Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-25-2012, 12:48 PM
FloatyGimpy FloatyGimpy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,170
Will I die if I touch this thing on the heater?

I live in an apartment and have baseboard heaters that are heated by hot water running through them. At the bottom of the heaters are long, brass (I think) bars that run the length of the heaters. One bar has slipped out of the brackets that hold it up and so now it's sitting on the carpet.

Can I lift it back into its spot or will I end up electrocuted?
  #2  
Old 03-25-2012, 12:56 PM
dolphinboy dolphinboy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Bigfork, Montana
Posts: 4,160
I doubt it, but why take a chance? Flip the breaker for the heater and move it to your heart's content.
  #3  
Old 03-25-2012, 12:57 PM
FloatyGimpy FloatyGimpy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,170
Quote:
Originally Posted by dolphinboy View Post
I doubt it, but why take a chance? Flip the breaker for the heater and move it to your heart's content.
Yeah, I guess I could do that
  #4  
Old 03-25-2012, 01:41 PM
beowulff beowulff is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Scottsdale, more-or-less
Posts: 14,964
How can you get electrocuted by hot water?
  #5  
Old 03-25-2012, 01:42 PM
hermann hermann is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: on the right side
Posts: 562
Personally, I think that one of the benefits of living in an apartment is letting management deal with things like that.
  #6  
Old 03-25-2012, 01:46 PM
congodwarf congodwarf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 5,255
Some baseboard heaters have just the heating element some others have the heating element and the return pipe. What you're looking at is probably the return pipe so it's unlikely that it will electrocute you.
  #7  
Old 03-25-2012, 01:50 PM
Covered_In_Bees! Covered_In_Bees! is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,566
Well it's been an hour, I think it's safe to assume our dear FloatyGimpy is no longer with us. Who's going to be the first to say some words about him?
  #8  
Old 03-25-2012, 02:02 PM
FloatyGimpy FloatyGimpy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Covered_In_Bees! View Post
Well it's been an hour, I think it's safe to assume our dear FloatyGimpy is no longer with us. Who's going to be the first to say some words about him?
I didn't do it yet. I have to move the budgie cages away from the heater first so I can get in behind there and I'm still in my pajamas eating a bowl of cereal.

So not dead, just lazy.
  #9  
Old 03-25-2012, 03:35 PM
Fir na tine Fir na tine is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Maine
Posts: 1,110
It sounds like you are describing a hot water baseboard as opposed to an electric baseboard. IF that is correct, just lift up the pipe and replace it in the holding bracket.

If it's electric, call the landlord unless you know with absolute dead certainty how to kill the power.
  #10  
Old 03-25-2012, 04:00 PM
Dag Otto Dag Otto is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Las Cruces
Posts: 4,917
Can you post a photo?
  #11  
Old 03-25-2012, 04:01 PM
FloatyGimpy FloatyGimpy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dag Otto View Post
Can you post a photo?
Yeah sure I'll take one right now. I'll post it in a minute.
  #12  
Old 03-25-2012, 04:08 PM
FloatyGimpy FloatyGimpy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,170
Picture:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/5682155...in/photostream
  #13  
Old 03-25-2012, 04:35 PM
Švejk Švejk is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,564
Gimpy died, like so many young men of this generation, before his time - like the bright, flowering young men who died, face down in the muck, in Khe San and Hill 364. Gimpy, who loved to bowl. In Your wisdom, Lord, You took him from us.

And so, Floaty Gimpy Karabatsos, in accordance with what may very well have been his dying wishes, we commit his ashes to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well.

Good night, sweet Gimp

Last edited by Švejk; 03-25-2012 at 04:39 PM.
  #14  
Old 03-25-2012, 04:47 PM
Dag Otto Dag Otto is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Las Cruces
Posts: 4,917
It looks like just a water pipe, so yeah, you can move it.

Usually pipes like that don't move without a leak though - the pipe is rigid. I'm not sure what was supposed to be holding it.
  #15  
Old 03-25-2012, 05:13 PM
Washoe Washoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Simi Valley, CA
Posts: 3,377
Quote:
Originally Posted by Švejk View Post
And so, Floaty Gimpy Karabatsos, in accordance with what may very well have been his dying wishes, we commit his ashes to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well.
Actually, I think he's just pining for the fjords.

Last edited by Washoe; 03-25-2012 at 05:14 PM.
  #16  
Old 03-25-2012, 05:41 PM
FloatyGimpy FloatyGimpy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Švejk View Post
Gimpy died, like so many young men of this generation, before his time - like the bright, flowering young men who died, face down in the muck, in Khe San and Hill 364. Gimpy, who loved to bowl. In Your wisdom, Lord, You took him from us.

And so, Floaty Gimpy Karabatsos, in accordance with what may very well have been his dying wishes, we commit his ashes to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well.

Good night, sweet Gimp
*sniff*
  #17  
Old 03-25-2012, 06:52 PM
Napier Napier is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 8,863
Well, OK, I'm baffled by the photo. I see a copper (not brass) pipe, and some kind of heat transfer fins on something partly hidden above it, and some wires.

I think baseboard heat sources would be either hot water, or electrical, but not both. That pipe is not the thing releasing heat into the room; whatever has fins on it just above is what releases the heat into the room. I guess there could be copper pipes going both ways, the upper one with fins to release the heat and the lower one to bring the water back so that (for whatever reason) the plumbing enters and leaves the scene in two adjacent locations.

The wire is baffling, if it is serving an electrical function. But you're not going to have loose wires like that in any typical heater. Could the wires have been placed there for a mechanical purpose, such as to hold up the non-finned copper pipe? Maybe they fell apart and dropped the pipe and became visible for that reason?

