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Thread: Leaving electric space heaters going & going away for the weekend.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Leaving electric space heaters going & going away for the weekend.

    Is it:

    - Stupid.
    - Real stupid.
    - Extremely stupid.
    - Irresponsible.
    - All of the above

    ?

    Is there any way shape or form it's safe to run a portable electric space heater for two days and two nights when no one is around to check on it?

  2. #2
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    It may be safe I don't know. I'd be pretty nervous doing it as well. I have seen some pretty scary stuff with electric heaters. Melted plugs or outlets. It scares me.
    I could cry for the time I've wasted, but thats a waste of time and tears.

  3. #3
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    I don't think I'd ever do it. Being around doesn't prevent a failure from happening but it sure does prevent the resulting fire from burning you down to the ground. I may be paranoid but I still unplug small appliances before leaving on vacations.
    The problem with education in the School of Hard Knocks is that by the time you're educated, you're too old to do anything.

  4. #4
    I'll bet if you read the manual it says something to the effect of "do not leave unattended".

  5. #5
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    I wouldn't risk it.
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  6. #6
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    I work in insurance claims. Why take the risk, unless the pets need to stay warm. But why take the risk anyway. Been involved in too many claims to feel it is OK to leave home with a heater plugged in. Call it paranoid but its not worth the risk.

  7. #7
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    How about the oil-filled units? The one I have in my shop office doesn't have any warnings about unattended use or anything like that. Its fairly low wattage (600 on low) and the element is inside the oil filled radiator fins so I've always assumed it was safe for that use.


  8. #8
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    I wouldn't. When I lived in Arizona, My next door neighbor was an arson investigator for our local fire department and told me the number one reason for house fires was coffee makers being left plugged in when not in use. They seem to short easier than all other appliances.

  9. #9
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    Canton. GA
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    Get a fire proof pad that goes under grills, it helps prevent my deck from burning up when hot embers fly out. Maybe
    J Load

  10. #10
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    I would feel a lot safer using the oil-filled radiator type, is use one in my greenhouse and have never had a problem. The cord doesn't even get hot. Still, perhaps there's a better alternative that someone can think of if we new the problem. Is it to keep the temperature warm enough to prevent frozen pipes, or keep houseplants alive?



    Sammamish, WA

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  11. #11

    My biggest concern would be the connections.

    I have seen melted plugs/recepticals on high wattage loads. As a connection begans to heat it increases in resistance. As the resistance increases the connection itself becomes a heater.

    Whatever you do don't use extension cords with an electric heater unless it's rating is at least 150% greater than that of the heater, and keep the length to a minimum.

    I personally would not leave a space heater unattended, here is a chilling statistic from NFPA:

    "Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for one-third (32%) of home heating fires and four out of five (82%) of home heating fire deaths"

    http://www.nfpa.org/categoryList.asp...ookie%5Ftest=1

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meiser View Post
    How about the oil-filled units? The one I have in my shop office doesn't have any warnings about unattended use or anything like that. Its fairly low wattage (600 on low) and the element is inside the oil filled radiator fins so I've always assumed it was safe for that use.

    Have a look around the plug and wall outlet to see if there is evidence of prolonged low grade overheating. Generally some sort of discoloration. I used to use an oil heater to keep some animals warm over winter and thought the same way. Thought an oil heater would be relatively safe but it's where it plugs in that is the weak spot with them. 110 volts and the associated amperage just isn't safe when powering heaters for long sustained periods of time. Any fire would most likely start at the wall not the unit itself

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  13. #13
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    No way for a resistance type heater that gets hot. Oil type????
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  14. #14
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    I've done it, but only with the heater on low power setting. That way it's max current draw is only ~7A and not enough to even warm the wiring or cord.
    - Tom

  15. #15
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    I am too paranoid.

    You could get away with it 1,000 times with no issues, but I seem to start at 1,001 and work backwards...

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