Surge protectors are the best safety devices to handle voltage spikes and power surges and keep your devices safe. But can you use a surge protector with your space heater?
Well, we can’t answer this with a yes or no, because there are certain things you need to consider before using a surge protector with a space heater.
In this article, I’m going to tell you if you should use a surge protector with your heater. Also, I’m going to do some calculations that will make it easy for you to choose the suitable surge protector for your space heater.
Quick answer: Yes, you can use a surge protector with your space heater. In the US, you can use a 15A surge protector with your space heater, but make sure your space heater’s power consumption does not exceed 1800 watts. You can’t run a 2,000 watts space heater on a 15A circuit in the US anyways, so not being able to use a surge protector for this rating is not an issue.
In Europe and the UK, you can use a 15A surge protector with almost all space heaters. However, you don’t need a surge protector with your space heater, as heating elements of space heaters can easily handle power surges.
Can you use a surge protector with a space heater?
Yes, you can use a surge protector with your space heater if it can withstand the current your space heater draws.
For example, if your space heater draws a 13A current, the surge protector should withstand more than a 13A current. In that case, a surge protector with a 15A ampere rating would work for you.
Alright, before it gets confusing for you, I’m going to do some calculations to make it easy.
Can you use a 15A surge protector with your space heater?
Now, I’m going to see if I can use a 15A surge protector for different space heaters (power consumption).
For calculations, I’m going to use a simple formula.
P (power consumption) = V (outlet voltage) x I (the current your space heater draws)
Now, if we have our space heater’s power consumption and our region’s outlet voltage, then we can easily calculate the current our space heater would draw.
Also, I’ll calculate the current for both the US and Europe regions because, in both regions, outlet voltage is different, i.e. 110V-120V, and 220V-230v, respectively.
|Heater power||Can you use a surge protector? (US-region 120V circuit)||Can you use a surge protector? (Europe & UK – 230V circuit)|
|800 Watts||Yes (draws 6.66 amps)||Yes (draws 3.47 amps)|
|1,000 Watts||Yes (draws 8.33 amps)||Yes (draws 4.34 amps)|
|1,500 Watts||Yes (draws 12.5 amps)||Yes (draws 6.52 amps)|
|2,000 Watts||No (draws 16.66 amps)||Yes (draws 8.69 amps)|
So, for Europe and the UK region, it’s totally fine to use a 15A surge protector with your space heater.
But, for the US region, you can’t run your space heater with a surge protector if your heater’s power consumption exceeds 1800 watts.
Typically, 1500 watts space heaters are used, so in that case, it’s completely fine to use a surge protector.
So, now you’re well aware that you can run your space heater with a surge protector.
But there are other crucial things you should notice if you want to use an effective surge protector with your heater.
- Suppressed voltage rating of the surge protector (clamping voltage).
- Response time of the surge protector.
- Joule rating of the surge protector.
Suppressed voltage rating of the surge protector
When you see the packaging of the surge protector, you may notice a clamping voltage or suppressed voltage rating on it.
Now, let me explain it to you.
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that a surge protector saves your devices from a voltage spike.
So, the suppressed voltage rating tells us how much of a voltage our surge protector can suppress and transfer to the ground to save the device from the spike.
Usually, surge protectors come with 330V-4000V clamping voltage. (source)
So, the key is simple. We should select a surge protector with minimum clamping voltage so that when there is a spike, it transfers the exceeding voltage to the ground.
This is why clamping voltage is also called let-through voltage. If the clamping voltage is high, it will pass the exceeding voltage to your space heater, causing it to be damaged.
Response time of the surge protector
When a voltage increase lasts longer than three nanoseconds (billionths of a second), it is called a transient voltage or power surge. An increase lasting less than three nanoseconds is called a spike.
Surge protectors don’t respond immediately to power surges, as there is a slight delay. Your space heater will be exposed to the surge for a more extended period if the response time of your surge protector is more.
Choose a surge protector that responds in less than one nanosecond.
Joule rating of the surge protector
Joule is an energy measurement, so the joule rating tells us how much total energy your surge protector can absorb.
Due to voltage spikes, there will obviously be a power surge, as voltage and power are directly related to each other. (P=VI)
As 1W = 1 J/s (1 joule of energy absorbed for a second)
So, if there is a power surge of, let’s say, 70,000 watts, the surge protector will absorb 70,0000 joules per second.
Typical surges last for 50 microseconds (source)
So, for 50 microseconds, the surge protector will absorb 3.5 joules. (It’s not accurate as we’re discussing usual scenarios).
In that case, a 30,000-joule surge protector can handle 750-780 power surges. After that, you must replace your surge protector.
Does using a surge protector with a space heater make sense?
No, you don’t really need a surge protector with most space heaters because they are not sensitive devices that break quickly (such as computers).
Most space heaters have resistance heating elements that can easily withstand voltage spikes and power surges. Usually, you need surge protectors for sensitive devices with electronic components, such as computers, laptops, and TVs.
So, I’d not recommend using a surge protector with your space heater. But, still, if you want an extra protection layer, I will suggest the best surge protector below.
Which surge protector is suitable for heavy-duty devices?
The best surge protector or power strip for heavy-duty devices such as space heaters is this Belkin Power Strip Surge Protector (click to view it on amazon).
Belkin is my favorite surge protector because it’s the best in price, quality, and power absorption rating.
This surge protector can absorb 3940 joules (more than enough for your space heater) and withstand 15A. So, for a 1500 watts space heater, this surge protector can efficiently serve the purpose.