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Steve G.
Steve G., Electrical Engineer
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 17987
Experience:  Spent 20 years as an Electrical Engineer, designing electrical plans and specifications.
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We use an outlet in the bedroom for a space heater, in addition

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We use an outlet in the bedroom for a space heater, in addition to other things. The space heater trips the circuit breaker. Could the amp on the breaker be increased (now 15)? Or could some things be moved from that circuit to another? The heater is rated 1500 watts and I am now using it with an extension cord to another outlet in the bedroom – not very satisfactory. The electrical panel is rated for 200 amps.
If the breaker is 15A you are overloading it with a 1500w heater. Breakers are not meant to be loaded more than 80%. 80% of 15A is 12A. 12A at 120V is 1440Watts.

So, I would stop using that heater.

If (and only if) your outlet wiring is run in #12 wiring, you can up the breaker and EVERY RECEPTACLE on that circuit to 20A devices. If the wiring is #14 which I suspect it is, you can't upsize that breaker.

But for now, I would strongly suggest you stop using that heater unless you can run it at say 50%.

I'll be here if you need further help with this issue. Please let me know.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I opened another switch to check the wiring size. It is #14 so I suppose it is consistent with the rest of the normal outlets and switches (disregarding heavy duty appliances.) That having been said, I note that the heater has its own breaker. As I mentioned, I have been using it with a heavy-duty extension cord to an outlet where neither the panel breaker nor the appliance breaker is tripped. I presume that the only other demands on that outlet and other connections to the particular panel breaker are lamps. Notwithstanding its usability in those circumstances, is it unsafe? I suppose that the maximum wattage for a heater on 15 amp is 1440 less some allowance for other items on that breaker.

The heater having its own breaker is not going to protect your wiring. It is going to protect the heater.

What you're doing is technically unsafe. You are overloading your circuit beyond it's design capabilities. Even the circuit that isn't tripping is going to be getting warm.

Either use a smaller heater or keep this one at half power if that is possible.

I'll be here if you need further help with this issue. Please let me know.

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