Heating up (the guest room)

Our latest house project was adding a thermostat and heater to the guest bedroom, which is in the basement and gets pretty chilly in the winter.

There were wires left in the wall from a previous heater that the electricians discovered during their work before we moved in. They put in a 240V circuit to supply those wires, and left them in a junction box in the wall. They had actually run another wire up through the ceiling from that junction box to another one on the other side of the room, where we thought we might actually install the heater, but we did that before we had really laid out the furniture, and it turns out to be in a bad location.

After much searching for a silent, powerful heater – I was hoping there was a 2000W mica panel heater that might fit the bill – we settled on the Home Depot special: a 2000W, 240V ComPak in-wall heater from Cadet. We got one without a built-in thermostat so we could have a thermostat mounted in the junction box, at a more reasonable height. We had to special order a double-pole thermostat because the single-pole ones apparently don’t actually turn completely off, and most of the time the room is unoccupied. (Note that these kinds of heaters require a thermostat that actually switches the line voltage on/off, rather than a typical HVAC system which just uses a low voltage signal to tell your furnace/AC unit to turn on.)

So we followed the instructions, marked out a location for the heater on the drywall, and got cutting.


The right side of the opening is up against a stud, and the junction box (visible in the top left of the above photo) is actually in the next stud bay over. So we had to drill a hole in the intervening stud and route some wires from the box to the heater location.

As Dina accurately put it: if you need to manipulate things in a tight space where you can’t see, ask an Ob/Gyn for help! Indeed, she was up to the task.


From there, we wired up the thermostat and the heater, per instructions, and we were in business!


It’s now warm & cozy in the guest bedroom, so come and visit us, any time of year!