As electrical contractors, we feel it is important to provide you with informative tips about running anything electrical in your home. Since the weather has turned to the colder months, many of you have brought the space heater or portable heater out of storage to supplement your comfort. The operation of these devices is perfectly normal and encouraged. However, do not use an extension cord with a space heater. Operating a heater of any kind through the use of an extension cord or power strip is risky and can cause damage to your electrical system and home. Do you want to learn more about why? 

Why can’t you plug a space heater into a power strip?

No matter how heavy duty or “powerful” you believe an extension cord or power strip is, never plug a heater into it. The reason for this is due to the extension cord and power strips’ ability to handle the electric current. Space heaters and other portable heating elements require a larger load or draw of electrical current. This high electrical load is something that extension cords can not handle. The increased load will result in higher temperatures from the cord during operation, so much so, it can even melt the power strip or extension cord. These can also evolve into full-blown fire hazards, and electrical fires are one of the most dangerous types to occur in a home.

As reported here and in Consumer Reports, “Extension cords and strips are not designed to handle the high electric current of a space heater. The heater is too powerful for them and can start a fire or melt them”.

Should I use a space heater for my home?

A space heater is something to provide minimal support of air comfort in a smaller space. No matter the size, a space heater should only be forced to operate for a short period of time or unsupervised. If homeowners do choose to use a space heater for extended periods (such as overnight) it is recommended that the space heater should be in an enclosed room so it does not operate at total output attempting to warm the entire home. This should prevent the heater from overheating electrical systems and possibly slow down the wear of the mini-appliance as well. If your home needs a more quality hearing solution, you should consider working with your local HVAC contractor for furnace installation or heat exchanger. 

Space heater vs. Furnace

A space heater is only intended for small rooms or enclosed spaces. If you are finding your heating and air quality are suffering during the winter, then a space heater might not be the solution. Installing a furnace or ensuring your furnace is operating efficiently will handle the job a space heater can’t do. Not to mention, the amount of electricity and power being used will be addressed better with a furnace rather than a space heater turning on and off over and over.

Add more outlets to your home

To avoid incorrectly powering certain appliances and devices with power strips and extension cords, homeowners should look to improve their home’s electrical service. Having an electrician come to the home and add more wiring and outlets can be a simple improvement. Installing outlets can be done in homes that are older or were not designed with the foresight about the average electricity usage we have daily. Some homes even have space in their circuit breaker to add entirely new electrical service lines throughout the home. Electrical outlets will be the ideal solution for powering devices like space heaters because they are built to withstand extended usage and load. To avoid any hazards to your home this winter, get a free consultation from Obrien Electrical Contractors about adding an electrical outlet today.

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O’Brien Electrical Contractors are your source for all electrical installs and repairs. Call us today at (303) 463-1800 or reach us through our contact form for immediate service!