Space Heaters, Air Conditioners and Electrical Outlets
The Problem of Sharing Outlet Circuits with Space Heaters: Can I plug a heater into an existing outlet? Space Heater Electrical Circuits.© By: Dave Rongey
The Risk of Shared Electrical Circuits
Electrical Question: Can I plug a heater into an existing outlet?
- I have an air condition quality outlet in my living room and no other outlets.
- I have successfully run my computer set up with a CPU, Printer, wireless router,lamp, and air conditioner for years on this outlet via using a Surge Plug Strip.
- My air conditioner is 5,000 BTU, 60Hz 120 V.
- I wish to unplug my air conditioner and plug in an Eden Pure infrared heater in its place.
- The Eden Pure is 1500 watts, 120 Volt, 60Hz 5,ooo BTU.
- The manufacturer web page says the heater must have it’s own outlet and not to plug into a surge strip.
- Can you tell me if I can successfully plug in the heater into my combination?
I am also considering a Sun Aire Heater. What do you think? Thanks.
This electrical wiring question came from: Michael in New York.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Michael.
The Problem of Sharing Circuits with Space Heaters
Application: Electrical Wiring for an Electrical Heater Circuit.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced -Best performed by a licensed electrician..
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and tools essential for installing electrical wiring.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools, access to the circuit wiring and project area, and experience working with electric circuit wiring.
Notice: Modifying or installing additional electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Space Heater or Air Conditioner Electrical Circuits
- Identify the Space Heater or Air Conditioner Electrical Circuit Requirements
- I always take the manufacturers instructions seriously because no one knows their product better.
- The infrared heater will create a power surge every time it cycles on and due to the 1500 watt load it will create heat at the connection with the outlet receptacle. After all, that unit will be pulling over 12 amps all by itself.
- Required Watts and the Electrical Circuit
- Your air conditioner load is 1465 watts or over 12 amps as well. Not knowing if your existing air conditioner circuit is 15 or 20 amps you will definitely be taking a risk plugging your computer equipment into a shared circuit, especially with this heater or your air conditioner.
- If the circuit is 20 amps then you do have a little extra capacity, but you are still taking a chance.
- Surge Plug Strips and Power Conditioners
- The surge protection that you have may will definitely help condition the power, however it cannot do anything about line loss or voltage drop which is experienced on that individual circuit if the circuit is too small for all of the electrical appliances.
- NOTE: As indicated above, most large appliances should not be plugged into a surge strip. Surge plug strips are best used to protect sensitive electronic devices.
- Adding a Dedicated Circuit
- Based upon the information about the equipment in this question, my recommendation is to have a dedicated circuit installed that can be used for the heater in the winter and the air conditioner in the summer.
More about Wiring Electrical Circuits
- Wiring Electrical Outlet for the Home
- Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.
- Electrical Wire for the Home
- Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
For more information about Circuit Breaker
- Circuit Breaker
- A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.
Electrical Codes for Circuits
The following may also be helpful for you:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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