Painting baseboard heater/relay failure

I have a 240V electric baseboard heater (70's vintage?) controlled with a low voltage (24 VAC) thermostat. The heater has a Honeywell transformer/relay mounted at one end which supplies the low voltage to the thermostat circuit and has a heater-resistor/bimetal relay to energize the heating element when the thermostat demands heat, i.e. completes the low voltage circuit.
I just painted the outside surface of the heater with a latex wall paint. The next day the transformer/relay failed, taking the thermostat with it. This transformer had been buzzing off and on for the last several months and may be about thirty years old. So the question is: was this transformer/relay about to go anyway and the jostling round in pulling the heater away from the wall to paint, etc., sent it over the edge, or did painting the outside surface change the heat dissappation characteristics enough to overheat the transformer and cause it to fail? While in theory the paint would insulate a little and change the emissivity, I'm having a hard time believing it would have that much of an effect.
Any electrician/HVAC folks out there familiar with these transformer/relay systems and know the typical failure modes--with or without the paint factor? Do these things tend to fail the way this one did (wiping out the thermostat, too) without homeowner intervention? I have another heater I haven't painted yet and would like to avoid another failure--if the paint had anything to do with it. TIA.
Denny
Dennis M. Straussfogel, Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering Consultant
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I painted some of mine with krylon spray paint and no problems. Unless you dripped globs and globs of paint into the relay housing, and onto exposed contacts, I'd say it was just the jostling and pulling that worked the 30 year old connections apart.
A coat of paint MIGHT change the thermal dissipation a degree or two- but not induce failure.
Tom

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It didnt, and you answered your own question.

Paint didnt have a thing to do with it...not replacing the transformer several months ago when it started to let you know did.

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