Heaters are such a blessing in winters when you want your room to be cozy. They are small but can warm a room quickly. Most people like them because of their size and portability. However, like many other electrical appliances, they can be harmful to you or your house if you don’t handle them with care.
When you plug in more than one space heater in the same circuit, it can blow the fuse. The reason behind this is that the wires and connections start to heat up due to the overload, which trips the circuit. A blown fuse can leave a devastating effect on your home, so there is a constant need to take extra care while using space heaters.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year, about 25,000 house fires and 300 deaths occur due to space heaters. Furthermore, around 6,000 people are sent to the ER due to burns received from the hot surface of a heater. These incidents can happen due to a lack of awareness as some people show carelessness while the heater is on and place it near flammable objects.
Electric Heater keeps Blowing Fuse
There are some steps you can take to prevent your space heater from blowing a fuse.
Check the Wires of the Heater
Before using a space heater, check if it has any cuts, exposed wires or any other damage. If you observe such an issue, make sure to find a solution for it before using it. Do not ignore even small damages or else it can lead to significant problems.
Unplug Appliances When Not in Use
Make sure you unplug any appliances which are not in use as it will reduce the load on the circuit. The current passes through devices when they are plugged in, even when they are not turned on. Thus, check all appliances like your coffee maker and vacuum cleaner to make sure they are unplugged when not in use.
Install Protective Devices
Space heaters can be very dangerous. If you can’t observe any smoke or sense the smell of the heated wires, which is extremely likely to happen at night, you won’t be able to prevent anything severe. To avoid such a situation, you should install protective devices such as smoke sensors in the rooms. These alarms can help you tackle the problem timely and avoid any severe damages.
Add a New Outlet
To avoid overload on the circuits, check your existing circuits and how the load is distributed. If you require, add a new outlet for the space heater so that it won’t cause excessive pressure on other circuits and other electrical appliances will work properly without any damage.
Avoid Using Extension Cords
You are not supposed to use extension cords for space heaters as many are not designed for such a load. They can quickly become hot and cause a fire.
Inspect the Wiring of the House
Before the winter season, you must contact your local electrician to inspect the wiring of your house. If it has not been done correctly, there is a higher chance of the circuit breaker tripping. A professional can tell you if you need to improve the wiring.
Safety Features of the Heater
You should try to buy a space heater which has the following safety features:
Most modern heaters come with an automatic shut-off feature. Whenever they sense overheating through the smart sensor, the heaters are shut down. Some also have a tip-over switch.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Plug
This plug prevents electric shocks, so you should look for this feature when buying a space heater. A heater without a GFCI plug should not be used near water.
Most heaters include safety labels from different organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories, ETL certificated by Intertek and specific certifications from CSA International. When buying a new heater, check for such certifications to make sure the unit you are purchasing is safe to use.
As mentioned above, you should not use extension cords for space heaters. The heater should already come with a long, sturdy cord that will be able to bear the load.
Additional Safety Tips
Most of the possible measures that you can take to prevent a space heater from blowing a fuse or tripping the circuit breaker have been mentioned above. There are a few more safety tips that you should keep in mind, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Where you put the heater matters. You need to place it on a level surface. Also, keep it away from any flammable surfaces such as furniture or curtains so that it will not be a fire hazard. Keep a distance of at least three feet from such material. If possible, just avoid using a heater in a place with highly flammable things such as your basement, garage or workshop.
A space heater should not be placed in a child’s room. If you need one there, you should make an enclosure for it, which would keep your children or pets at least 3 feet away from it.
Most incidents involving space heaters happen in the winters. Risking your home to have a cozy environment is not a good idea. However, that doesn’t mean you should forgo using a space heater completely. If you keep the above precautions in mind, you can not only prevent your space heater from blowing a fuse but also avoid many unfortunate accidents.
A fuse or circuit breaker has been installed for your safety as it is designed to prevent any possible circuit overload. If the fuse is already blown, do not use it again as the specific piece of metal that keeps you safe and helps the fuse serve its purpose has melted. However, you can use the circuit breaker several times after it has tripped.