I have two baseboard heaters to install on a 240V, 20A circuit. One heater is 1500w and the other is 2000w.

From my panel, I leave the 20A breaker with 12/2 wire to reach the first baseboard. Obviously I will be waiting for my electrician to come and do this but I am curious as to how both heaters will be plugged.

Will these be plugged in series? If so, how does he do this?

P.S: Located in Quebec, Canada

  • @Machavity In Canada – Alex Jan 21 '19 at 19:56
  • When wiring in a series, if the wattage and voltage of each heater is not equal, the heaters will not split the total voltage equally. It would probably be best to wire them in parallel, as only the voltage would need to be the same. Additionally, when wiring heaters in a series, if one has an issue it also affects the other heater. – Jerry_Contrary Jan 21 '19 at 20:02
  • Next question: In CA they typically use 120v. How are you getting 240v on one line? Normally I'd expect to see a split phase over two lines – Machavity Jan 21 '19 at 20:09
  • @Machavity 20A double breaker brings the voltage to 240V – Alex Jan 21 '19 at 20:21

You would not normally wire two heaters that are rated for 240VAC operation in series on a 240VAC power source. Instead they would be connected in parallel along a daisy chain of wiring like shown here. Note that the below does not depict the safety ground wire connections.

enter image description here

  • Will this work if the two heaters are of different sizes (i.e. one 1500W and one 1000W)? – levesque Oct 25 '20 at 17:57
  • 1
    @levesque - The answer to this was addressed already in other answers but....Yes it will work just fine as long as the wiring and amperage rating of the circuit breakers is up to supplying the total power required by all the heaters. For a 1500W and a 1000W the total power is 2500W. That is equivalent to approximately 11.4A of current so will work just fine with 20A breakers wired with 12AWG wire rated for 20A circuit usage. – Michael Karas Oct 25 '20 at 18:06
  • You are completely right, sorry about that. I'd been browsing for a while, I think I lost track of what webpage contained what information. Thanks! – levesque Oct 26 '20 at 19:04

The cables are in sequence. The wires are in parallel.

The cable will have ground and two hot wires, we'll call them black and red. The "red" wire may be the white wire taped red, or even taped black. Doesn't matter which.

Red and black come from the panel, stop at heater 1, and continue to heater 2.

At heater 2, they terminate with red and black on opposite poles of the heater.

At heater 1, red and black are each tapped. These red and black taps go on opposite poles of the heater.

Don't forget a branch for your thermostat. That must come off the first heater in the chain. It should be 12/3 cable so you have a chance of upgrading to a smart thermostat later. (the third wire isn't neutral, it's always-power for the 'stat). I'm not sure of that's required by Code for 240V heaters, or for Canada, but do it anyway - you'll thank me later :)

You don't want thermostats at the heater, because you want the heat switched based on the room's temperature, not the heater's. Right at the heater is obviously much warmer than the rest of the room. Even a remote thermostat can be thrown off by the heating that occurs inside its wire connections. The cure there is go with a 24V/relay/low voltage system, as a bonus that lets you use modern 'stats like the Nest.


Loads are generally connected in parallel across the 240 Volt mains. The 1500 Watt heater draws 1500/240 = 6.25 Amps and the 2000 Watt heater draws 2000/240 = 8.33 Amps. Together these loads draw 6.25 + 8.33 = 14.58 Amps, which can safely be serviced by a 20 Amp breaker and 12/2 wiring, provided nothing else is connected to this branch circuit. Each heater must also be grounded.

  • I'm pretty visual ... Is there a diagram of such parallel wiring? – Alex Jan 21 '19 at 20:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.