Space Heater Keeps Tripping Breaker After a Few Minutes

Space heaters are a popular and convenient way to heat a room, but they can be a source of frustration if they keep tripping the circuit breaker.

When a space heater repeatedly trips the breaker, it can be a sign of an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

In this article, we will explore the common causes of space heaters tripping the circuit breaker and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

Why Space Heaters Trip Breakers

Some of the reasons why space heaters may keep on tripping your circuit breaker after a few minutes include circuit overload, faulty space heaters, damaged circuit breakers, or even faulty extension cords [1].

why space heater trips circuit breaker
Space Heater

These have been discussed in detail here below:

Circuit Overload

One of the most common reasons why a space heater trips a breaker is because it’s drawing too much power from the circuit.

This can happen if you have too many other appliances or devices on the same circuit. If you’re using the heater in a room with other electronics, try unplugging some of them to see if that solves the problem.

Faulty Space Heater

Another reason why a space heater might trip a breaker is that the heater itself is faulty. This can happen if the wiring inside the heater is damaged or if there’s a short circuit somewhere [2].

If you suspect that your space heater is faulty, stop using it immediately and have it inspected by a professional.

Damaged Circuit Breaker

Sometimes the problem isn’t with the space heater itself but with the circuit breaker. If the breaker is old or damaged, it might trip more easily than it should.

If you suspect that the breaker is the problem, you should have it inspected by a professional electrician.

Extension Cords

Using an extension cord to plug in your space heater can also cause it to trip the breaker. Extension cords are not designed to handle the amount of power that a space heater requires, so it’s best to avoid using them altogether.

In conclusion, there are several reasons why a space heater might trip a breaker. By understanding these common causes, you can take steps to prevent them from happening and stay warm and comfortable all winter long [3].

Impact of Overloading Electrical Circuits

Overloading electrical circuits can have serious consequences, including tripping the circuit breaker and causing damage to appliances and electrical systems.

Space heaters, in particular, are a common culprit of circuit overloads, especially in older homes with outdated electrical systems.

When too many devices are plugged into a single circuit, the electrical current can become overloaded, causing the circuit breaker to trip. This can be a safety hazard, as overloaded circuits can overheat and potentially start a fire.

In addition to the risk of fire, overloading circuits can also cause damage to appliances and electrical systems. The excess electrical current can cause appliances to malfunction or even completely fail.

It can also cause damage to the wiring and electrical components of the home, leading to costly repairs.

To prevent circuit overloads, it is important to be mindful of the number of devices plugged into a single circuit.

It is recommended to use separate circuits for high-wattage appliances, such as space heaters, and to avoid using extension cords whenever possible.

Regular electrical inspections by a licensed electrician can also help identify potential issues and prevent overloading circuits.

By taking these precautions, homeowners can ensure the safety and longevity of their electrical systems and appliances.

Choosing the Right Space Heater

When it comes to choosing the right space heater, there are a few factors to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Size and Power

The size of the space heater you need depends on the size of the room you want to heat. A general rule of thumb is to choose a heater that provides 10 watts of heating power for every square foot of space.

For example, a 1500-watt heater is suitable for a 150-square-foot room.

2. Type of Heater

There are several types of space heaters available, including:

  • Fan-forced heaters
  • Radiant heaters
  • Convection heaters
  • Ceramic heaters

Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs.

3. Safety Features

Safety should be a top priority when choosing a space heater. Look for models that have safety features such as:

  • Overheating protection
  • Tip-over switch
  • Cool-touch exterior

4. Energy Efficiency

Space heaters can be a cost-effective way to heat a room, but only if they are energy-efficient. Look for models that have an Energy Star rating or other energy-saving features such as:

  • Programmable thermostat
  • Timer
  • Eco-mode

5. Noise Level

Some space heaters can be noisy, which can be a problem if you plan to use them in a bedroom or other quiet space. Look for models that have a low decibel rating or a “silent mode” option.

By considering these factors, you can choose the right space heater for your needs and avoid the frustration of constantly tripping circuit breakers.

How to Stop Space Heaters from Tripping Breakers

Proper Placement

One of the most common reasons for a space heater tripping the circuit breaker is an overloaded circuit. To avoid this, it is essential to place the space heater in a room with fewer appliances and electronics.

If possible, use a dedicated circuit for your space heater. This way, fewer appliances will share the circuit, reducing the chances of an overload.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your space heater can help prevent it from tripping the circuit breaker. Make sure to clean the heater regularly, especially the heating elements.

Dust and debris can accumulate on the heating elements, causing them to overheat and trip the circuit breaker.

Additionally, check the power cord and plug for any damage or wear and tear. Replace them if necessary.

Using a Dedicated Circuit

Using a dedicated circuit for your space heater is an effective way to prevent it from tripping the circuit breaker. A dedicated circuit ensures that the space heater is the only appliance connected to the circuit.

This reduces the chances of an overload and prevents the circuit breaker from tripping. If you are not sure how to install a dedicated circuit, consult a licensed electrician.

By following these tips, you can prevent your space heater from tripping the circuit breaker and enjoy a warm and cozy environment in your home or office.

When to Consult a Professional

While troubleshooting a space heater that keeps tripping the breaker can be frustrating, there are times when it’s best to consult a professional. Here are a few situations when it’s recommended to call in an expert:

1. Continual Tripping

If the space heater continues to trip the breaker even after trying different outlets and reducing the heat setting, it’s time to call in a professional. This could indicate a more serious issue with the wiring or the circuit breaker itself.

2. Burning Smell

If the space heater emits a burning smell or smoke, immediately turn it off and unplug it. This could indicate a serious problem with the heater and should be looked at by a professional.

3. Strange Noises

If the space heater makes strange noises or rattles, it could indicate a loose part or debris inside the heater. This could cause damage to the heater and potentially start a fire. A professional should be consulted to assess and repair the issue.

4. Old or Faulty Wiring

If the wiring in the home is old or faulty, it could be causing the space heater to trip the breaker.

A professional electrician can assess the wiring and make any necessary repairs or upgrades to ensure the safe and proper functioning of the space heater.

In general, if the issue with the space heater tripping the breaker persists or seems to be getting worse, it’s best to consult a professional. They can assess the situation and provide a solution that will ensure the safety of the home and its occupants.


In conclusion, a space heater tripping the breaker is a common issue that can be resolved by troubleshooting the problem.

The main causes of a space heater tripping the breaker include circuit overload, a damaged wall outlet or power cord, a dirty air filter, a broken heating element, and a faulty thermostat.

To prevent space heaters from tripping breakers, it is crucial to understand the reasons behind this common issue.

Firstly, overloading the circuit by connecting too many appliances to the same circuit can cause the breaker to trip.

Secondly, using a damaged wall outlet or power cord can also cause the breaker to trip.

It is recommended to use a dedicated circuit for space heaters to avoid overloading the circuit. Additionally, inspecting the wall outlet and power cord for damage before use is essential to prevent accidents and ensure the proper functioning of the heater.

Lastly, regular maintenance of the space heater, such as cleaning the air filter and checking the heating element and thermostat, can prevent the heater from tripping the breaker.

By following these simple steps, users can enjoy the warmth of their space heaters without any interruptions or safety concerns.

Related Post: Space heater power strip myth.

About Eng. Nelson K.

Nelson is a Chemical and Process Engineer with vast theoretical and practical knowledge of Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, and Mass Transfer.