Electrical Video FAQ – Space Heaters - Woodbridge Electrician

Electrical Video FAQ - Space Heaters

​Transcription of FAQ Video:

It's cold in here. You know, it's starting to get to that time of year where there's a nip in the air. The heater just doesn't quite keep the place as warm as I like it. I think I'm going to use a space heater. Let's see here. Here's my space heater!

I'm going to go ahead and plug this into the wall. Then what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna turn the heat all the way up to max, 'cuz I'm really cold. Then I'm gonna turn the power all the way up to setting three, which is the hottest. That should warm me up pretty quickly. But wait a minute. We actually have, on many occasions, customers who will call us up with problems of losing power in a room of their house. They'll notice flickering lights. They may even smell smoke that's attached to this.

Now, of course, this is a little bit of a dramatization here. But I really wanted to stress space heaters because many of us use them. I use one in my office so when I'm typing, my hands don't get cold. So this is something that a lot of people use. Now the problem, though, is that space heaters can draw anywhere from 1200 to 1800 watts, depending on how powerful they are. The circuits in your house, the ones that are in your family room, your living room, your den, are only rated at 15 amps. That means that these circuits are only designed to handle up to about 1480 watts, OK?Now the problem is, when you plug something in that's going to pull 1500 to 1800 watts, you are pulling the maximum amount of electricity through that circuit at a steady state. Now what that's tantamount to is, imagine getting into your car and starting the engine and then just stomping on the gas and keeping your foot to the floor the entire time when you're driving. Well, you're going to burn that car out pretty quickly now, aren't you?

It's the same thing with your electrical system. If you are using it at its capacity for hours on end, you're going to have breaks. Again, these are breaks where you can possibly lose power. You can have flickering lights. You can possibly even have a fire. So here's some pointers to go ahead and avoid running into those situations, and to use your space heater carefully and safely.

Ideally, the best thing you want to do is to find out where you'll run your space heater and then install a dedicated 20-amp circuit for that location. This will allow you to run the space heater at its maximum capacity for as long as you are in that room, and next to it. That's ideal.

Now, of course, not everybody wants to go ahead and spend the money on something like a circuit for an appliance that you're only going to use for part of the year. In that case, my best suggestion is to use your space heater, but do you remember when I had this, there are different power settings on it? Well, many of these heaters you can toggle between full power and half-power. So maybe you can run it at 1500 watts or you can opt to run it at 750 watts. If you run it at the half -power setting, say right around 750 watts, that's well within the capacity of the circuit that you're running it on and it's not going to overload the circuit. It's also going to help that circuit last longer without having, again, loose connections, flickered lights smoking, all that kind of thing.

So if you are considering using a space heater or if you already do use a space heater, go ahead and take those precautions. If you have any questions, please give us a call. If you see any flickering lights or if the power went out in a room or if you smell smoke, please give us a call. I'm Bill Root with Root Electric. We keep you grounded.

You know, I just wrapped up a video on space heaters and I realize that I forgot to tell you something else very important. If you're running something like a space heater or if you're noticing that your electrical system, if you lost power in it or if your lights are flickering, go ahead and give us a call.

But if you do smell smoke, call the fire department. Let them come over and take a look at it. They're set up to respond quickly to deal with a fire, OK? Even if it's just at the smoking stage, call the fire department first. But if you determine that there is no fire, please give us a call. We'll be more than happy to come out and advise you. Again, I'm Bill Root with Root Electric. Thank you for watching.

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About the Author

During my tenure at Root Electric, I lead the transition of Root Electric from a primarily sub-contracting based business model to a prime-contracting based business model. Accomplishments have been made by developing a team based approach to researching and implementing a service-specific client management system. My goals for the next five years are to fine tune Root Electric's brand strategy and to diversify its scope of services, while remaining true to the discipline of electrical work.