Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Electrical, AC & DC. Electronic Equipment and Computers > Electrical - AC & DC
Reload this Page >

Small heater (120V 60Hz 1500W) shuts off 15 amp (single pole) circuit?

Small heater (120V 60Hz 1500W) shuts off 15 amp (single pole) circuit?

Closed Thread

  #1  
Old 12-16-05, 08:52 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 806
Small heater (120V 60Hz 1500W) shuts off 15 amp (single pole) circuit?

I bought the smallest heaters (2 of them, different make/model) at Lowe's & Home Depot.

Plugged in heater A, shut off the circuit, had to reset the circuit at the panel. Plugged in heater A inot an outlet of a different circuit, same thing.
Plugged in heater B, shut off the circuit, had to reset the circuit at the panel. Plugged in heater B inot an outlet of a different circuit, same thing.

Circuits for the outlets are single pole 15 amp. Both heaters say on the back:
120V 60Hz 1500W

My gosh, if these tiny things are drawing too much power, what the h*ll am I supposed to use for supplementary heat?

any advice is greatly appreciated,

-MC
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-16-05, 08:58 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 973
What other loads are on these circuits? 1500 watts is 12.5A, so it wouldn't take much more to exceed the capacity of a 15A circuit.

Ideally, you run these heaters on a circuit with NO other load. Even these "little" heaters are a large load on a circuit.


One other thought...are these breakers just regular breakers, or do they have a TEST button on them?
 
  #3  
Old 12-16-05, 10:33 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 806
the breakers do have a test button on them

so if the small heater is nearly overloading the circuit (the only other thing I'd run on that circuit could be some nightlights) then is there another kind of heater that runs on less electricity?

thks,

-MC
 
  #4  
Old 12-16-05, 10:55 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 973
1500W is pretty standard for a space heater. With only a negligable additional load, they should work fine on a 15A circuit.


Here's a few troubleshooting questions:

Are the breakers tripping immediately, or does it take a while?

Are the heaters turned off when they are plugged in? If so, does the breaker trip only after turning the heater on?

Do the breakers trip when the heater is on its lowest setting?


How old is the house (or how recently has the affected area been remodeled)? Are these bedroom circuits?

What is the brand name and model # of the breaker(s)?
 
  #5  
Old 12-16-05, 11:06 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 806
ok I think I have an idea of what to do now

The first circuit is a living room circuit in an old house (with a new service panel redone in 2003),

The second circuit is a bedroom circuit in a brand new addition,

When I do run the heater I'll make sure nothing else is running on that circuit other than the nightlights my wife has put in each room and the hallway.

Sometimes the circuit does not trip immediately, sometimes it takes a while.
The breaker will only trip if the heater is running, it'll be fine otherwise.
The breaker does trip when the heater is on the lowest setting.
I don't know the make/model of the breaker but I belive I've gotten the solution (only run the heater and nothing else)

thanks a bunch,

-MC
 
  #6  
Old 12-18-05, 02:23 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 1,767
I like using the heaters that use switchable elements. One I regularly use in 750W mode, to take the cold out of the room, and works fine on a circuit that has a larger chest freezer and a TV/stereo setup (incuding satellite receiver and DVR).
 
  #7  
Old 12-20-05, 10:33 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 806
sounds like a good idea but

what are "switchable elements" and how easily can I find heaters that have this feature?

-MC
 
  #8  
Old 12-20-05, 10:48 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
When people say they have a "small" heater, they are normally referring to its physical size. But heaters that are small in size can often be large in electrical consumption.

Visit your home center again. Pay attention to only one thing on the package of each heater, and that is the number of watts. Reject any that say 1500 watts. Look for a 500-watt or 750-watt heater. They may be physically bigger than the 1500-watt heaters.

Also look for heaters that have a "Low" and "High" settings. Read the package and find out how many watts it uses on "Low". Then just use it on the "Low" setting and never turn it to "High".

