The winter season can be most uncomfortable when your home lacks the right heating system. In the absence of various kinds of heating sources, especially a centralized heating system, space heaters have the capacity to make our lives warm and cozy.
These compact heating devices are easy to use, affordable, and economical (as far as the power bill is concerned). And these features make it a must-have for every household.
Space heaters are known for two qualities mainly; first is their low-maintenance nature, and second is the risk involved in using these heating units.
If you are reading this, you’re probably frustrated because your device keeps blowing fuses. And, if that’s right, this article will help you know everything related to space heater tripping breakers and the ways to prevent it.
Why Does My Space Heater Keep Blowing Fuses?
Seeing your space heater blow fuses now and then can get extremely frustrating. If you, too, are going through the same problem, you might be feeling desperate to get this thing fixed as soon as possible.
However, to get to the root of the issue, you’ll first have to understand the reasons causing leading to this situation. So, several reasons can be held responsible for this malfunctioning of your space heater. Let’s look at them one by one.
Faulty Power Outlet
A faulty wall outlet is one of the major reasons your space heater blows a fuse. Many people have experienced this issue when the faulty wall outlet has damaged the heater, but they had mistaken the problem as overheating or short-circuiting. So, it is important to look at the crisis from this point of view.
When a wall outlet is faulty, it may provide unfitting electricity to the appliance, which could lead to a fuse blow, damage to the heating element or even permanent damage to the heater. Instead of plugging your heater into the same wall outlet, you should try testing it in a different power outlet to reach the root cause.
Broken or Damaged Power Cord
Another possible reason for your space heater malfunctioning could be a broken or damaged power cord. Now, how would you know about this issue?
Well, most of the time, the power cord (if broken) will be visible on the outer surface. But, if you cannot see any such damage on the outer layer of the cord, chances are that the smaller copper cables lying inside the rubber housing are damaged. Any such damage will obstruct the passage of electricity, leading to the space heater blowing up the fuse.
How can one deal with such kind of a problem? If you have prior experience working with electronic devices, you can check the cord yourself. But, if you haven’t repaired a cord, consider calling an electrician to look into the matter.
A thermostat is meant to detect and regulate the internal temperature of a heating device. Therefore, the accuracy of this feature is vital because if the thermostat fails to function properly, the device will overheat and blow a fuse or cause other damages.
The malfunctioning of a thermostat will overheat the space heater. As a result, the heater will blow a fuse as a countermeasure to prevent other extreme hazards, like a house on fire.
To check the thermostat’s functioning, you must be well-versed with the different components of your heater. You will have to undo the screws and open the heater to locate the thermostat and test it for continuity.
Faulty Heating Element
A heating element is the heart of the heater as this particular component transforms the electrical energy into heating energy, which raises the temperature inside your room.
Usually, if the heating element fails to function, it stops working, putting your heater to a halt. However, in some rare cases, a bad heating element will generate excessive heat, leading to an abnormal rise in the heater’s temperature.
Overheating the heating device is one of the leading causes of the fuse blowing.
Fried Circuit Board
The circuit board of a space heater is the most vital component as it is responsible for ensuring that the internal components are working properly.
Extreme overheating of the device or a large power surge caused by a blackout might result in a fried circuit board, leading to a tripping breaker.
In extreme cases, a fried circuit board can also result in fire accidents in the household. So, this case calls for a replacement of the device. Call an electrician to know better.
How To Prevent Space Heater From Blowing Fuse?
Here’s the vital question, how can you prevent a space heater from blowing fuse?
Now that you know the reasons for space heater malfunctioning, understanding the preventive measure will become easier.
Space heaters are sensitive devices, and you must follow certain precautions to avoid damage or fire accidents. Keep reading to know the ways to prevent a space heater from blowing a fuse.
Do Not Overload The Circuits
In most cases of tripping breakers, circuit overload is the cause. When the circuit fails to handle the amount of current circulating through the grip, it can lead to melting of the fuse.
For instance, if your space heater has a power output of 3000 watts, the circuit should be able to handle the said amount of power because otherwise, it will blow a fuse.
Now, how can someone know the maximum load a circuit can handle?
Most of the time, people are unaware of the power load a circuit can handle, and they end up plugging in an electronic device with a higher power. In this case, you should call an electrician to help determine the circuit’s capacity.
Besides blowing a fuse, overloading the circuit could also result in blowing the heating element or turning your space heater into a fireball in the worst case.
