Latest posts by Stephen Skec (see all)
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Portable Electric Heater Safety Tips
Portable Electric Heaters – Danger
Well winter has arrived and the cold winter snap around the corner with long winter nights and cold winter mornings so the obvious thing to do is bring out the portable heater. Electric heaters work well and worm your feet quickly they are convenient and easy to use so this brings me to the subject of how many space heater’s can you use at once safely.
During the winter months my emergency calls are frequent not just with rain and safety switch tripping another common reason is the use of electric space heaters. There are a number of sizes space heaters come in that you can buy, ranging from 1500 watts up to 3500 watts in energy use just to name a few. So if I do a quick calculation in relation to the watts I have mentioned and convert them to amps the values are 6.25 amps (1500 watts) & 14.5 amps ( 3500 watts) respectfully.
The smaller unit at 6.25 amps is a pretty substantial demand for one electric appliance. So what happens if you use 2 space heaters at 6.25 amps you will have a total load of 12.5 amps, so what you say, well if you look at you general power point socket on the wall you should find a total rating in amps. It can be a little tricky to find and if you have problems finding it I can say for sure that your power point outlet is rated a 10 amps. This can be a real problem if people are using double adapters and extension leads to connect there space heater temporarily.
The reason being is you are exceeding the amps rating on your 10 amp power point then your power point will over heat and possibly catch on fire. My first tip would be never use an adapter or extension lead to connect you portable electric heaters. Secondly plug your space heaters in different power points from each other. Always keep a close check on your electric hater to make sure its working properly, I have found some space heaters when in use, feel the electric cord quite worm especially near the power point it self this is due to resistance, if your living in an older house and have old original power points than the resistance can be more predominant.
The resistance is caused buy poor connection, when you plug you heater in to the power point, the power point clips can be worn and not grab the three pins on the electric plug properly so the only way to over come this is to have an electrician replace you power point with a new one.
My third tip is to never leave the space heater on unattended for long periods of time and to keep your space electric heater’s away from curtains and window furnishings. Other tips include
Always keep heaters at least 1.5 metres away from materials that can burn.
Don’t operate portable heaters in confined places where flammable liquids are stored or kept in open containers.
Don’t use portable heaters on damp floors such as bathrooms and laundries.
Keep heater grilles and vents or reflectors angled upwards from floor coverings and free from dust to improve efficiency and reduce overheating. Vacuum your portable heater’s intakes and vents before and after each winter.
Check that the heater cord and plug are not damaged. If you have any doubts, have them checked by an electrician.
Connect portable heaters directly to a power point. Do not use a double adapter or long extension cord.
If using a short extension cord to connect a portable heater ensure the cord is fully unwound to avoid excessive heat build-up in the cord. Do not use light duty extension cords.
Always supervise children near electric heaters.
Opt for safety heaters with tip-over and overheat protection. Today’s portable heater models include a variety of safety features that help take some of the worry out of operation. A heater equipped with a tip-over switch will automatically shut off if it is tipped over accidentally. This is a useful control to have in any scenario, but it is highly valuable if the heater is used in areas frequented by active children or pets.
You can view this example on how easy space heaters next to clothing can catch on fire
Space heater dangers CFA
Another problem portable space heaters can cause is tripping fuse’s, this can happen if there are too many heaters on the one power circuit. There are no easy solutions other than to find witch power points are on what power fuse circuit’s and try to use your heaters on separate circuits. So take care this winter and enjoy your portable electric space heater.