Do Space Heater Melted Power Strip: A Comprehensive Guide

Space heaters are a popular choice for supplemental heating, but they can pose a serious fire hazard if not used properly. One of the most common issues is the melting of power strips when a space heater is plugged into them. This comprehensive guide will delve into the technical details, safety considerations, and step-by-step instructions for safely using space heaters and power strips.

The Dangers of Plugging Space Heaters into Power Strips

Space heaters are high-wattage appliances that require a significant amount of electrical current to operate. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that using a space heater with a power strip or extension cord can lead to overheating, which can result in a fire. This is because power strips and extension cords are not designed to handle the high current draw of a space heater.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters are involved in 32% of home-heating fires and 79% of home-heating fire deaths in the United States. The CPSC reports that space heater-related fires cause approximately 1,100 fires per year, resulting in about 50 deaths, dozens of injuries, and millions of dollars in property damage.

Understanding Power Strip Specifications

do space heater melted power strip

Power strips come in a variety of configurations, including the number of outlets, surge protection rating, and current capacity. The current capacity, measured in amps (A), is the most critical specification when using a space heater.

A power strip’s current capacity represents the maximum amount of current it can safely handle without overheating or causing a fire. For example, a 15A power strip can handle a maximum load of 1,800 watts (15A x 120V = 1,800W).

When using a space heater, it’s essential to ensure that the power strip has a sufficient current capacity to handle the heater’s power requirements. For instance, a 1,500-watt space heater would require a power strip with a current capacity of at least 12.5 amps (1,500W / 120V = 12.5A).

It’s important to note that not all power strips are created equal. Cheap or low-quality power strips may have lower current capacities or may not be designed to handle the high current flows needed for space heaters. It’s recommended to use a power strip that is UL-listed and has a sufficient current capacity for the space heater.

Checking the Current Capacity of a Power Strip

To check the current capacity of a power strip, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the rating label on the power strip, which should indicate the maximum current capacity in amps.
  2. Calculate the maximum wattage the power strip can handle by multiplying the current capacity by the voltage (typically 120V in the US).
  3. Check the power requirements of the space heater, which should be indicated on a label on the heater.
  4. Ensure that the power strip has a sufficient current capacity to handle the space heater’s power requirements.

For example, if a power strip is rated for 15 amps, it can handle a maximum load of 1,800 watts (15A x 120V = 1,800W). If the space heater requires 1,500 watts, the power strip would be suitable for use with the heater.

Electrical Safety Tips for Space Heaters

In addition to ensuring that the power strip has a sufficient current capacity, it’s essential to follow these electrical safety tips when using space heaters:

  1. Regularly check cords and plugs: Inspect the cords and plugs of electrical appliances, including space heaters, for any signs of fraying or damage.
  2. Keep cords away from heat: Ensure that electrical cords, including those for space heaters, are kept away from heat sources to prevent damage and potential fire hazards.
  3. Leave enough space for heat dissipation: Provide adequate clearance around any electrical appliance, including space heaters, to allow for proper heat dissipation and prevent overheating.
  4. Never leave turned-on appliances unattended: Always turn off and unplug space heaters when not in use, and never leave them unattended while in operation.

By following these safety guidelines and understanding the technical specifications of power strips, you can safely use space heaters and reduce the risk of fire-related incidents.


Space heaters should never be plugged into power strips or extension cords, as they can easily overload and overheat these devices, leading to a fire. Instead, space heaters should be plugged directly into a grounded wall outlet to ensure safe operation.

When using space heaters, it’s crucial to understand the technical specifications of power strips, particularly their current capacity, and to follow electrical safety best practices. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the warmth of a space heater while minimizing the risk of a potentially devastating fire.


  1. Good Housekeeping: Why You Should Never Plug a Space Heater Into a Power Strip
  2. Today: Plugging a Space Heater Into a Power Strip Can Be Disastrous. Here’s Why
  3. Reddit: Space Heaters and Power Strips
  4. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: Space Heaters
  5. National Fire Protection Association: Heating
  6. Underwriters Laboratories: Heat Safety