Informational Guide

Space Heater Tripping The Breaker?

If you space heater keeps tripping the breaker you will want a quick fix. We focus on the most likely causes and how to solve these issues.

by Josh M

You want to have access to a space heater during the winter. Without one, you won’t receive efficient room-by-room heating. However, they can cause some issues you’ll want to take care of.

If your space heater trips the breaker, you want to take care of it now.

Overloaded Circuit Breaker

Every circuit breaker can only handle so many amps. When you go above that, the circuits are going to be overloaded and shut down. Most can take on 20 amps at a time.

Most of the time, it’s best to give your space heater its own circuit breaker, especially if it’s causing problems or a larger space heater model. You can also try running the heater on a lowered heat setting since it uses less power that way.

You can also learn how to compute the amount of electricity a space heater uses by visiting our post on this topic.

Extension Wire Protected Indicator Light

Overheating Circuit Breaker

Additionally, you could be overheating the circuit breaker. All types of space heaters can have very hot parts and cords, which may mean it’s taking more power than it’s supposed to. This is not a problem that you can fix- and it’s very dangerous! Make sure to toss it. This could lead to a fire if you continue using the appliance.

Old and Weak Circuit Breaker

You may want to check when your circuit breaker was installed. If it’s old and weak, it’s not going to function properly and might not be able to handle enough appliances. Make sure that you have a professional replace it for you!

Circuit breakers have a general lifespan of about 30 years. If yours is coming up on that date, make sure that you replace it. You’ll get more use out of all your appliances that way.

Misuse Of Extension Cords

You don’t want to connect your extension cords to a space heater- they simply can’t keep up with the demand of the appliance. It could get hot, overload the breaker, or even lead to a fire! You want to make sure you always plug your appliance right into the wall.

If you can’t, you might need to move some things around at home before you can use them properly. That way, you can stay safe but still get to use your space heater during the wintertime.

Extension Wire in the Living Room

Faulty Space Heater

A faulty space heater turns off, wherever you plug it in. When it’s still not working right, even on its own circuit, it’s time to replace it. You don’t want it to melt internal parts or cause a fire.

How To Prevent The Space Heater From Tripping the Circuit Breaker?

In the winter, it’s all too easy to blow the circuit breaker. This is because we tend to have more appliances plugged in. It’s best to stop the space heater from continuously tripping the breaker since that means that it’s a danger to you and the others in your home.

Inspect the wires on the heater for damage. You want to keep your eyes open to exposed wires and other issues. Then, make sure you’re only using one space heater on a circuit. Plugging in two can be very problematic.

Finally, have an electrician inspect the wiring. If it’s messed up, you’re going to run into problems no matter what you do with the heater!

See our top picks for apartment-sized space heaters.

Importance Of Space Heaters Safety Features

  • Automatic Shut-off
    If the appliance senses that something is wrong or that it’s overheating, the unit will shut down. This is essential for avoiding fires. Plus, if you leave the room, you want to know nothing bad will happen while you’ve stepped out. Also, leaving the space heater overnight is not advisable.
  • A GFCI Plug (what is GFCI)
    A GFCI is known as a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter plug. It acts quickly to shut off electricity when something goes awry. It only takes the appliance a 1/40th of a second to accomplish this- effectively ending any problems before they can start.
  • Safety Certification
    Additionally, never buy anything that isn’t safety certified. You want to know that your new space heater is safe to use at home. If it doesn’t have a certification, don’t even consider buying it.
  • A Sturdy Cord
    Finally, you want a sturdy power cord. They can wear thin if they’re fragile, leading to several problems that could cause the breaker to trip. Plus, a stronger cord can handle more power at one time, helping the appliance to run properly.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Which size breaker is ideal for a space heater?

A 1500 watt heater that uses 120 volts requires a breaker of 15.6 amps, at least. That means you’re going to need to set it up with a 20 amp breaker. You can determine what size to use by multiplying the current by 125%.

Why does my breaker keep tripping with nothing plugged in?

It could be any of the issues we discussed above. You could be overloading, overheating, or using an old breaker. The appliance also might be faulty, which can cause several other issues. You’ll want to figure out what’s wrong as soon as possible.

How many times can a breaker trip?

You never want your breaker to trip more than four or five times before replacing it. It may get weak and not shut down the next time, when it desperately needs to. For your own safety, always replace the breaker as soon as you can.

Can a bad breaker cause a fire?

Yes, because a bad breaker will allow the wires on your devices and appliances to overheat. From there, they can easily melt or catch fire. Never leave a bad breaker in place!


To summarize, there are ways you can stop your heater from constantly tripping the circuit. Make sure you’re using the space heater correctly. Before winter comes, you should also have electricians stop by and inspect your breakers.

Check out other heating solutions for your home:

Most Efficient Heating System
Best Small Room Heaters
Best Bathroom Heaters

Last Updated on November 21, 2021

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.