Space heaters should only be used for temporary and occasional use. If you find yourself using them for more than one hour a day, you should be investigating a more permanent solution. Space heaters are not an acceptable alternative to home heating. A new circuit is almost always needed, and it should probably be a 240-volt circuit.
 
  #9  
Old 12-20-05, 02:16 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 455
Efficient Electric Heating

You can get very efficient Electrical Heat "Econo-heat" at www.eheat.com which only use 425 watts. These panels are so efficient that they easily outperform 1250-1500 watt electric heaters. They are also much safer and of course less expensive to use. They mount on the wall so they don't take any floor space and you can even paint them to match the wall.

I just installed 2 of them in a 12'x15' bedroom in the mountains (it's 17 degrees at night and about 42 degrees during the day) and they work perfectly, keeping the room about 67 degrees on a thermostat. No noise, convection air flow and they only run about 30-40% of the time. When the room is no being used I just turn the thermostat down to 55 and they hardly come on at all.

There is no other source of heat in this particular room but I do have a FAU system in the rest of the house. I will probably add more of these in other bedrooms just because it's so much cleaner and quiter. I don't think it costs any more than the FAU.
 
  #10  
Old 12-20-05, 03:05 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Joe, I understand you are excited and pleased with your new heaters. Many of your claims of safety and appearance are probably true. However, both you and the manufacturer overstate the case when you say that they are efficient and economical. And you certainly way overstate when you say that "they easily outperform 1250-1500 watt electric heaters" (a claim that not even the manufacturer makes). They cost about a third as much to operate per hour only because the produce about a third as much heat per hour. All electric resistance heaters are nearly equal in efficiency (heat for the buck).

Nevertheless, they may still be a good solution for Michael.
 
  #11  
Old 12-20-05, 03:37 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 806
ok this is good information

$80 on a heat panel (eheat) is a bit more than I'd like to spend.

I may try my luck getting a 500 Watt heater

I had a parabolic heater and never had any problems, maybe I'll get a couple more of those but they cost ~$60

thks,

-MC
 
  #12  
Old 12-20-05, 03:37 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 510
John:

From the website it looks like their efficiency claims are based on the fact that the heaters have no fans. This is of course not correct, since the power used by the fan is still converted to heat inside the room being heated (since all power evntually winds up as heat)...

I could see how some types of heaters that can more effectively distribute the heat through the room could be run at a lower setting for the same comfort level and thus be effectively more efficient, but you are right that X amount of watts produces Y amount of heat regardless of the type of heater...
 
  #13  
Old 12-20-05, 04:37 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
small heater

I think another heater worth looking at, and it is not too expensive, is the Lasko 5435. Although it is a 1500 watt heater, that is a maximum output. It is fan forced, has an oscillating feature, and is thermostatically controlled. We keep our house a little cooler in the winter than most people, and when my mother in law moved in one winter (bless her heart) she was naturally cold. Since she was staying in one room, this heater was ideal. Since it has a digital thermostat, it didn't constantly run. It shuts completly off when the temperature is attained. It knocked the frost off her knickers, and didn't cost alot to operate.
I think, trying to heat a house with electric element heat is a futile effort. Room by room, it might be feasible.
 
  #14  
Old 12-21-05, 02:22 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 806
all the electric heaters at Lowe's/Home Depot are 1500 Watts

either that or propane and I don't really want gas in the house around a newborn

so ... where can I get small room heaters (I need about 5 or so of them) that are within about $20 that do not run on 1500 Watts?

I can't believe this is such a complicated issue

thks,

-MC
 
  #15  
Old 12-21-05, 02:35 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
I've seen a number of heaters under $20 at Home Depot that are 1500-watt heaters, but have a "low" setting that uses only 850 watts. In fact, I have two of them myself. Mine are ceramic heaters made by Pelonis, but I bought them a couple of years ago so I don't know if HD carries that specific one.
 
  #16  
Old 12-21-05, 02:36 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 510
  #17  
Old 12-21-05, 03:24 PM
Speedy Petey's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,455
Those Pelonis ceramic heaters were very good. They were not cheap if I recall correctly but they were really made well.
 
