03:42PM | 01/12/03
Member Since: 11/10/02
11 lifetime posts
Last year, bought a small portable heater for my den. Only one time the c/b tripped when it was running.

This year the c/b constantly trips when I run the darn thing. I have a single pole 20amp c/b w/4 outlets and a ceiling light running off this wire. Is the heater drawing too much juice for this circuit?
I'll sometimes plug the heater into another outlet but the same thing happens (although not as much)

I don't want to get rid of the heater but what do I do? Could it be possibly a bad breaker should the wiring be upgraded? Please help w/some suggestions b4 I call an electrician


05:41PM | 01/12/03
Member Since: 01/01/03
35 lifetime posts
If the breaker trips, the unit is drawing too much power. That could be that the unit normally draws more power than the circuit can handle, or that there's a fault in the unit and the breaker is tripping because of a short circuit.

Check the unit to ensure that it will use less power than the circuit can support. Generally, if you're running it for more than three hours at a stretch, it shouldn't exceed 80% of the circuit's capacity. How big it is is not a good indicator. Electric heaters can sometimes require a boatload of juice, even if they're small.

If the unit is well within the limits of your circuit, the unit may be bad. It's hard to tell if it is, so making a warranty call may be the step after ruling out capacity issues.



03:16AM | 01/13/03
Member Since: 11/10/02
11 lifetime posts
I called up the manufacturer and they told me the estimated consumption of the heater is 8 amps, 1000 watts.

So, that means most likely the problem is in the wiring (or breaker)....??


04:18AM | 01/13/03
Member Since: 09/17/02
524 lifetime posts
It depends what else is on the same circuit. On a 20 amp circuit you have 2400 watts available.

[This message has been edited by joed (edited January 13, 2003).]


04:22AM | 01/13/03
Member Since: 11/10/02
11 lifetime posts
There was nothing else on when the breaker tripped. I do have a TV and a recessed ceiling light on the circuit, but they were both off.


06:12AM | 01/13/03
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 lifetime posts
You said:
I'll sometimes plug the heater into another outlet but the same thing happens (although not as much)
If the "other outlet" is on a different breaker, then the problem is clearly with the heater.
If you haven't tried using the heater on another circuit, try that to see if the other breaker trips as well.


07:43AM | 01/13/03
Member Since: 11/10/02
11 lifetime posts
guys, you're not going to believe this, but when I ran the heater again, I smelled something burning. The smell is/was coming from the main panel.

I just shut off the heater and I'm calling an electrician....there isn't any easy fixes for this correct?


10:40AM | 01/13/03
Member Since: 11/13/02
1 lifetime posts
A loose connection from a wire to the breaker terminal screw will cause heat at the high impedance connection. This will cause the breaker to open, just as if the heat were caused by an overcurrent condition. You may be able to simply tighten the screw down. There could also be a bad connection from the breaker to the bus in the panel, or a bad breaker. Turn off power at the main first! (consider calling an electrician - if you can afford $20 per month for internet service, you can afford to spend $100 to keep your house from catching on fire!)


02:34PM | 01/14/03
Member Since: 11/10/02
11 lifetime posts
We checked the panel today and noticed the wires were fried connecting to the breaker. We stripped the wire and put in a new breaker. However, when we ran a vacumm, it tripped the NEW breaker. Nothing else was on the circuit at the time. Any suggestions?


04:38PM | 01/14/03
Member Since: 01/13/03
50 lifetime posts
What size wire is coming off the breaker? Is it the same size as going into the j-box? Did you check to be sure all neutrals on the circuit are tight? What brand is the panel and breakers? I have seen where #14 wire was on a 20A circuit; where the proper size wire came off the breaker, but down the line it was changed to a smaller wire; loose neutrals; certain types of panels (FPE, Zinsco) have been reported to have problems.

But my first and foremost recommendation is to have the circuit and panel evaluated by a licensed, competent elctrician.

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