The fix to a broken heater

In one room of our house, which was an addition to the main house, we have an electric, in-wall heater. We never really cared about using it as we haven’t had guests in the winter. Well this morning I turned it on to see what would happen as my in-laws are coming for Thanksgiving. The heater turned on for about 30 seconds and then shut off. I fiddled with the knob and it worked for another 30 seconds. So, being the good engineer I am, I shut off the circuit breaker, and disassembled it so that I can get the parts tomorrow. I had the main piece (the thermostat) on the counter (it’s a 30 year old heater, so it is pretty simple) and explained to my wife how it works. See tells me to try moving the thermocouple away from the heater (it was sitting in front of the heating element). I didn’t really think it would make a difference, but said OK, put it back together, moved the thermocouple, turned on the circuit breaker and gave it a whirl. Well, it worked and the room started heating up (slowly, but surely). I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that “fix” as I’m an engineer and knew exactly how the system worked. So simple and my wife proved that it doesn’t take an engineer to solve a problem.

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