Having a electric space heater that keeps tripping the breaker is an exasperating problem.
Only this past winter my wife told me that the electricity going to her office at work keeps blowing and she’s losing her computer progress every time it happens.
When they finally figured out the problem, it turned out that she had put a space heater on her feet… Which seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do if your feet are getting cold sitting at your desk all day.
But the problem was, it was plugged in on the same power strip as her computer, her printer, her coffee machine and her microwave.
Funny but not uncommon.
Space heater keeps tripping the breaker
When your electric space heater keep stripping the breaker, you can generally be narrowed down to two or three things that you can easily check out for yourself.
It’s combined with other appliances on the same circuit.
Space heaters use a lot of Watts. Almost every brand of space heater you can purchase is a 1500 watt unit.
That means that they cannot run on high at the same time as any other appliance or machine on the same plug is running at all.
Not only do they use a lot of energy, most of them surge when they come on.
Taking the heater off the combined outlet and plugging it in to its own dedicated outlet could be the solution you’re needing.
2. Heater going bad
Considering the amount of wattage, the typical space heater uses, if the heater has any loose connections, you can expect that it is simply getting too hot.
Things you can check:
- Turn the heater down and run it on a lower temperature. If you’re still blowing the breaker, then your heater is malfunctioning.
- Feel of the cord running to the wall while it is running. If it is getting hot. Your machine is malfunctioning.
- Look at the outlet. If the plug looks melted or burned in any way, your heater it’s not working right.
If you have any of these issues, it’s time to get a new heater.
3. Extension cord
Since space heaters are a household item, most people do not give a second thought to plugging them into a extension cord to locate them to their most convenient spot.
The problem is not all extension cords
are rated to be able to handle the amount of wattage coming from a space heater.
If you have a space heater on a extension cord, you should be thankful that the breaker is blowing rather than the extension cord melting and catching a fire.
Though definitely not as convenient, putting the heater on a dedicated outlet without the use of a extension cord or power strip is the safest way to go.
4. The breaker itself
Breakers weaken and go out. Hello this is usually not the case, it is not impossible that the breaker itself needs to be switched out.
The easiest way to tell if this is the case or not is the plug the heater into another outlet in another room, and see if you’re still blowing the breaker.
Hopefully this helps to get you back to a safely running space heater or at least let you know that it’s time to replace it.
The main issue is that people rarely think about how many amps a electric space heater pulls. They tend to be viewed as an everyday item like any other appliance that you just plug in and go.
Unfortunately that is not the case with space heaters and though most people realize that you would have to put a washing machine or refrigerator on its own dedicated circuit, the same kind of consideration is not given to electric heaters.
In case you’re wondering, they decided to go with oil-filled heaters in my wife’s offices because of the surge and demand that the little electric space heaters were putting on their load.