It’s that time of year again where everyone is turning on their heat or often here in Tuscaloosa just pulling out the electric space heaters. Today space heaters are made with all kinds of safety features which has increased the amount purchased and used each year. They are especially popular in places where it doesn’t get as cold even during those winter months. The problem is sometimes the safety hazard isn’t with the heater itself but with what is being used to power the heater. Here are some things to keep in mind this winter when pulling out those heaters.
There are multiple circuits running throughout your home. Some circuits called dedicated circuits have one outlet they power and one outlet only, however, most circuits power multiple outlets. The reason breakers trip in your home is because the circuit is being overloaded. Most small appliances even when plugged into the same circuit don’t pull enough amps to overload a circuit. Space heaters are a little different. On high a space heater on average will draw around 12.5 amps. Most bedroom and living room circuits are designed to power 15 amps. If a space heater is pulling 12.5 amps plugging in one or two small appliances on the same circuit can easily be too much. Often people don’t know which outlets are sharing a circuit. So, you may plug a space heater into an outlet that is working properly however it is on the same circuit as a faulty outlet and now the amount of power being pulled through that circuit is traveling through the faulty outlet which can cause smoke damage, melted wires or outlets or an actual fire.
Outlets installed several years ago were installed with a stab in outlets which means there is basically a small piece of sheet metal between the current and the outlet. Over time that piece of metal wears out and becomes a safety hazard hence what we are referring to as a faulty outlet. Also, remember extension cords should never be used with space heaters. Most extension cords are not designed to handle high current loads and can be a fire hazard. Space heaters should be plugged in directly to a safe 120-volt wall outlet. You still want to monitor the temperature of the outlet and if it feels warm unplug the space heater immediately.
Noticed a problem, not sure what you are looking for or just want peace of mind, call Premier Service Company, Inc., your best of the best choice for an electrician in Tuscaloosa. Ask about our annual electrical safety inspection or our comfort club program.