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Question DetailsAsked on 11/11/2017

I have a portable heater plugged in and the cord is hot but not the wall outlet plate

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1 Answer


IF not too hot to hold onto indefinitely without real pain, probably normal unless it is occurring at just one spot in the cord, in which case it should be repaired/replaced because that would indicate a damaged wire causing more local electrical resistance.

Unfortunately portable applicances are allowed to have cords that get hotter than they should for safety. Since the wall outlet is not hot this is a typical case of undersized appliance wiring, not a household wiring issue - some of which (depending on insulation material) is allowed to be rated as high as 125 degrees Celsius (about 260F) - not hot enough to catch wood or plastic on fire unless the wire is damaged but I have seen plastic countertop damage from it (discoloring and blistering), and of course may be more than hot enough to cause serious skin burns.

Portable heaters are not designed to be used for extended periods of time - if using this for space heating for more than a short period to bump the room temp up, generally a permanent heater should be installed with higher-capacity permanent in-wall wiring.

If the wire shows any signs of melting or softening of the insulation, it should be replaced (though any replacement unless custom-made is not going to be any heavier). You can also get the temp down a bit by elevating the wire (but not stretched tight) so it is surrounded by air - elevate on something non-combustible, but of course don't create a tripping hazard in an area where people or pets walk. And make sure it does not cross over itself or get bundled up because that can cause localized overheating in the wire.

Here is a link to a related question which might be of interest too:

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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