In any case, if it were in my house, I think I would look at the ends to try to figure out what is connected to what, and fiddle with the wires to see if they are just there as a tie, but unless I saw something surprising I would feel free to grab the copper pipe (just poking it once first to see if it was hot enough to burn).
  #18  
Old 03-25-2012, 07:05 PM
pynipple pynipple is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 6
I really need some closure on this one - it seems like I've been watching it forever

the wire could easily be a thermocouple or temperature sensor - or it could go to a solenoid that 'turns on' the hot water flow for that baseboard based on signal from a thermostat

that pipe is there because when they installed it, one of the plumbers had that left over from something he recently installed and couldn't think of any good use for it, so he just tucked it under the baseboard hoping that by the time anyone found it, he would only be a faint, vague memory

Last edited by pynipple; 03-25-2012 at 07:08 PM.
  #19  
Old 03-25-2012, 07:09 PM
FloatyGimpy FloatyGimpy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,170
Ok, I'm going to touch the pipe.

I touched it. I didn't die, it is quite hot. I guess I should turn the heat off so it cools down, then lift it back into the brackets?

Last edited by FloatyGimpy; 03-25-2012 at 07:11 PM.
  #20  
Old 03-25-2012, 07:12 PM
not what you'd expect not what you'd expect is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: city of gold
Posts: 4,325
You're scaring me man.
  #21  
Old 03-25-2012, 07:51 PM
pynipple pynipple is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 6
wrap your hand in a towel soaked in cold water before you touch any of that stuff - in case it's hot or anything, you know?

I don't think it would be inappropriate for you to call the police about this one - I'd say there is a suspicious looking pipe in your house that you've never seen before, and that there are wires coming out of it and that it is getting hot ... that should get someone over there with some experience to look at it for free

Last edited by pynipple; 03-25-2012 at 07:53 PM.
  #22  
Old 03-25-2012, 08:07 PM
FloatyGimpy FloatyGimpy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,170
Quote:
Originally Posted by pynipple View Post
wrap your hand in a towel soaked in cold water before you touch any of that stuff - in case it's hot or anything, you know?

I don't think it would be inappropriate for you to call the police about this one - I'd say there is a suspicious looking pipe in your house that you've never seen before, and that there are wires coming out of it and that it is getting hot ... that should get someone over there with some experience to look at it for free
No it's been there for the few months that I've lived here. I just didn't really pay much attention to it before.
  #23  
Old 03-25-2012, 08:26 PM
pynipple pynipple is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 6
do you live in new york or a big city in a large apartment building or a small one?
  #24  
Old 03-25-2012, 08:46 PM
FloatyGimpy FloatyGimpy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,170
It's a pretty small building with 21 units.
  #25  
Old 03-25-2012, 09:27 PM
jasg jasg is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Upper left hand corner
Posts: 4,489
It has been a long time since I had heat like that, but usually the metal cover can be removed (for cleaning of the fins). Quite easily in some installations, it just snaps off when you lift it out and up from the bottom edge.

That might give a clear look at what is wrong and what the wires are.

Or, just call the super. Clearly the return pipe is loose and that could make it leak - supers don't like that (and the calls from the downstairs tenants).

Last edited by jasg; 03-25-2012 at 09:28 PM.
  #26  
Old 03-26-2012, 01:37 PM
J-P L J-P L is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 600
That looks like the kind of hot-water baseboard heater we had when I was living in a high-rise condo building.

The wire is probably part of the heat control, a thermostat controls a valve that opens and closes as needed to regulate the temperature of the living space.
  #27  
Old 03-26-2012, 01:52 PM
BubbaDog BubbaDog is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: KC MO or there abouts
Posts: 5,475
Quote:
Originally Posted by Švejk View Post
Gimpy died, like so many young men of this generation, before his time - like the bright, flowering young men who died, face down in the muck, in Khe San and Hill 364. Gimpy, who loved to bowl. In Your wisdom, Lord, You took him from us.

And so, Floaty Gimpy Karabatsos, in accordance with what may very well have been his dying wishes, we commit his ashes to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well.

Good night, sweet Gimp
What does any of this have to do with Viet Nam?
  #28  
Old 03-26-2012, 02:01 PM
Nunzio Tavulari Nunzio Tavulari is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Randleman, NC
Posts: 1,375
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaDog View Post
What does any of this have to do with Viet Nam?
I know, right? It's clearly Obama's fault.
  #29  
Old 03-26-2012, 02:10 PM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Texas... Need I say more?
Posts: 2,042
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaDog View Post
What does any of this have to do with Viet Nam?
Not a damn thing. It's a reference to the movie "The Big Lebowski".

"You're out of your element, Donny!"
__________________
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)

Last edited by JBDivmstr; 03-26-2012 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Movie quote.
  #30  
Old 03-26-2012, 02:15 PM
zoid zoid is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Chicago Il
Posts: 9,466
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dag Otto View Post
Can you post a photo?
You just want to see him in his PJs, admit it.
  #31  
Old 03-26-2012, 02:28 PM
BubbaDog BubbaDog is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: KC MO or there abouts
Posts: 5,475
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBDivmstr View Post
Not a damn thing. It's a reference to the movie "The Big Lebowski".

"You're out of your element, Donny!"
So was my response.
It's the first non cussing thing JL says after Walter's Eulogy.

That sound over your head?

Last edited by BubbaDog; 03-26-2012 at 02:30 PM.
  #32  
Old 03-26-2012, 02:34 PM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Texas... Need I say more?
Posts: 2,042
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaDog View Post
So was my response.
It's the first non cussing thing JL says after Walter's Eulogy.

That sound over your head?
Touche', sir!
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:01 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017