Are Space Heaters Bad?


It's just a tiny little electric space heater so it must be efficient, right?

Every winter we have to answer this question and every winter the answer is the same. No, there are no efficient electric space heaters and yes, every space heater will eventually cause electrical problems... or worse yet a fire.

Space heaters nearly max out any circuit and the damage they cause is crazy. The problem is that people are maxing out a circuit over and over again which causes stress on the homes electrical system. Copper or worse yet aluminum expands when it gets hot and contracts when it gets cold. These extremes will eventually cause fatigue and failure in the weakest spot. We are called out when things stop working but that is really a best case scenario. If things just keep working they very well might cause a catastrophic fire. Not to mention the huge winter electric bills you'll have to pay to make that happen.

Now, am I saying there is no appropriate time to heat a house with space heaters? That answer is yes and no. Space heat was never meant to be a permanent solution so it should never be used as such. However, there are times when a space heater or better yet a professionally installed electric heater make sense. For instance if you plan on working on a car in the garage in January you might have a good argument to use one. That being said I would highly recommend getting a dedicated circuit ran just for this use to avoid this kind of damage to your regular house wiring.

Below are a couple of examples of the kind of damage we see on a regular basis all winter long in the Midwest, remember these are best case scenarios since they caused the circuit to fail before causing a catastrophe.
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