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Why Space Heaters Can Cause Electrical Outlet Problems


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Identify Potential Space Heater and Outlet Wiring Problems: Many electric space heaters are a high consumers of electricity and can cause problems with electrical circuits, especially if the electrical wiring is out dated.


Guide to Space Heater Outlet and Wiring Problems

Electrical Question: My brothers 1920’s vintage colonial home has several outlets that are not working.

  1. I checked the circuit breakers and none are tripped.
  2. I ‘m getting a reading on my tester of 40-50 volts and 120 between the metal box and the hot side of the receptacle .
  3. He says the problem occurred after he left a space heater on overnight.
  4. He also has no power in his garage which he says is an older problem

This electrical troubleshooting question came from: bob peck, a Contractor from Agawam, MA.
Additional Comments: GREAT!

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

Problems with Space Heater Outlet Electric Wiring and How to Fix Them

  • Space Heaters and Electrical Consumption
    • Many electric space heaters are a high consumers of electricity and can cause problems with electrical circuits, especially if the electrical wiring is out dated or under sized.
  • Space Heater Receptacle Outlet Problem
    • The outlet where the electric space heater was plugged into is most likely where the problem is.
  • Burnt Plug or Cord
    • It is common to find a burnt neutral connection and damage to the electrical outlet.
  • Check the Outlet Electric Wire Connections
    • I strongly recommend having a qualified electrical contractor make the necessary repairs to the electrical wiring.
    • The electric wiring should be inspected for burnt connections and deteriorating receptacle outlets
    • Damaged wiring should be repaired or replaced as needed, and the receptacle outlets should be replaced.
    • Electrical wiring in older homes should be examined and upgraded and brought up to the current electric codes whenever possible.
    • Space Heaters and Smoke Detectors
      • For an extra measure of safety, make sure to install and test smoke detectors and GFI outlets where required in older homes.
      • PLEASE NOTE:

        • Space Heaters can help to save on your electrical bill when they are used correctly and used according to the manufacturers instruction manual.
        • Many space heaters require a dedicated circuit which should be installed by a qualified electrical contractor.

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