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#4639338 - 01/18/18 09:44 PM Why do space heaters catch fire?
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 4858
Loc: Houston, Texas
Do the heaters themselves fail and catch fire or is it just because someone does something to it to catch something on fire?
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#4639344 - 01/18/18 09:47 PM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
PimTac Online   content


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4327
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
Flammable materials too close is the major cause. Drapes, furniture, papers etc.

If you read all the idiot tags on the space heater it will be explained further.
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#4639362 - 01/18/18 09:58 PM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
Wolf359 Online   content


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4764
Loc: MA
In addition to that, the max rating on most portable electric heater is 1500 watts which works out to about 12.5 amps. Most people plug multiple items into a 15 amp outlet so they're pretty much getting the max load out of it without tripping. Over time, if the wiring is a little loose, you get heat build up and an electrical fire. Electrical fires are blamed on space heaters all the time.

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#4639370 - 01/18/18 10:06 PM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
VeryNoisyPoet Offline


Registered: 12/16/17
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
I agree that usually is external problems causing the fires. Space heaters have thermal fuses that should cut power if they overheat, and I believe are required by law to have a safety switch underneath that shuts them off if they tip over. But flammable items too close or on top of the heater, or bad house wiring that can't handle the power draw are more likely causes of fire than the heater itself bursting into flames.
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#4639382 - 01/18/18 10:19 PM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
pcoxe Offline


Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 445
Loc: South Carolina
An electric space heater pulls a lot of current and probably does so continuously with little or no off time. This can cause a gradual overheating of every wire, terminal connection, and receptacle in the circuit. It's just a matter of time before something somewhere gets too hot and too close to something combustible.

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#4639383 - 01/18/18 10:19 PM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
Snagglefoot Online   content


Registered: 12/31/17
Posts: 1763
Loc: Alberta
You can reduce the chances of an accidental fire with a space heater by using an oil filled heater ( their surfaces are not overly hot.) Also you can uses a ceramic heater which also is not overly hot.

The worst ones are those wire type heaters that glow red. They are bad news in my opinion.

SF

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#4639408 - 01/18/18 10:42 PM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: pcoxe]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: pcoxe
An electric space heater pulls a lot of current and probably does so continuously with little or no off time. This can cause a gradual overheating of every wire, terminal connection, and receptacle in the circuit. It's just a matter of time before something somewhere gets too hot and too close to something combustible.


^^^^ THIS is the REAL reason.

Two 750 watt heaters in the same room on different circuits is 1000% safer than one 1500 watt heater running on one circuit.

Originally Posted By: Snagglefoot
You can reduce the chances of an accidental fire with a space heater by using an oil filled heater....The worst ones are those wire type heaters that glow red.


The heater type itself is really not important.





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#4639429 - 01/18/18 11:01 PM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: Linctex]
PimTac Online   content


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4327
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
Originally Posted By: Linctex
Originally Posted By: pcoxe
An electric space heater pulls a lot of current and probably does so continuously with little or no off time. This can cause a gradual overheating of every wire, terminal connection, and receptacle in the circuit. It's just a matter of time before something somewhere gets too hot and too close to something combustible.


^^^^ THIS is the REAL reason.

Two 750 watt heaters in the same room on different circuits is 1000% safer than one 1500 watt heater running on one circuit.

Originally Posted By: Snagglefoot
You can reduce the chances of an accidental fire with a space heater by using an oil filled heater....The worst ones are those wire type heaters that glow red.


The heater type itself is really not important.









I hope your breaker opened with that. That is really bad.
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#4639443 - 01/18/18 11:19 PM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: PimTac]
VeryNoisyPoet Offline


Registered: 12/16/17
Posts: 290
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: PimTac
I hope your breaker opened with that. That is really bad.


Faults like that often will NOT trip the breaker. A high resistance bad connection will happily start a fire even when the total current is well within the ratings of the rest of the circuit. Important to replace worn outlets that get hot to the touch or that do not hold plugs tightly.
_________________________
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"Use yah blinkah!"

"Be nice. The alternative involves an air horn and 7000 lumens of high beam."

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#4639460 - 01/18/18 11:53 PM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
Shannow Online   content


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39914
Loc: 'Stralia

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#4639466 - 01/19/18 12:20 AM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: Linctex]
Warstud Online   content


Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 5404
Loc: MIchigan
Originally Posted By: Linctex
Originally Posted By: pcoxe
An electric space heater pulls a lot of current and probably does so continuously with little or no off time. This can cause a gradual overheating of every wire, terminal connection, and receptacle in the circuit. It's just a matter of time before something somewhere gets too hot and too close to something combustible.


^^^^ THIS is the REAL reason.

Two 750 watt heaters in the same room on different circuits is 1000% safer than one 1500 watt heater running on one circuit.

Originally Posted By: Snagglefoot
You can reduce the chances of an accidental fire with a space heater by using an oil filled heater....The worst ones are those wire type heaters that glow red.


The heater type itself is really not important.







Linctex...My mother has a oil heater similiar to that one that has done that exact thing on 2 different outlets. Do I need to replace the outlets. How about the heater plug....it's a little charred...you think it might be ok?

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#4639491 - 01/19/18 01:39 AM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
OneEyeJack Offline


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 7479
Loc: S California
I have a space heater that I set on a tile surface. I plug it into an uprated socket. If it falls over its supposed to turn off but if it does not I'm hoping that on the tile surface it won't do any damage. I run it on a timer and there's a smoke/fire alarm nearby.

As you might guess I'm afraid of fire and only use it when I'm right there.

I used it when I was really sick with cancer and got the chills. The heat was lovely. Now I don't use it much. It's a heavy duty unit and not one of those cheap ones you get at the department store. So far, so good.

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#4639495 - 01/19/18 01:51 AM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: VeryNoisyPoet]
Wolf359 Online   content


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4764
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: VeryNoisyPoet
Originally Posted By: PimTac
I hope your breaker opened with that. That is really bad.


Faults like that often will NOT trip the breaker. A high resistance bad connection will happily start a fire even when the total current is well within the ratings of the rest of the circuit. Important to replace worn outlets that get hot to the touch or that do not hold plugs tightly.


You could try an arc fault breaker. That might detect it and trip the breaker. Those are now required by code in newer construction in bedrooms.

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#4639513 - 01/19/18 02:32 AM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: VeryNoisyPoet]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: VeryNoisyPoet
Faults like that often will NOT trip the breaker. A high resistance bad connection will happily start a fire even when the total current is well within the ratings of the rest of the circuit. Important to replace worn outlets that get hot to the touch or that do not hold plugs tightly.


EXACTLY!
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(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."

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#4639514 - 01/19/18 02:34 AM Re: Why do space heaters catch fire? [Re: Warstud]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: Warstud
Linctex...My mother has a oil heater similiar to that one that has done that exact thing on 2 different outlets. Do I need to replace the outlets. How about the heater plug....it's a little charred...you think it might be ok?


YES, Replace the outlets AND also THE HEATERS with bad plugs.

Do NOT take the chance with plugs that are "a little charred" - you don't know how deep the damage is

the roll of the dice isn't worth the risk
_________________________
"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."

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