Is it legal to install a cord and plug on a common 240 volt baseboard heater? It does not have a cord and was intended to be hardwired.

Do I need to use a 240V plug (NEMA 6, 10, 14) or can I use the common 120V plug we all know and love? (NEMA 5-15).

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  • 1
    Recommend closing as unclear what you're asking. Do you want to connect a heater to a 120V source? hack a 120V outlet off an existing 240V source? etc. – Carl Witthoft Dec 7 '16 at 14:29
  • Are you saying you want to convert the heater from a hardwired device, to a cord connected one? When you say "regular plug", do you mean a NEMA 5-15P (or 5-20P), or a NEMA 6-30P? – Tester101 Dec 7 '16 at 14:50
  • Yes. To be able to unplug it. Or can i hardwire from a outlet. – Wyatt Dec 7 '16 at 15:09
  • @wyatt the right connector for loads of that size is NEMA 6-15 or 6-20, presuming you are serving it off a 15A or 20A breaker. If a 30A circuit you cannot do it. This does not address the question of whether it's legal at all to put a line cord on a heater meant for hard wiring. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 7 '16 at 16:59
  • Why do you want to be able to unplug it? Maybe there is a better solution to whatever your actual problem is. – Grant Dec 8 '16 at 12:37

You probably could install a cord. However, you'll have to install a 10 AWG cord, and a 250V 30A plug (NEMA 6-30P). And you'll have to plug it into a 250V 30A circuit, with properly sized conductors and overcurrent protection. Unless, of course, the heater is rated to work at lower voltage/current.


Updated for edited question. The answer is NO see last sentence. Wiring an outlet to most baseboard heating feeders would be a code violation in most cases. Usually the 240V branch feeder (in the past) had no neutral and was on a 30A circuit. Unless the baseboard was listed with an outlet and on a branch circuit of 20 amps or less it would be a code violation. With the information provided. Another note of caution in many older homes only 1 leg of the 240V was switched this looks to be the case in the fuzzy photo. make sure when doing any work on the heating to kill the power and verify the circuit is dead or you might have a shocking surprise. I originally read this as adding an outlet to the circuit. Adding a cord connection to a permanently mounted fixture like this would be a code violation.

  • Judging by the 16 ga. cord also in the picture, I believe the OP is asking if he can run his 240V heater off of 120V (wired to the cord). – Connor Bredin Dec 7 '16 at 14:49
  • @ConnorBredin running a heater on 1/2 voltage will work but yield 1/4 the heat (1/2, squared). Some heaters can be jumpered internally to work at half-power or full-power at 120V, but not these cheap Cadets. They are so cheap it,s probably cheaper to buy a 120V Cadet than fool around with this. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 7 '16 at 17:08
  • @EdBeal heaters like this don't need a neutral, and can't use it if you wire it. The only conceivable reason to run a neutral is this optional accessory homedepot.com/p/… assuming you even feed it from the heater circuit, which you can't if the breaker is >20A. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 7 '16 at 17:22
  • I know they don't use a neutral but newer models with digital controls sometimes do, I did state the cautions for the normal single leg thermostat also. – Ed Beal Dec 7 '16 at 17:24
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    400.7 uses permitted. Fixed heating not listed & 400.8.1 uses not permitted . Not permitted as a substitute for fixed wiring of a structure. – Ed Beal Dec 7 '16 at 19:52

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