Your space heater is your best friend when it keeps your toes warm when the cold months roll around. But it becomes your nemesis when it blows a fuse and malfunctions when you need it most. It can be a very frustrating situation, so this guide will give you tips on how to prevent space heater from blowing fuse.
Space heaters can be finicky when it comes to outlets and electricity. Read this piece to understand what can go wrong with your space heater and the best ways to prevent it and use your heater safely.
What is a Blown Fuse?
Surprisingly, the term “blown fuse” usually has nothing to do with fuses but instead refers to any unexpected electric occurrence that results in a loss of power. The phrase stems from old-fashioned fuse boxes or fuse panels, but these aren’t often found in houses anymore.
When someone says something ‘blew a fuse’, it probably experienced a tripped circuit breaker. That is when the wires were overheating and the system shut off automatically to prevent damage or fire. This happens when circuitry is overloaded or too hot.
If someone says the following:
- It tripped a circuit
- It tripped a breaker
- It blew a circuit
All of these phrases mean the same thing and are equivalent to a space heater ‘blowing a fuse’.
Causes of a Space Heater Blown Fuse
There is more than one cause of a blown fuse on a space heater. It helps to understand why the space heater lost power, so you can prevent it.
An overloaded circuit means there is not enough power in the outlet to support everything plugged in. Avoid plugging other things into the same outlet as a space heater.
While most outlets have two plug inserts, space heaters usually hog all of the power an outlet produces, not just half.
An overheated circuit means the wiring in the space heater gets too hot. This is because the heater draws more electricity than it should.
Unfortunately, there is no solution to this problem, as it’s a malfunction in the wiring. If this is the cause of your tripped circuit, you’ll likely need to replace your space heater.
You should never use an extension cord with your space heater. It isn’t a stable source of power, and the space heater or the extension cord may become overwhelmed and overheat, possibly causing a fire.
Faulty wiring can mean many things, but the most likely issue would be frayed or worn-out wires that can’t hold a stable electric current anymore. You can usually see faulty wiring, but sometimes it isn’t apparent.
How To Prevent Space Heater From Blowing Fuse
To prevent your space heater from tripping a circuit or causing other problems, try to follow these preventative tips for using space heaters.
Keep Heat Settings Low
It stands to reason that having your space heater on as high as possible all the time may be too much on its wiring and power source. Try to keep your heat settings on low as much as possible, so the circuits don’t become overwhelmed and overheat.
Designate Outlet for Space Heater
To avoid overloading your circuits, you should designate an outlet exclusively for your space heater. Make it known to other household members that nothing else should be plugged into this outlet for safety reasons and keep your space heater working.
Inspect Cords and Wires
Before the space heater malfunctions or you have an incident, you should inspect the heater’s wiring as well as your home’s wiring. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can call an electrician or HVAC specialist to check your wires for you.
Replacing an old wire before it breaks or frays will help prevent serious accidents and reduce the overall risks of using a space heater.
Unplug When Not In Use
You may find this annoying, but unplugging the space heater whenever you aren’t using is a great practice to give the circuits a break and allow for cooling down.
General Safety Tips for Space Heaters
The above explains how to prevent a circuit trip, but there are some general safety tips for people that own space heaters. Try to follow all these safety guidelines if you aren’t already.
- Always place your space heater on a flat, level surface before use. A space heater on an uneven floor may tip over and this can result in floor damage, space heater damage, or even a fire.
- Keep your space heater away from flammable objects like couches, curtains, rugs, or other large fabric items. The space heater should be placed a minimum of four feet away from these items.
- You should never put a space heater in a child’s room. If you have to, place it far from the child’s bed and not near flammable items. It is also best to put it out of reach if possible.
- If you have small children or pets in your home, it’s best to place the space heater where they can’t access it. Some people place a play-pen or type of gate around the space heater for this reason.
- Never use a power strip or extension cord to power your space heater, as this is very dangerous and likely to cause a blown fuse.
Available Space Heater Safety Features
Manufacturers design space heaters to include some standard safety features. Space heaters can cause household accidents and fires, so manufacturers do their best to add safety features.
When buying a space heater, check that it includes all of these features:
- Most space heaters on the market today have an automatic shut-off when the unit begins to overheat.
- A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter plug (GCFI) will prevent electric shocks and circuit trips.
- Check for a safety certification from a registered body that verifies the space heater is safe.
- The thicker the power cord, the better. So make sure you choose a space heater with a sturdy power cord.
Space heaters can be a life-saving appliance when the cold creeps into your home, but they can come with their own set of problems.
Don’t fall victim to an overloaded circuit or frayed wiring, and follow our guide so you can prevent a blown fuse on your space heater before it happens.
Should I keep extra fuses around?
No, most space heaters don’t use fuses anymore but instead, use circuit breakers. The fuse is just part of a commonly used expression.
What if my space heater is constantly losing power?
If the space heater loses power no matter what you or where you put it, it may just be time for a new space heater. But you can always call an expert for one last hail Mary.