Space Heaters - Be Cautious!

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
For the past few days I've been smelling a chemical-type odor in my entryway, right outside my bedroom door. I couldn't find where it was coming from.

After I was finished with my outside chores, I came in and sat in my recliner to rest my back. I looked up at the doorway opposite and saw this:

heater overload a.jpg


This is the plug from my oil filled radiator-type electric heater. I've been using it the past couple weeks because the heat from the wood stove doesn't quite reach into my bedroom.
heater overload b.jpg

It looks like the plug got too hot and eventually caught fire. I don't think it involved the wiring in the house because the circuit didn't pop. This has been a very scary realization for me. This is the only radiator type electric heater I use, but I do worry about all the electrical stuff in my four tortoise sheds.
 

Krista S

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Saskatchewan
That’s pretty scary! Thank goodness you caught it when you did. Thanks for sharing this to give us all a little reminder to be extra cautious and vigilant.
 

jaizei

Unknown Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Location (City and/or State)
Earth
For the past few days I've been smelling a chemical-type odor in my entryway, right outside my bedroom door. I couldn't find where it was coming from.

After I was finished with my outside chores, I came in and sat in my recliner to rest my back. I looked up at the doorway opposite and saw this:

View attachment 316741


This is the plug from my oil filled radiator-type electric heater. I've been using it the past couple weeks because the heat from the wood stove doesn't quite reach into my bedroom.
View attachment 316742

It looks like the plug got too hot and eventually caught fire. I don't think it involved the wiring in the house because the circuit didn't pop. This has been a very scary realization for me. This is the only radiator type electric heater I use, but I do worry about all the electrical stuff in my four tortoise sheds.


If I had to guess, the part of the outlet that the prongs go into may have become loose over time so that it didn't make good contact and was arcing. Or carbon buildup. Or both.

The 'chemical smell' may have been ozone created by the arcing.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
If I had to guess, the part of the outlet that the prongs go into may have become loose over time so that it didn't make good contact and was arcing. Or carbon buildup. Or both.

The 'chemical smell' may have been ozone created by the arcing.
I was sitting here eating my lunch and something caught my eye. Every so often the outlet would spark and arc. I couldn't get the breaker box open so I called the fire dept. They closed the cct and removed the burned out outlet. The prongs from the heater plug were still in the outlet along with all the melted debris and every so often it would arc. Why didn't the breaker pop?

I heat my house with the wood stove. And because the tv weather guy has brainwashed me about 'no burn days' I'm frugal about making a fire. So because the sun is shining today I didn't make a fire and instead I turned the space heater on in my bedroom. My mistake was flipping on both switches and dialing it up to #6, then going off and forgetting it was on.
 

Lyn W

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Thank goodness you were there.
Can you get circuit breaker plugs over there.
I use these with my tort lamps and heaters as a back up.
1612041302923.png
 
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jaizei

Unknown Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Location (City and/or State)
Earth
I was sitting here eating my lunch and something caught my eye. Every so often the outlet would spark and arc. I couldn't get the breaker box open so I called the fire dept. They closed the cct and removed the burned out outlet. The prongs from the heater plug were still in the outlet along with all the melted debris and every so often it would arc. Why didn't the breaker pop?

I heat my house with the wood stove. And because the tv weather guy has brainwashed me about 'no burn days' I'm frugal about making a fire. So because the sun is shining today I didn't make a fire and instead I turned the space heater on in my bedroom. My mistake was flipping on both switches and dialing it up to #6, then going off and forgetting it was on.

Normal breakers can't detect the arcing. The hot side would have to make contact with something grounded for a normal breaker to trip. It's one of the reasons why arc fault breakers became a code requirement.
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
For the past few days I've been smelling a chemical-type odor in my entryway, right outside my bedroom door. I couldn't find where it was coming from.

After I was finished with my outside chores, I came in and sat in my recliner to rest my back. I looked up at the doorway opposite and saw this:

View attachment 316741


This is the plug from my oil filled radiator-type electric heater. I've been using it the past couple weeks because the heat from the wood stove doesn't quite reach into my bedroom.
View attachment 316742

It looks like the plug got too hot and eventually caught fire. I don't think it involved the wiring in the house because the circuit didn't pop. This has been a very scary realization for me. This is the only radiator type electric heater I use, but I do worry about all the electrical stuff in my four tortoise sheds.


Yikes ! 🔥🔥
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
If I had to guess, the part of the outlet that the prongs go into may have become loose over time so that it didn't make good contact and was arcing. Or carbon buildup. Or both.

The 'chemical smell' may have been ozone created by the arcing.
Interestingly, @jaizei , the electrician that I hired to replace the outlet said this exact same thing (about the loose contact)!
 
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