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Why Space Heaters Can Cause Electrical Outlet Problems

What has caused several outlets to stop working? How to Identify Potential Outlet Wiring Problems where Space Heaters are Used, Fix Electric Outlet Problems Caused by Portable Space Heaters.

Electric Outlets Not Working
Electrical Question#1: What has caused several outlets to stop working?

This electrical troubleshooting question came from: Bob, a Contractor in Massachusetts.
Additional Comments: GREAT!

Electrical Question#2: I had a breaker trip which was obviously caused by trying to use 2 space heaters on the same circuit.

This electrical wiring question came from Billy, a Handyman in Ochelata, Oklahoma.

Portable Electric Heaters and Outlet Problems

Application: Electrical Safety a Wall Outlet.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Electrical Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester, and appropriate Safety Gear.
Estimated Time: Depends on the personal level experience, ability to work with tools, install electrical circuit wiring, and the available access to the project area.
Electrical Safety: Identify the electrical power source to the Wall Outlet, turn it OFF and Tag with a Note before working with the electrical wiring.
Electrical Wiring Parts and Materials: Electrical parts and materials for the Wall Outlet should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections: Installing or changing home electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes as adopted in Oklahoma. A permit and inspections may also be required.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electric wiring question Bob and Billy.

How to Fix Electric Outlet Problems Caused by Portable Space Heaters

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Why Space Heaters Can Cause Electrical Outlet Problems”
  1. Mark says:

    I have an electric wall heater used to keep a water pump house from freezing in the winter where temperatures drop to -20F. I came back one day after a cold snap and the plastic heater grill was melted and the heater did not function. We may have had a power outage during the time I was away. If the heater is running, the power goes out and the fan stops, what keeps the heater from over heating and causing a fire? Are there protection measures built in or that I can take to prevent overheating during a power outage?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Mark,
      Heaters typically have temperature sensors installed to prevent the unit from overheating when installed and used according to the manufacturers specifications. From what you have described the existing heater may not be the right choice for this application. In my location we get freezing temps as well so you may want to consider the following:
      Install temperature regulated electric pipe wrap for the pipes and cover the hose bib with an insulated cover.
      Disconnect the hose and drain the water out to prevent freezing water and a clogged hose.
      In some cases, if self regulated heat tape is used on the the pipes, and an insulated enclosure is built or placed over the hose rack then the unit may not freeze.
      I hope this helps,
      Dave

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