Space heaters and power strips: a dangerous combination

Good Day Dakota

Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the U.S., according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International.

It’s that time of year when space heaters are often used. As we all have more and more appliances or electronics to plug in, especially with the holidays, fire officials want us all to make sure space heaters are NOT plugged into power strips or extension cords.

They are not designed to manage the electrical power that space heaters use.

Fire Inspector Stuart Hammer said, “Space heaters pull approximately 1500 watts themselves and generally the powerstrips are rated for about 1800. So it’s really easy to draw past that power and depending on where the weak link is like if it’s in the heater cord or the power strip, or it’s in the wiring in the home, one of those can break down and you can end up with a fire pretty quick.”

Hammer said to ONLY plug space heaters into the wall and to make sure they’re unplugged if unattended.

This (see video) melted extension cord is the result of space heater use.

Another good tip with extension cords – do NOT coil them up – the cords needs to be extended to be able to release heat.

Hammer said space heater fires happen often in the winter months, and a big part of that has to do with them being left on for too long or because things are left too close to them.

Because they draw so much power, he stressed the importance of unplugging them after use to be completely sure they’re turned off.

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