If you want to see a seller’s eyes glaze over, just tell them that the receptacles that have been located over their electric baseboard heaters for 50 years are dangerous. They do not want to hear about either relocating the heaters–or relocating the receptacles.
Even though installing receptacles above baseboard heaters has never been allowed by the manufacturers of these heaters–it was very common in the late 1950’s through the 1960’s. I find numerous installations like this every year.
I am sure that most of the time nothing ever gets done about it–but I continue to tilt at this windmill regardless. Call me Don Quixote, but I will continue to do so.
On a recent inspection I saw dramatic evidence of what can happen to an extension cord that had been run to a receptacle above a baseboard heater.
This must have made quite a smell when it happened! There were even spots on the carpet where the hot cord and sparks melted the carpet!
Do you have receptacles over your heaters? Other combustible items, like furniture and carpet must also be maintained away from these heaters. Doors should not be able to be opened against them either.
A fire hazard is still a fire hazard no matter how long it has been this way or how lucky people have been in the past.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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