Space heaters are such a godsend during harsh winters. They are small but mighty, and their portable design makes them easily accessible. But they can also quickly become a nightmare for you if not handled with care. If you are careless, you may end up frying the electrical wiring in your house because of overloading the circuit. Don’t take a risk. Follow our simple guide to prevent a space heater from blowing fuse!
What Is The Purpose Of Fuse In Space Heaters?
Fuses are installed into electrical devices and appliances as a safety mechanism. They prevent current surges from flowing through the system and damaging the device.
It is common for appliances to heat up when you use them for a long time. Devices like space heaters are prone to overheat if left on for too long. Especially if you aren’t performing regular maintenance checks, the wear and tear can make the heater a danger.
That’s when the fuse comes into play. As a high amount of current passes through the space heater, your fuse blocks it from running through the device. This way, your space heater remains unharmed and doesn’t blow up or catch fire.
Safety Checks Before Turning On A Space Heater
Picture this; you just took out your space heater from the basement because you felt a little chilly this morning. You notice a few nicks and cuts on the wire, perhaps created by rodents. But you decide to ignore it. You plug in your space heater to feel nice and warm, but the next thing you know is you’re experiencing a shock you never expected.
Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? To prevent such a thing from happening to you or a family member, you should check out the following safety tips.
1. Check The Heater’s Wiring
Sparkles and fireworks look magical in the sky. But nothing is fascinating about sparks flying out of your space heater. Exposed wires can be extremely dangerous. Don’t take any wiring issue lightly, as they can cause problems much bigger than you expect.
That’s why we recommend it’s worthwhile to check the system for any broken or cut-up wiring before plugging it in.
2. Use Safety Alarms
When you are dealing with something as powerful and fatal as electricity, accidents can happen. No matter how careful you are, sometimes electrical failures happen without warning. And it’s the same with space heaters. Our heaters can malfunction and they might blow their fuse out of the blue.
From 2014 to 2018, 77% of total civilian deaths due to fires were caused by home fires (source). No one can predict their home going up in flames but we can take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and our family. It’s wise to have some safety checks in place such as installing fire alarms at home. These will detect if your heater wiring fails and catches fire. So, we can take timely action when it’s needed.
3. Inspecting The House Wiring
Most of us forget to get our house wiring checked regularly. When the cold winds start rolling in, it’s a good idea to call in the local electrician to check up on the electrical wiring. You will soon be using space heaters inside your home. Hence, you must make sure the basic wiring is all good before putting any extra load on it. Doing this means you can avoid dealing with any unpleasant circuit tripping situations.
4. Combustion Space Heaters
If you’re using a combustion space heater, you have to take a few more extra precautions. When filling them up with fuel, don’t go overboard. The fuel expands as it heats up so you have to leave a little room in the tank.
Also, never try filling a combustion space heater while it’s on and working. The only time you should top up the fuel tank is when the device is turned off – you don’t want any hot fuel splashing in your face!
How To Prevent A Space Heater From Blowing Fuse In 6 Safety Checks
Here at Home Air Advisor, we are concerned for the safety of your loved ones and, of course, your precious space heaters. They keep you warm during cold winters, so why not show them a little love by taking good care of them, right?
Here are some useful tips for you to apply while using a space heater.
1. Always Unplug From The Socket
Whether it’s a heater, your TV or your phone charger, it’s always wise to unplug any unused appliances when you don’t need them anymore. Even if your heater is on stand-by, there is still current passing through the device as long as it is plugged in.
Hence, to be on the safe side, pull out any plugs from the switchboard when they are no longer in use.
2. Don’t Use Extension Cords And Connectors
Extension cords are not meant to carry high current. They can overheat very quickly and if they get hot enough, even catch fire. Yikes!
So, plugging in your space heater into one of these might not be the best idea and we wouldn’t recommend it.
3. Use On Lower Heat Settings
We know it’s quite tempting to put your heater on full blast. And that is fine for a short time. However, if your space heater is running on max heat settings at all times, it might damage the internal wiring of your device. And inadvertently cause the fuse to trip.
Instead of putting your heater on the highest mode, we suggest taking it down a few notches. Wear a sweater, put on a pair of extra socks, or throw on a cozy blanket to conserve your natural body heat.
These subtle changes won’t only protect your heater from busting its fuse, but also help you save extra bucks on your electric bill.
4. Don’t Leave Your Space Heater Unattended
We are all guilty of falling asleep in front of the heater at one time or another. You get a little too comfortable while warming up your feet. And before you know it, you’re dozing off with the space heater turned on.
