help me solve my baseboard heater mystery.

Hello All, now that my girlfriend and I are homeowners, we're starting to run into some mysteries/problems.
So we've been in the house for a little over 2 weeks now, mostly been painting/cleaning etc. Up until about 3 days ago, ALL our heaters were working perfectly, however, now 4 of them have stopped working altogether.
The information:
The 4 heaters are all listed on the same circuit on the breaker panel - well its two switches on the panel, connected by a small metal piece, such that they flip on and off together. Both switches say 20 on them (im assuming this stands for 20amps).
2 of these heaters are on the first floor, 2 are on the second floor:
2 of the heaters are standard baseboard heater types, one is longer than the other (largest on main, smaller in half bath on second floor).
1 of the heaters is a ConvectAir (on 2nd floor) - appears newer than the others (side note: I originally discovered the problem because I noticed the red power light on this heater had gone off)
The last heater is something I've never seen before. Its called a "Chromalux" , its basically a heating coil with a fan to blow the air around (this is in our bathroom - first floor). This looks old and I would like to replace it with a newer heater, but for now I would just like to get some heat in there again.
The Questions:
so question #1: I pried off the front of the two baseboard heaters, and under CSA Approved stamp it lists it as 277volts and 17amps. I thought heaters only used 110 or 220volts?
question #2: I used a multimeter on both the baseboard heaters and the chromalux, where the voltage fluctuated between 109 and 112ish. Because I was seeing a voltage, does this mean that the breaker in the panel is functioning okay? I thought it a little odd that all 4 of these heaters which stopped working were located on the same circuit but the breaker did not appear to have tripped.
question 3: all though the two baseboard heaters have a voltage going to them, there is no power light on the convectair heater, what do you suppose that means?
I know I'll eventually call an electrician if this can't be figured out, but I wouldn't mind getting my hands a little dirty first, I'm enjoying learning about all the odds and ends of being a homeowner.
question #4: assuming worst case scenario that all 4 have to be replaced, what should I budget for?
thanks for all your input in advance,
cheers,
- Charlie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The 277 volt heaters could have been a leftover from some 3 phase applications that are normally used in large plants that have 480 volt 3 phase in use. They may work ok on 230 volts with a slightly reduced power level and heat output.
How are you measuring the 120 volts ? Sounds like you are going from the ground to the heater wires. You should be going across the heater terminals.
I would guess that either one of the braker sides tripped or you have a bad connection somewhere. Cut the braker off and back on to see if one of them may have tripped.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There is no way that several heaters went bad simultaneously. The common denominator is the power source. I too, believe there is a problem with one leg of the 240 volt feed. Open the panel, and using a multi meter test across the two terminals of the circuit breaker. If you get no reading, you have a bad breaker. If you get a 240 volt reading, you need to look for an open circuit in one of the thermostat junction boxes
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charlie wrote:

try flipping the dual breaker OFF - wait a minute - and then ON. one could have tripped and the other is still set. this happens sometimes when the link between the handles is worn out.
--


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

How do I go about checking the breaker itself with my multimeter? I assume I have to unscrew the cover to get at the wires underneath?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Yes, you do and if your not comfortable working in a live panel, DON'T
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I tested the voltage on my breaker, it was 110 on one wire (to ground), 110 on the other wire to ground, but 0 in between both wires.
When I tested on a working breaker on the other side of the board, it was again 110, and 110, but 220 between them.
Does this mean the breaker should be replaced?
cheers,
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Probably it is bad and needs replacing. One more check to confirm this is to check across the breakers. Using a voltmeter, they sould read zero. If you are still getting 110 on each one , then you should get zero volts across them (well maybe one or two volts may show up on some meters) when they are on. If one has 110 across it, then it is bad and should be replaced.
If this was a new instalation and not one that had been working, then it may have been both brakers hooked to the same 'phase' instead of one to one phase and the other breaker hooked to the other phase.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Yes, one leg isn't passing current. You should get 240 volts, like you did on the other side
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.