Is it Normal for Space Heater Cord to Get Hot?

When using an electric space heater, it is quite normal for the power cord to get warm to the touch during operation. This is because space heaters are high-wattage devices that draw a significant amount of electrical current, which can cause the cord to heat up. However, if the cord becomes excessively hot or the plug prongs feel unusually hot when unplugging the heater, it could be a sign of a more serious issue that requires attention.

Causes of Overheating Space Heater Cords

There are a few potential reasons why a space heater cord may get excessively hot:

  1. Dirty or Corroded Plug Ends: Over time, the plug ends of the cord can accumulate dirt, dust, or corrosion, which can increase the electrical resistance and lead to overheating. This resistance creates heat that is dissipated through the cord.

  2. Worn Receptacle Terminals: The receptacle or outlet that the space heater is plugged into may have worn spring-loaded terminals or insulation displacement connections. This can also increase the resistance and cause the cord to overheat.

  3. Undersized or Inappropriate Extension Cord: Using an extension cord that is not rated for the high wattage of a space heater can cause the cord to overheat. Extension cords should be heavy-duty and specifically designed for high-power appliances.

  4. Faulty Space Heater: In some cases, the space heater itself may be malfunctioning, causing the cord to overheat. This could be due to a problem with the internal wiring or components.

Troubleshooting Overheating Space Heater Cords

is it normal for space heater cord to get hot

If you notice that the cord of your space heater is getting excessively hot, here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue:

  1. Try a Different Outlet: Plug the space heater into a different electrical outlet to see if the cord still gets hot. This can help determine if the problem is with the outlet or the heater itself.

  2. Plug Something Else Into the Outlet: Plug a different device into the same outlet that the space heater was using. If that device’s cord also gets hot, it may indicate an issue with the outlet or the electrical wiring in that area.

  3. Inspect the Cord and Plug: Visually inspect the cord and plug for any signs of damage, such as cracks, fraying, or corrosion. If you notice any issues, it’s best to replace the cord or the entire space heater.

  4. Use a Multimeter: If you have access to a multimeter, you can use it to measure the resistance of the cord and plug. Excessive resistance can indicate a problem that is causing the cord to overheat.

  5. Consult a Qualified Electrician: If you’ve tried the above troubleshooting steps and the issue persists, it’s best to have a qualified electrician inspect the electrical system and the space heater to identify and address the root cause of the overheating.

Preventing Overheating Space Heater Cords

To help prevent the cord of your space heater from overheating, consider the following tips:

  1. Use the Proper Outlet: Ensure that the space heater is plugged directly into a grounded, 120-volt outlet that is rated for the heater’s wattage. Avoid using extension cords or power strips, as they can increase the risk of overheating.

  2. Keep the Cord Clear: Make sure the space heater cord is not coiled, bundled, or covered by any materials, as this can restrict airflow and cause the cord to overheat.

  3. Regularly Inspect the Cord and Plug: Visually check the cord and plug for any signs of damage, wear, or corrosion, and replace the heater if you notice any issues.

  4. Avoid Overloading the Outlet: Ensure that the outlet you’re using for the space heater is not overloaded with other high-wattage devices, as this can also contribute to overheating.

  5. Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions: Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific space heater, including any guidance on cord usage and maintenance.

By understanding the normal behavior of space heater cords and taking proactive steps to prevent overheating, you can help ensure the safe and efficient operation of your space heater.


  1. Is it dangerous for the cord of an electric space heater to get hot? – JustAnswer
  2. Space heater prongs were unusually hot when I unplugged it. How grave of a concern is this (or is it)? – Reddit
  3. Electrical Myths, Part 1: My Space Heater’s Plug Gets Hot – RV Nerds
  4. Space heater plug getting hot – AnandTech Forums
  5. Should the outlet that my space heater uses be getting warm? – DIY Stack Exchange