Checking the wire of an electronic device is crucial, and you should do it from time to time to avoid all kinds of risks and damages. All you need to do for this is look out for signs of fraying or breakage in the protective rubber housing.
Furthermore, in case of any damage, you should replace the cord or call an electrician to fix the issue. Most importantly, you should never touch the wire when the device is plugged into the electric circuit.
Faulty wiring is one of the major causes of fuse melting, as it protects the other components of the heater from further damage. In addition, faulty wires also multiply the risk of electrical shock, which can be fatal, too.
So, beware of this situation and always keep an eye on such kinds of abnormalities in the cord of the heater.
Check The Amperage Limit
Checking the maximum amperage limit of the space heater is important to keep space heater from tripping breaker. Let’s understand this aspect with the help of an example.
Technically, a 120 V space heater will generally use between 8 to 13 amps. Different space heaters will have different amperage limits depending on the model’s design, type and size. And it is important to find the amperage limit of your device so that you can prevent any damage.
Now, let’s understand the simple formula that will help you calculate the amperage limit easily.
To calculate the amperage limit, you will need the wattage (W) and voltage (V) of your device. This information is usually printed on the back side of the device or its box. If you don’t find this information imprinted on the device, check the user manual to get all the details.
So, let’s assume you know the wattage and the voltage now. The formula is;
- Amperage limit= Wattage/voltage
For instance, a heater is of 1500 watt power and 120 voltage, the amperage limit of this device will be 1500/120, i.e., 12.5 amps.
The fuse of the device melts when the heater is exposed to a current greater than the amperage limit of the device. In this case, if the current exceeds 12.5 amps, the heater fuse will blow as a measure to protect other important components of the heating unit.
Never Use Extension Cords
It is important to plug the space heater directly into the wall outlet to prevent blowing a fuse. When you use an extension cord, you plug in several devices in one single piece and then plug this extension into the single wall outlet, which overloads the wall circuit.
Each device adds its load, which results in overburdening of the grid. Furthermore, the overburdened grid will cause an overcurrent that will trigger the fuse to blow out.
Ideally, the load of your device should be 80% of the maximum load capacity of the circuit. For instance, if the circuit load has 20 amps capacity, your space heater should have an amperage limit of maximum 16 amps.
Check The Fuse
Keeping a regular check on different parts of the heater and maintaining them from time to time is crucial to enhance the device’s performance. In addition, regular maintenance also ensures that all components of the device, including the fuse, are preserved for their functionality and integrity.
Experts recommend that you open your space heater once every three months and clean it manually to maintain the device in its best state. And while you are doing so, don’t forget to look for signs of melting, discoloration or charring.
If the fuse appears blackened or broken, it’s a sign that this is the time to replace it with a new fuse of the same specifications. This means you’ll have to buy a fuse of the same amperage rating to avoid all kinds of damage.
If you are unsure about the amperage limit of your existing fuse, just take the damaged fuse to the market and ask the electrician to give you another piece with the same specifications.
Unplug Heaters When Not In Use
It is extremely important to unplug electronic devices when they are not in use as it is one of the important safety measures and also cuts down your power bill.
When electronic devices are plugged in, there’s a certain amount of electrical current that keeps circulating. In this case, when you do not unplug your space heater, a small fraction of the current keeps streaming through the device, putting it at risk.
Now imagine that you have plugged in your coffee maker, refrigerator, and other electronic devices simultaneously, but you think it is safe because the devices are shut down. However, little do you know that all the devices plugged into the electrical circuit are adding to the existing payload of electricity because they are not unplugged and are still using a small fraction of electrical energy.
This excessive load on the electrical circuit will overheat the circuit, resulting in a fuse blowing up. Therefore, you should make it a habit to unplug the device when it is not in use. This goes for all other electronic devices, including your space heaters.
Switch Off The Heater At Regular Intervals
To ensure proper functioning of a space heater, it is essential to put it off at regular intervals. This goes for all electrical devices, as they tend to overheat when used for a prolonged period.
When a space heater is turned on for innumerable hours, the internal core temperature will rise beyond normal, which will hamper the effectiveness of the device. In addition, overheating is the primary cause of the malfunctioning of a space heater.
Therefore, ensure switching off the heater every 2-3 hours to prevent blowing of a fuse. Give it a break for about half an hour to use it again for the next couple of hours.
The Bottom Line
The right precautions can elongate the life of your space heater.
Besides the preventive measures mentioned above, you should follow other safety precautions like keeping the heater in a safe spot, not using the device while sleeping and switching it off from time to time.