Electrical Tips, Winter Park Electrician

Space Heater Safety

Space heaters are common household items and have been around for a very long time. They are made by many different manufacturers and come in a variety of models and sizes, serving many different purposes for consumers. Some of the types of space heaters are ceramic, infrared, radiant, heater blower, cyclone, convection, kerosene, natural gas, oil-filled electric radiator.

Initially, space heaters were designed for use as supplemental heat, but are primarily used as an alternative heat source altogether. The way they work best, however, is heating up an individual room and under the correct circumstances, using a space heater can be a very economic alternative for heating your Winter Park home.

A typical 1,500 square foot home has a 10,050-watt heater. A 2,500 square foot home typically has a 15,100-watt heater. Portable space heaters have variable settings, such as 500-, 1000-, and 1500-watts. In terms of cost, here is a breakdown of the dollars and cents per hour:

15,000 watts $1.95 per hour
10,000 watts $1.30 per hour
1,500 watts 19 cents per hour

For many people, during the day, only half of their home is in use and at night, for most people, only the bedrooms are in use. The central heater has to combat every cubic foot of available space in the home. Heat loss through the ceiling and temperature transfer through the walls, doors, and windows diminish the heat circulating through the house due to central heating. A space heater comes with the advantage of only having to heat the individual room.

Now that we have established the practicality and advantage of a space heater financially, let’s look at the safety concerns.

If a space heater is sold at a retail store in the United States, it is UL-approved and certified to be safe. If it is plugged into your house now, that is a different story. Portable heaters are primarily used in living rooms and bedrooms. The circuits in those rooms are 15A, which is 1800 watts. That is enough power, since the only other items on that circuit will be low wattage devices, such as televisions, stereos, lamps, and alarm clocks. There are minimum standards, however, that your house is wired to meet.

In many Ocoee homes, you will find low-grade receptacle devices and circuits wired in series. In addition, wires will be quick-stabbed in the back of the receptacle, which offers very little contact surface, which means the entire electric load goes through all of the receptacles on the circuit. Old, worn, and loose-fitting receptacles, as well as poor connections are terrible and heat that comes from these issues is potentially dangerous, even where an appliance is not plugged in to a receptacle on that circuit; the receptacle can still burn and possibly cause a fire.

Luckily, correcting the issue is not too complicated. All you must do to improve the safety of your home is change out the old receptacles for better quality models and change the series leads connections to a parallel circuit with copper pig tails, then connect the leads under the terminal screws. Once you’ve changed the circuit system from series to parallel and upgraded the actual parts of the circuit, you eliminate the potential hazards.

If any of these processes are out of your comfort zone, don’t hesitate to call a Winter Park electrician to offer assistance. Getting it done the right way is important for guaranteeing the safety of your home and understanding space heater safety can save you money on your monthly electric bill.

Winter Park Electrician

What You Need to Know About Aluminum Wiring

In the past few years, there has been a lot of fear and concern about aluminum wiring in Winter Park homes. During the mid 1960’s and 1970’s, roughly 2 million homes throughout the nation were wired with aluminum. Although not as effective as copper, it was considered safe and installed all over the country due to a shortage of copper, which drove copper prices through the roof. Many years later, aluminum wiring has shown to have many more problems than standard copper wiring. The problem is not with the aluminum wire conductors, but at the point of connections.

Aluminum wire is still used primarily by the utility companies and in aviation, as well as electrical contractors for service entrance cables and feeder panels. When installed properly, with the right connectors and anti-oxidant inhibitor, aluminum wiring has proven effective. In existing Winter Park homes, however, where you have smaller branch circuits, there are corrective measures that may need to be taken to ensure that everything is working safely. (more…)

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