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Hot plug on 3kw fan heater - fire risk?
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# 1
arthur_22
Old 01-12-2010, 6:14 PM
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Default Hot plug on 3kw fan heater - fire risk?

I've just bought a 3kw fan heater to replace an old 2kw heater that died. The new heater works well but on unplugging it last night I noticed that the plug (plastic bit) was warm, and the metal pins of the plug were very hot indeed - one was almost burning my hand. The cord was cool.

This sounds very dodgy to me, but then the heater is using a lot of power...should I be worried? I honestly can't remember if my old heater used to heat the plug up.

I've followed the instructions for the heater, so it's plugged straight into the wall (not into an extension cord) etc with nothing covering it or anything like that.

I'd be grateful for any advice before I burn the house down.
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# 2
w50nky
Old 01-12-2010, 6:25 PM
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Try it in another socket to check if it is the socket or the plug top that needs to be changed.
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# 3
Pincher
Old 01-12-2010, 6:34 PM
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It's a 13amp plug, and 3kW at 230V is 3000/230=13amps!

A hot water cylinder immersion element is typically 3kW,
and you are supposed to hardwire it, using heat resistant cable.
Something smells here. Ah yes, burning plastic.
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# 4
arthur_22
Old 01-12-2010, 6:46 PM
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Hi Pincher - are you saying that 3kw heaters are inherently unsafe? There are a number of them on the market, and I found this heater in a number of different high street shops...
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# 5
Cardew
Old 01-12-2010, 6:49 PM
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As it is a new plug(presumably molded?) it is likely to be a faulty socket.

Try another appliance in the same socket.
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# 6
Pincher
Old 01-12-2010, 7:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arthur_22 View Post
Hi Pincher - are you saying that 3kw heaters are inherently unsafe? There are a number of them on the market, and I found this heater in a number of different high street shops...
When is a 13amp fuse supposed to blow? You are running it really close to the edge. The quality of the wiring from the heater to the consumer unit might be good, or it could be minimum spec.
Your car might be capable of 120 miles per hour, but you wouldn't drive it at that speed all the time.
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# 7
Owain Moneysaver
Old 01-12-2010, 8:39 PM
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3kW heaters are not inherently unsafe, but

- some moulded plugs are shoddy
- some 13A sockets are shoddy

The plug should not get hot, or even more than barely warm, even with sustained periods of use. It is a fire risk and should not be used.

Try replacing plug, socket and the fuse in the plug, with a good brand.

Immersion heaters are wired in because

- they operate for hours at a time (a fan heater should cycle on and off with its thermostat)
- airing cupboards are warm locations so cables have to be derated
- fixed heating and hot water loads should be wired to dedicated circuits not socket circuits.
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# 8
arthur_22
Old 01-12-2010, 9:45 PM
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Tried the heater in a different socket with the same results. Unfortunately I don't really have a similar high wattage appliance to test the socket with. Think I am going to just take the heater back - for the plug pins to be so hot that they practically burn my hand makes me worry too much. I don't think I'll try replacing the plug, socket or fuse as then I will burn down the entire street instead of just my place.
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# 9
Pincher
Old 01-12-2010, 10:25 PM
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Lots of 3kW kettles around, compare with that.

You only use the kettle for a few minutes, and you are watching it.

I have a 2kW oil filled heater, setting 4 (of 6) is toasty in a large double bedroom, even when it's zero outside, like the last few days.
I go to bed with it on 1.

I wouldn't go to bed with that 3kW fan heater on.
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# 10
andyrpsmith
Old 01-12-2010, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arthur_22 View Post
Tried the heater in a different socket with the same results. Unfortunately I don't really have a similar high wattage appliance to test the socket with. Think I am going to just take the heater back - for the plug pins to be so hot that they practically burn my hand makes me worry too much. I don't think I'll try replacing the plug, socket or fuse as then I will burn down the entire street instead of just my place.

Absolutely, take it back it is a fire risk. There is a higher than normal resistance in the plug, it should not get really hot at the rated power. Not worth the risk.
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