That might be alright if you have someone else in the room with you. The only downside is you’ll have some very hot and dry feet when you wake up. But if you are by yourself, then that’s putting yourself in harm’s way.
The U.S. Fire Administration instructs parents to keep children at a distance of at least 3 feet away from a space heater (source). If you have small kids at home, heaters can pose a real threat. Any electrical appliance can be a problem if your toddlers meddle with the cables or switching. For the safety of your children, always make sure there is someone in the room to supervise them when you have a space heater turned on.
5. Using A Different Outlet
Thinking of putting your space heater on in the kitchen?
Before doing so, better make sure you aren’t putting all appliances on the same circuit. A typical kitchen circuit already supports many heavy-duty appliances such as the refrigerator, microwave, and coffee machine. Therefore, adding additional load to the same circuit is a total recipe for overloading it.
Plug your heater into a different circuit, preferably outside your kitchen, as this will ensure you don’t blow out the fuse.
6. Don’t Use a Heater Near Water
If there is one combination that doesn’t go well together, it’s water and electricity. Putting your space heater in the bathroom to create a sauna-like experience sounds cool. But the consequences can be grim if your heater comes into contact with steam or water.
Unless you have a heater that is specifically designed to be used in damp locations, you must avoid using it in your bathroom. Taking a trip to the bathroom isn’t comfortable in the winter months. However, using a regular space heater to warm up the area is not advisable.
Related article: Best Bathroom Heaters That Help You Keep Warm In Winter
Buy A Space Heater: Special Features
We can often forget to be mindful of all the precautionary steps involved in properly using heating appliances. Because let’s be honest, there’s a lot to remember.
But thanks to modern technology, we can now opt to take the easy way out. There are plenty of space heaters out there on the market that comes with special safety features. These include:
- Water-proof exterior and protection from spills
- Automatic tripping and power off settings – the heater turns off when it detects overheating
- Built-in timer for use during the nighttime
- A longer than average cord; no need to use an extension cord
Place Your Space Heater On The Ground
Want to put your heater on your desk? Don’t do it.
Especially if you’ve been putting your heater on your bed, then you must quit this habit instantly. You want to be comfortable in your room – we get it!
But putting the space heater on uneven surfaces increases its risk of tipping over and falling. Plus, you must have blankets or quilts placed on your bed. Synthetic fabrics are the quickest to catch fire and will start burning like a candle in no time.
Hence, always remember, the space heater belongs on the floor.
What Can Cause The Fuse Of Your Space Heater To Trip?
It is quite common to get a blown-out circuit or fuse box at home. Have you ever plugged in a device such as your hair dryer into the socket, and it died on you? And as if that wasn’t enough, your lights also go out. Well, that’s the fuse melting down to keep your house safe from high surges of current.
In the same way, the fuse in a heater is meant to protect you. Most space heaters today include fuses instead of circuit breakers. These are made of materials such as ceramic or glass. The fuse melts away as soon as a huge amount of current passes through the appliance. Your heater won’t work anymore after blowing the fuse. But if it did its job well, you can easily repair the fuse and get your space heater back to working condition.
Reasons Why Fuses Trip
There are a few reasons why this may happen to your space heater fuse. The most common ones are:
- There are too many appliances connected on the same circuit. When you go beyond the maximum current limit on an electrical circuit, it will overload.
- Your space heater may be a bit too old. The fuse is worn out and weak, causing it to trip.
- For some reason, the space heater is sucking in too much current from the circuit. That will cause overheating and eventually tripping the fuse.
Repairing Your Space Heater After Blowing A Fuse
Got a tripped fuse on your hands?
Watch this short video explaining what repairing a blown-out fuse looks like.
While you may be thinking of repairing the fuse yourself, you might consider getting it done by a professional. An expert can ensure the space heater doesn’t have any other issues that need fixing before it can be up and running.
There is always a rise in the number of cases involving blown fuses in space heaters during the winter months – no shocker there. The way to prevent this from happening is to take caution while using a space heater.
Heating takes up a lot of electricity, meaning your space heater is not a device you can mess around with. If you are facing a problem or your space heater isn’t working, you can inspect it to pinpoint the issue.
While DIY solutions work sometimes, they may not give you a permanent solution. So, if you want to prevent a space heater from blowing fuse, you’re better off getting it checked by a professional. It will cost you a few dollars, but it’s better than paying the price by risking your safety.