How Many Space Heaters Can I Run? [Safely]

You've probably heard that space heaters can pose a fire risk if they are not used properly. If you are trying to heat a larger space and want to know how many of these appliances you can safely use, we can help you. We researched space heaters in depth so that you'll know for sure how many you can have plugged in.

You can safely run one space heater on each circuit you have available. If you have a room that has plugs on multiple circuits, you will be able to operate as many space heaters as you have circuits.

Now that we know the factors that determine how many space heaters you can safely use, we'll take a look at each one in detail. You might also be wondering if you can plug more than one space heater into a single outlet or if it's safe to run a space heater all night. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

What determines how many space heaters you can use safely?

A space heater uses a TON of electricity. In fact, it uses just as much, if not more, than any of the other household appliances you might have.

While it might be hard to believe that something this small requires more juice than something like a refrigerator, the reality is that these little heat sources are going to need a lot of energy from your breaker box.

A typical space heater will use about 1,500 watts of power. This means it will require 12.5 amps to operate. Most residential circuits are only 15 amps, not leaving you with much room for anything else.

This means that if you have a space heater plugged into one circuit that it will need to be the only appliance on that same circuit.

A circuit can consist of multiple electric outlets. So just because you have four outlets in a room doesn't mean that you can use four space heaters.

Look at your breaker box to determine the outlets assigned to any particular circuit. Know before you ever plug in more than one space heater to avoid overloading your breaker.

Overloaded electrical outlet on white. How Many Space Heaters Can I Run [Safely]

Can I plug two space heaters into one outlet?

There might be circumstances where you feel the need to run more than a single space heater. While this can be safe to do so, it's important to make sure that you have the available space on your breaker box. 

You shouldn't have more than one appliance running on a single circuit. With this in mind, it's important to know that you should NEVER plug more than one space heater into a single outlet.

If you do this, you will run the risk of tripping the breaker, as the heaters will pull more current than the breaker is capable of delivering to them.

You might be tempted to use extension cords to circumvent a lack of outlets. Don't do this, either. Extension cords are not meant to carry this much juice and can short out or really heat up. If the cord gets too hot, it can cause a fire.

Burned 250V uk style socket and converter. Improper use of AC Power Plugs and Sockets

Is it safe to run a space heater all night long?

Space heaters can be run for long periods without any danger as long as they have been safely placed. Later in this post, we'll look at what safe placement means. For now, just know that these appliances can operate all night long provided proper supervision.

A space heater requires that someone be awake and present while it is being used. Though they can run all night long, they should NEVER be used while you are sleeping. Space heaters need to have proper supervision so that they can be shut off in case a danger should arise.

In short, turn off and unplug the space heater before you go to bed.

Woman reading book in living room, focus on electric fan heater

Should a space heater have its own dedicated breaker?

At this point, we know that space heaters will use up a lot of electricity. As long as you don't overload the circuit that it's on, you shouldn't need to worry about having a dedicated breaker for this appliance. But some circumstances might be worthy of considering this task.

If you plan to use space heaters over a long period, a dedicated breaker might be the way to go. This is especially important if you want to use the space heater in the same room as another appliance.

The space heater should not be used on the same circuit as another large appliance, as the combination of the amperage required will trip the breaker and/or increase the fire risk.

Know what outlets in a room are assigned to what breaker. This will keep you from overloading a circuit when you plug in a space heater.

If there is not enough room on any particular circuit for your space heater or if you plan on using the space heater as a primary form of heat, then you should contact an electrician so that they can add a new circuit for the space heater to your breaker box.

Male electrician turning off power for electrical outlet at circuit breaker box

Space heater safety tips to keep you and your family out of harm's way

While space heaters can provide needed supplemental heat in your home, they can be dangerous if not properly used. The last thing you'll want to happen is a fire from your negligence. But if you follow these tips, you can greatly decrease any dangers they pose.

A level, non-carpeted surface is a must

First, you will want to ensure that the space heater is on a level surface. The floor it is set on should also not be carpeted. If there is carpeting, you will want to place a piece of board under it so that no part of the heater touches the carpeting.

Plywood will work best for this. Just make sure that the piece you use is large enough so that none of the heat from the appliance hits any part of the carpeting.

The placement of a space heater goes a long way toward ensuring your safety

You need to be careful where the heater is placed. Keep it out of a child's bedroom. You also want to avoid putting it too close to anything that could be combustible. Gas cans, oily rags, and other flammable materials should be more than five feet from the heater.

You also do not want the heater to be next to bedding, curtains, or any other material that might ignite if too much heat is applied to them.

Childproof and pet-proof it

If you have small children or pets, you should know that there is a danger of serious burns from a running space heater. To avoid these injuries, it's a great idea to establish a perimeter around the appliance so that no child or animal can harm themselves.

Erect barriers so that the space heater is not able to be touched. Ensure that the barriers you construct are several feet away from the heater itself. This will greatly decrease the risk of a fire.

Don't leave it plugged in when not in use!

Unplug the space heater after every use. When unplugging the unit, be sure to grip the plug and pull it from the outlet rather than just yank the cord out from it. Check this cord regularly for wear or defects. Never use a space heater that has a frayed or otherwise defective cord.

Earlier in this post, we mentioned that you should never plug two space heaters into the same outlet. It's also important to never plug a space heater into a power strip. These are not meant to carry the electricity generated to operate a space heater. A power strip will overheat, potentially causing a fire.

Never leave a working space heater unsupervised! 

Heater against a wooden wall. How Many Space Heaters Can I Run [Safely]

Final thoughts

Space heaters are great at providing supplemental heat to a home or work area, but certain safety precautions must be followed. If you fail to do so, you will put yourself and your family at great risk of fire. Be sure to keep the heater away from anything flammable, and always unplug it after each use. 

We hope this post answered all of your questions. For additional information, we suggest reading the following posts:

Space Heater Making Crackling Or Clicking Noise—What Could Be Wrong?

What Size Generator Do I Need To Run A Space Heater?

How Many Watts Does A Space Heater Use?

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