  #18  
Old 12-21-05, 09:59 PM
sehenry2000
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
fyi I know most of you already know this but when we talk about the near 100% efficiency of resistance heating (I've seen the comment repeated in this forum), remember that electricity originates from burning coal, oil or natural gas at a lot lower efficiency. Natural gas piped to a home is almost always going to be cheaper to operate than electrical heat. At least I can't think of anywhere that this is not true. And FERC (NatGas) hit $15 per MMBtu recently. Not that long ago it was $2. Whew! Time to check the attic insulation.
 
  #19  
Old 12-22-05, 08:41 AM
thiggy's Avatar
Member
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Alabama
Posts: 718
All of this chatting still doesn't answer the question about why Michael's 15 amp circuit breakers trip with a 12+ amp load. It seems that issue should be addressed and corrected.
 
  #20  
Old 12-22-05, 08:50 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
His issue has been addressed. He has overloaded the circuit. He is pulling MORE than 15 amps.
 
  #21  
Old 12-22-05, 10:23 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 455
Originally Posted by John Nelson
Joe, I understand you are excited and pleased with your new heaters. Many of your claims of safety and appearance are probably true. However, both you and the manufacturer overstate the case when you say that they are efficient and economical. And you certainly way overstate when you say that "they easily outperform 1250-1500 watt electric heaters" (a claim that not even the manufacturer makes). They cost about a third as much to operate per hour only because the produce about a third as much heat per hour. All electric resistance heaters are nearly equal in efficiency (heat for the buck).

Nevertheless, they may still be a good solution for Michael.
Hi John,

Efficiency is relative to what is being done. The reason that standard fan-forced electric heaters are 1250-1500 watts is that they need to be that size to get the job done. Part of the energy used is to run the fan and part is simply because of the basic inefficiency of the radiation technology.

Previous radiant electric heat panels attempted to do the job simply by radiating heat directly to objects and people. The eHeat panels only radiate about 10% directly into the room - the balance is radiated out the back of the panel, heating the wall surface directly behind as well as warming the thin layer of air between the 2 which causes the convection. Since this convection proceeds up the wall and across the ceiling those surfaces also benefit.

If you attempt to heat a 100 sq.ft room with a standard electric heater you will find that over a 24 hour period, it will in fact use almost 2 times as much power as one of these panels (assuming the same temps).

The idea that all power is converted to heat as someone else stated - thus the power required to run a fan is not lost is ridiculous. If that were the case we should be able to just use a heat-power converter to recapture heat and run the fan continuously at no cost.

Perpetual motion machines just don't work.
 
  #22  
Old 12-22-05, 12:30 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 510
Originally Posted by Joe.Carrick
The idea that all power is converted to heat as someone else stated - thus the power required to run a fan is not lost is ridiculous.
OK, where does the power go? (1) Most of the power is dissipated in the winding resistance of the motor as heat. (2) Some power is used to overcome friction (bearings, etc.) - resulting in heat. (3) Finally a small part of the power actually sets the air in motion. The air eventually slows down again due to friction (wind resistance) - resulting in heat. If I put a fan that draws 100W inside a (perfectly insulated) closed box and run it, the inside of that box will equilibrate to the same temperature as if it had a 100W light bulb or a 100W heating element inside.

Originally Posted by Joe.Carrick
If that were the case we should be able to just use a heat-power converter to recapture heat and run the fan continuously at no cost.

Perpetual motion machines just don't work.
The reason that you can't make a perpetual motion machine with this setup is not that all the power is not converted to heat, but rather that a 100% efficient heat to electricity converter does not exist. Actually nothing even close to a 100% efficient heat to electricity converter exists.
 
  #23  
Old 12-22-05, 01:51 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
I think everybody has had their say, and it's unlikely that anyone will be convinced of anything other than what they already "know". I also think that Michael has been given plenty of ideas to address his problem. So while we're still all feeling good, I'm going to close this thread.
 
Closed Thread

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'