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Thread: Infrared heater

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Infrared heater

    I have had an infrared heater for several years and love it. Today the hot side of the plug plugged into a short appliance duty extension cord melted into the carpet and nearly started a fire. Instinct is to replace the heater, but wanted to check if there is something I'm missing with regard to getting it working again. Cold snap is upon us and it will take 5-7 days to get a replacement. Brrrrr.....freezing my tush in usually warm Yuma.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

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    Carol Reed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Whats the power supply to the motor home like? Just wondering if there's some kind of a voltage drop situation going on. Just because the cord from the heater to the wall is HD and short, doesn't mean that maybe there isn't a situation feeding into the motor home.

    I'm clearly no expert, but you might want to check the voltage where you are plugging in, and the voltage at the outlet to make sure all is kosher.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
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  3. #3
    Hope you get it fixed. It's unusually cold this year. I'm in Phoenix and Sunday its supposes to drop down to 28.

    Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Toronto, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    Just wondering if there's some kind of a voltage drop situation going on.
    Isn't a radiant heater a resitive load? A restive load draws less amps as the voltage drops.

    If it was me I'd replace the plug and monitor it for a few hours.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    GTA Ontario Canada
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    A heater may be a resistive load but it usually draws a huge current. If the contact between source of power and the element of the radiant heater is bad it will lead to a high resistive connection and that can act like a heating element in its own right causing your problem. Note say you have 12 amps going through the radiant heater. If your contact is poor at any junction and the resistance of said contact starts to rise way above zero good old heat dissipation comes into play as you begin to get a volt drop across the contact. Once you get a reasonable voltdrop at a decent current P= VXI so 12 amps and say 12 volts drop and you got 144 watts of power to have to go somewhere as heat. You can play with the numbers and see where it goes. And by the way this is not DC so it is an inductive load to boot.
    To give you an idea i experienced this very issue during my time in the army. We had an electrical panel that we hooked up to two huge diesel generators.

    Well one day the "sparkie" and i (radio mech) had to replace the main circuit breaker and all went smooth. That night we had to run the generators due to local supply being out and on returning to our cabin we passed by the generators to check on them before retiring. When we opened the panel door the breaker, whose housing is made of bakelite was glowing red. We immediately started our second generator (yeah you know the army standby genny) and cut over and shut down the first one and its panel. Let the breaker cool and we found the only issue was the tightness of the screw where the wire came into the breaker. It had not been tightened down by one of us properly. Its not always easy to get the right tension on those screws and they a real good source of this kind of issue. It fixed the issue and we return everything to the way it was and went to bed. Lesson learned.

    I am amazed that from what i have seen in offices and businesses in North America with the 110v flat pin contact arrangement that there are not many more fires as a result of not only poor contact but from overloading or using under rated extension cords. If basic literacy is an issue then electrical literacy is even a bigger issue and people tend to think if it has a open pin heck plug it in. Even appliances i note are sold with marginal gauge wire such that running a simple thing such as a vacuum cleaner leads to a situation where that cord is warm after say 30 minutes of vacuuming. Once again we have two issues at play, where they manufactured and how, and wire gauge to meet a price point.

    Just a cautionary make sure your smoke and co2 detectors are working. If you want to test your co2 just open a small propane appliance near it. Dont ask me how i know ask Linda.

    My advice would be upgrade the extension cord and cut off both heater and cord and fit your own receptacle and plug with proper joint. Be safe and if in doubt dump it all and get new but check the quality of new. I am not a fan of molded on plugs or receptacles. Have you seen the joint in those things ? Often its just a spot weld. One really needs to get all the conductors joined when a connection takes place not a few of the strands. One is looking to keep not only continuity but also the cross sectional area of the conductor going through the joint. Otherwise you have a voltdrop potential event.

    Were I in your neck of the woods i would be there like a shot to help you out. I nearly lost a good friend when i was younger to a radiant heater issue being left on overnight and a sleeping bag being used as an extra blanket slid off the bed and began leaning against the heater. Fortunately his dad woke up before it was too late when the smoke came pouring into his room. Trouble was averted but it was so so close.
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 12-05-2013 at 02:39 PM.
    cheers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Kansas City, Missouri
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    Was the plug on the extension cord at the wall side warm? If not I'd suspect a loose/worn connection between the heater and extension cord causing some arcing to warm it up like that.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    S E Washington State
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    Mine has a tag on the heater cord that states:

    "Avoid the use of an extension cord because the extension cord may overheat and cause a risk of fire. However, if you have to use an extension cord, the cord shall be no. 16 AWG minimum size and rated not less than 1500 watts."

    I don't know it that is any help, but thought I'd throw it in. Maybe the extension cord wasn't heavy enough.
    "We the People ......"

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Oak Harbor Washington on Whidbey Island
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    On smoke detectors it can not be said enough times. Pushing the button on the smoke detector DOES NOT test the detector for being sensitive to smoke it only tests the circuit in the detector you must use smoke or some sort of canned smoke to test for sensitiveness. The sensor can become coated & not sensitive any longer.

    This is what we used when we managed apartments.

    http://www.amazon.com/CRC-Liquid-Det...r+canned+smoke
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
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    Extension cord is a 12 gauge appliance duty cord 5' long. Only the heater plug was warm. I will get a new plug and replace the molded/melted one and see what happens. This was plugged into the only outlet on what was the washer/dryer outlet. I needed the 5 extra feet to get outside that little closet. Worked last winter flawlessly. No breaker tripped. No alarm went off. Also didn't smell a thing but then I have cold. Reason I found it, is I was out yesterday and turned the thing off. When I got back, I turned it on with the remote. It flicked on and then off. I went to investigate and OMG! The really good news is I am out of propane and awaiting the delivery truck since Monday. Supposed to be here today. Then the furnace works again. Pricey but warm. Temps are 15º colder than normal today and no sign of relief for a week.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

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