When the weather gets colder, many people turn to space heaters instead of furnaces for extra warmth. People can be seen using them under their desks at work, or even at home. How do you ensure you’re using a space heater safely when cold weather strikes?
Space heaters are safe when plugged directly into a wall outlet. However, they are not safe when plugged into a power strip. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), this type of mistake is one of the leading causes of fires in the US. Even tiny ceramic space heaters are mighty power sources. They put out a large amount of energy, and the heating elements in larger models get as hot as 600 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, they should only be plugged directly into the wall—that type of heat can overheat, short circuit, or cause a power strip to catch on fire.
Can I Use A Space Heater With A Power Strip?
You should not plug a space heater into a power strip, whether it’s an infrared space heater or another type. They are not able to handle the large amount of current that is needed to power space heaters. They are quick to overheat and potentially catch fire, so space heaters should only be plugged directly into a wall outlet. You should pay close attention and monitor any space heater, even when it is plugged into the wall.
Is A Power Strip Different From A Surge Protector?
It is important to understand that a power strip and surge protector are two different things. A power strip is intended to allow you to plug multiple items into one power source. A surge protector has special electronics but into the strip to prevent power surges from damaging whatever is connected. Surge protectors offer more protection than plugging an item into the wall.
Power strips and surge protectors often look alike, but a surge protector costs more than a power strip, which are usually inexpensive. Surge protectors wear down over time and must be replaced regularly. If you are considering a surge protector, do not go cheap. In this case, price does matter. You should expect to spend a bit more money on a good surge protector.
Power strips are intended for:
- Lower voltage items
- Temporary use only
- Should not be used with anything that has a constant power supply
Following these tips can help keep you safe from all electronics—not just that big oil filled space heater you like to use at night.
What Else Should I Know?
Space heaters, whether they’re floor heaters or baseboard heaters, are a constant source of energy when they are running. Even when they are plugged directly into the wall, they should be monitored carefully. Most space heaters require 15 amps, so your outlet must be at least 15 amps or more. Space heaters require a lot of energy when they are first turned on and then heat up really quickly. All of this causes heat transference and if the space heater is plugged into a power strip, it overheats. The bottom line is that you should never have a space heater plugged into any other source than a wall outlet.