in another post - the metal will be useful for something else) . now the exposed wires are ready to be re-routed to the basement:

and connected to the new heater ( i have already installed the thermostat in the heater):

now holes are needed in the floor. the original wire comes down through the wall, so i bypass that altogether - this isn't a full renovation ;-)

i drill a hole for the old wire that i then push through (i used a 1/2 " spade bit in the drill):

and then i drill a hole for the new heater (note the fluorescent string i pushed through the hole - that will come in handy!)

now to the, crawlspace for the dirty work!!! tools are ready!!

take a deep breath....... nice, huh??

notice how the space gets smaller, that's where i have to go... notice the emergency insulation and vapor barrier i smashed in there in a panic last january - upgrade for that before xmas!!!

okay...find hole # 1- the old wires:

and find hole #2 - the destination (note the flourescent string ;-)

to bridge the 2, i have to install a junction box near the old wire on this stud (complete with spider, thank god i don't have arachnaphobia, there are 100s in the crawl space and at this point, clearance is about 15" !!)

i install the box, cap the wires:

put a plate on it:

i run the wire about 10 feet, stapling it to studs all the way and push it up through the destination hole:

flip the breakers back on and PRESTO - a new energy efficient, WORKING baseboard heater!!

it is in the right place, NOT behind the door - lol!!! the total cost was about $65.00 which we will probably save this winter alone as a result of the upgrade. took me 2 hours!!

more gonzo project posts coming your way- cheers!


  1. Jambaloney,
    I am impressed. I need a jambaloney of my own. I freeze in the winter. However, no heat in the bathroom is not a problem. I cannot stand a heated bathroom for a bath. I just need a heated commode seat. That is butt chillingly wicked to sit on a frozen commode seat.

    Taking pictures through all that was impressive. Most men would not be taking pictures. But, your public appreciates it.

    Oh, first spider that I saw would be my last. I would just go without heat.

  2. You did a really good job on that. I would not have been able to do all that wiring, I'd have had to hire it out. If I could find someone who would come up here and do it. I wish you two lived closer to me, I could use a mentor to teach me electrical stuff.

  3. Practical Parsimony:

    *blush* - you are too kind.. i don't know if i would try to wire a commode seat.. to much of a shock risk ;-)

    i thought the pictures would help show how straightforward is is, not that difficult if you think it through.


    Thanks, it's not that hard, i'll let you in on a secret, i read this, like 5 times!:

    amazing book, explains the basic theory, history of wiring in homes etc. etc. hell man, if you can figure out all those crazy rifles, scopes and calibers... you can do wiring, no probs!

    my friend, we wish we were closer to you too, you could mentor us in so many other ways... for now, the internet will have to do, so far so good.

    you are welcome here anytime!

  4. Nice job. Freezing bathroom in the winter absolutely suck!

  5. Why did you run a new wire into the crawl space and then patch it into the old? I am assuming the location for the old wire where it came through was just in the wrong place for the new heater? You could have done the patch and used baseboard conduit to hide the wire but that would have cost more but you also have the old entry hole to patch now.

    Nice looking installation so it is a job well done. I love running wire and figuring out the best course to get it all together.

  6. thanks Tango - nice and toasty now!!

    Pioneer Preppy:

    the old heater was in the wrong place and right next to the bathroom vanity so i couldn't rout a conduit without moving the vanity, plumbing etc. going down and up was the easiest solution. i'll plug the hole and put a piece of baseboard on the wall, there's tons in the basement so no cost there.

    the whole wiring setup here is a fiasco, boxes not capped, wires not anchored etc. i have a bunch more rewiring to do which i'll post on. you'll see a lot of "patch jobs" like this. to do it proper, i'd have to re-wire the whole place which i'm not inclined to do at all right now.

    this was the best i could do. i'll be using the attic rout for the next project, wait 'til you see the mess there ;-)

    i love wiring too, i get real frustrated here because i would have done things soooo differently! the corners that were cut when the previous owner wired the place make no sense whatsoever. some day i'll get the opportunity to do it from scratch - THAt will be fun.

    i love your solar posts, like i said, i'll be ringing your bell when the time comes ;-)

  7. PP/Linda - i wish i could send you a jambaloney! i have other friends that want one too! he is an amazing partner/helpmate/husband and i wish every woman in the world could have one!

    he will climb into anything - oftentimes he comes out of the crawlspace under the house covered in all kinds of stuff - you wouldn't believe what he is covered in when he comes out of the attic - but he takes it all in stride!

    and hey - have you ever thought of putting on of those furry covers for car steering wheels on the toilet seat? shoot - me and you should start making some - i can see a real great business venture there - bahahahaha!

    Arsenius, my dear, dear friend - if you were closer there are so many jobs that we could all do together and you could mentor us in so many things - i sure do wish you were closer!

    oh Tango - that bathroom sucked so bad this past winter - teehee - but not anymore. bring it on winter - i gots a new heater in my bathroom!

    PP and PP/Linda (cuz we got 2 PP's) - i think jambaloney covered your comment and i don't know didely-squat about what you guys are talking about so i will just say "hey buddy - how's it going"

    thank you all for stopping by. it is so nice to to be able to exchange ideas and learn from each other!

  8. thanks MDR - works like a charm too!

  9. Oh that's what it's called - a junction box! That's what I tore up my leg on! Well, not your junction box...the one in our upstairs.
    The Anonymous Homesteader

  10. Just reading this after your link in a post on our blog, awesome tutorial. You have taken some of the fear and mystery out of it. Thank you!!

  11. no problem - glad to be able to help!!!

    the crawl space was by far the hardest part ;-))