How to Keep Space Heater from Tripping Breaker: A Comprehensive Guide

Space heaters are a popular solution for supplemental heating, but they can often trip circuit breakers due to their high power consumption. To ensure your space heater operates safely and reliably without causing electrical issues, it’s essential to understand the technical specifications and implement the right DIY solutions. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the necessary information and step-by-step instructions to keep your space heater from tripping the breaker.

Understanding Circuit Breakers and Power Consumption

Circuit breakers are designed to protect your home’s electrical system from overloads and short circuits. They are rated to handle a specific amount of electrical current, typically measured in amperes (Amps). When the current flowing through the circuit exceeds the breaker’s rating, the breaker will trip, cutting off the power supply to prevent damage to the wiring and potential fire hazards.

Space heaters, with their high wattage requirements, often exceed the capacity of general-purpose circuits, which are typically rated for 15 or 20 Amps. A standard 1,500-watt space heater, for example, can draw up to 12.5 Amps on a 120-volt circuit, leaving little room for other electrical devices before the breaker trips.

To calculate the power consumption of your space heater, use the following formula:

Power (Watts) = Voltage (Volts) x Current (Amps)

For a 120-volt circuit, a 1,500-watt space heater would draw approximately 12.5 Amps (1,500 Watts / 120 Volts = 12.5 Amps).

Dedicated Circuit for Space Heater

how to keep space heater from tripping breaker

The most effective solution to prevent your space heater from tripping the breaker is to plug it into a dedicated circuit. A dedicated circuit is a separate electrical circuit that is reserved for a single high-power appliance, such as a space heater, and is not shared with other devices.

Dedicated circuits are typically rated for 20 or 30 Amps, providing ample capacity to handle the power demands of a space heater without overloading the circuit. To determine if your home has a dedicated circuit available, you can check the circuit breaker panel or consult a professional electrician.

If a dedicated circuit is not available, you may need to have an electrician install a new circuit specifically for your space heater. This may involve running new wiring from the breaker panel to the desired location, which can be a more involved and costly process.

Reducing the Electrical Load

If a dedicated circuit is not an option, you can try to reduce the electrical load on the circuit by unplugging other devices that are connected to the same circuit as the space heater. This includes items such as:

  • Lamps
  • Televisions
  • Computers
  • Small appliances

By removing these additional electrical loads, you can free up more capacity on the circuit, reducing the likelihood of the breaker tripping.

Using a Power Strip with Circuit Breaker

Another solution is to use a power strip with a built-in circuit breaker. These power strips are designed to provide an additional layer of protection against overloads. When the total power draw exceeds the power strip’s rating, the built-in breaker will trip, cutting off power to the connected devices.

It’s important to note that a power strip with a circuit breaker is not a substitute for a dedicated circuit. It can provide temporary relief, but it does not address the underlying issue of the circuit’s capacity being exceeded. If the space heater continues to trip the power strip’s breaker, you should consider installing a dedicated circuit.

Consulting a Professional Electrician

If you’ve tried the above solutions and the space heater still trips the breaker, it’s best to consult a professional electrician. They can assess your home’s electrical system, identify the root cause of the issue, and provide a more permanent solution.

An electrician may recommend:

  • Upgrading the circuit breaker to a higher-rated model
  • Installing a new dedicated circuit for the space heater
  • Redistributing the electrical load across multiple circuits
  • Upgrading the electrical service to your home, if the overall power demand is exceeding the capacity

By working with a qualified electrician, you can ensure that your space heater is properly integrated into your home’s electrical system, preventing any further breaker tripping issues.


Keeping a space heater from tripping the breaker requires a thorough understanding of your home’s electrical system and the power demands of the space heater. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively prevent breaker tripping and enjoy the warmth of your space heater without any electrical disruptions.

Remember, safety should always be the top priority when dealing with electrical systems. If you’re unsure about any aspect of the process or feel uncomfortable performing any of the DIY solutions, it’s best to consult a professional electrician to ensure the job is done safely and correctly.


  1. How to Fix Tripped Circuit Breaker from Space Heater – YouTube
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  5. When the Space Heater Trips the Circuit Breaker – Frye Electric, Inc.