How Do I Safely Use This New Space Heater? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 12-18-2012, 06:47 AM   #1
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How do I safely use this new space heater?

I have 2 space heaters. My old 1500watt quartz heater is used in the morning to quickly heat up the kitchen; it is plugged directly into the wall outlet; I only use it when I am in the room with it.

I just purchased one of these new, efficient, wall panel, convection heaters (Econo-Heat 400 watt wall panel convection heater model 603s) to maintain a comfortable temp in the bedroom at night while the furnace is turned down for the whole house. Because it's running during the night while I'm asleep, I thought that it would be safer to have it plugged into a surge protector, but I just read on-line that it's not safe to plug any type of heating element into a surge protector. Apparently surge protectors are to protect electronic equipment from an electrical surge, not to protect against heating appliance malfunction. Can someone tell me what the safest method of using a low watt heating appliance during the night is? I'm assuming that there's not a lot of risk because it's only 400 watts, and it's attached to the wall, so it can't tip over, but I want to make sure I'm safe. Should I use a surge protector or just plug it into the regular wall outlet and not worry so much?


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Old 12-18-2012, 07:23 AM   #2
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No special electrical considerations are needed.

If you are nervous, you can improve safety a bit if you get a large flat piece of metal to place on the floor and you place the heater on this. And have nothing within three feet of the front of the heater.

Heaters with slits in the rear for air flow should be at least a few inches away from the wall.

For "small" fan forced heaters, a baking pan is large enough to set the heater in.

For freshly cut metal, put duct tape around the edges for protection from cuts.


The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-18-2012 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:26 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Beth1 View Post
Should I use a surge protector or just plug it into the regular wall outlet and not worry so much?
You heard correctly. Surge protectors are to protect your electronic devices (TVs, computers, etc.) from a sudden voltage increase ("surge") that comes from outside your house. A nearby lightning strike would be a good example of that.

I'd say that so long as the heater is mounted securely, the only thing to worry about would be having combustible material nearby.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:47 AM   #4
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FYI, I wouldn't call that new heater 'efficient', it's going to have about the same efficiency as any other electric heater. The 'efficiency' they are talking about is using it to heat a room instead of the whole house and you can get that benefit with just about any spot heater.

I do like the design though.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:48 AM   #5
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You can now get AFCI outlets if you feel that would cover any danger, in case the heater fails. As for the flat panel heaters, they are a lower amperage (3.33 amps), compared to the heavier duty. The danger lies, when people cover or place stuff near these heaters, which can cause death or damage to property.

There is a case going to court, that a family locked their child in a room with a space heater, which heated the room up to 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit.

As for turning the furnace down so low that you are using space heaters to compensate, you will actually use more electric doing that, than just setting back the furnace to say 60-64 at night.

If your place is so drafty, that it causes high heating & cooling bills, look at those areas that need attention (attic insulation, air sealing, storm windows, or 3m film over those windows that you cannot replace due to money, door socks at the bottom of doors, gaskets around doors if they do not have them).

Back on topic, the AFCI outlets run around $30, and the only place I have found them is You do need a ground wire for it to properly work, but easier than trying to find a AFCI breaker to fit your panel.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:20 AM   #6
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Pretty much common sense with space heaters. Keep combustible materials away from it. Read the warnings in the instruction manual which came with it.

Also be sure you have working smoke detectors both inside and outside of your bedroom, especially if you are going to keep the door closed.

I test my smoke detectors each time we switch back and forth from day light savings time.


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