Did You Know That Your Space Heater Is An Energy Waster?

As an electrician serving the Denver area, Peterson Electric, LLC, has seen many different kinds of space heaters plugged into the outlets. Today, there are so many different varieties from a plugged-in fireplace to a wall mounted fireplace, an oil heater, a fan and element heater…You purchase a heater and you just plug it into the wall, right? Is it that simple? Not the case! On the box, it should state a caution to the customer, read your manual. Are wanting more heat in your home, be careful?

Caution, Watch Out!

Why caution? Well, as an electrician’s wife, I would have never thought anything about it either, but I have learned different. During winter, Peterson Electric, LLC receives several service calls that are related to the problem created by customers using these heaters.

Why Is There A Problem With My Space Heater?

These heaters are usually 1,500 watts. That is a lot of watts! Guess what that means? It should be on a dedicated circuit by itself. Typically when you buy a heater you should read your instructions on these appliances. These heaters plugged into existing circuits that are sharing the power creates problems with your electrical.

What Are The Symptoms Of The Electrical Problem Caused By A Space Heater?

The electrical problems can be overheating wires, melting insulation, shorting out the circuit, create a dead short or ground fault and most of all it creates an over current problem. Your breakers are suppose to catch these problems. At times your panel, FPE, Zinsco, Gould, Bulldog, Intermatic Push Button, fuses and older GE split buss bar, do not catch the problem. These breakers designs have lost their U.L. listing or over time lost their sensitivity to sense electrical problem due to age and usage.

The other thing you want to keep in mind is the thermostat on the heater or the on or off switch can become inefficient or loose its integrity to operate correctly.  If the cord gets ever pitched in the door or shredded, you should hire an electrician to rewire it or throw it away and buy a new heater. This can cause a short out.

Keep in mind, that you can be limited to the location of the outlet causing you to run extension cords and this can cause a hazard as well. The extension cord is usually wired with a small gauge, it will heat up and melt. If you are trying to evaluate dollars for dollars, a 4 foot up to 12 foot baseboard heater can be a better solution watt to watt. It produces higher heater and are more efficient.

An Example Of Improper Usage Of A Space Heater

Imagine driving up I-70 in a half ton pick and you are trying to haul 8,000 pounds or more with a 5.3 liter V8 engine. You are putting too much load or pressure on this engine that is not designed for this kind of tolling. If you not have a transmission or a motor warning light, it could blow either one. This is comparing the wattage on a heater. This is the same in the electrical field, too much wattage load on the circuit can cause a melt down. The one thing you have to keep in mind with an sort of resistive heater is that it will stay on and keep heating until it is satisfied.  If you leave a window open or there is a draft, that heater may never turn off. Basically, it acts like a slow bake. Imagine cooking a pizza and leaving the door cracked and never cooking the pizza correctly.

What Are The Solutions To Still Keep My Space Heater?

If you know you have a dedicated circuit, then plug directly the heater into it. If you have to use extension cords make sure you have the proper one with higher gauge. If you do not want to do, then give us a call. As and electrical contractor, call Peterson Electric, LLC  we would be happy to assist you with any electrical problem whether you are in Denver or surrounding cities like Longmont, Loveland or Fort Collins.