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If In Doubt -- Call An Expert

January 28, 2016
Emmetsburg News

To the Editor:

In addition to Fire Chief Frank Kliegl's "Warning For Supplementary Heating," I would like to add:

Electric space heaters are great for supplemental heating but should be used with safety in mind. A space heater should never be used with an extension cord unless cord is properly sized. The cord will have a tag on it that tells the size wire.

If an extension cord needs to be used before the heater the size wire label should read #12-2 or 12-3.

Never use the little brown or white lighting extension cords. The main electric distribution panel is usually of the "switch/breaker" type or "plus fuses" type.

Near never should the size fuses controlling lights and outlets be larger than 20 amps. Many times the 20 amps fuses are replaced with 25/30 amp fuses. In this case larger is not better. These fuses protect the wires to your lights and outlets and will interrupt the circuit if over loaded and prevent a fire. Electric heaters can over load the electric circuit.

If there are 30 amp fuses protecting your lights and outlets they should be changed back to 15/20 amp fuses or better yet ask an electrician to inspect the panel for safety.

Also let your nose and your fingers be your internal safety guide.

If you smell hot or burning plastic investigate immediately find and isolate the source. For safety sake, feel the cords on appliances, electric heaters, etc. ,with your fingers/hands. If they are very warm to the touch, turn off the unit and investigate for a problem.

Best advice would be "if in doubt - call an expert."

(signed) Bill Crook

Cylinder, IA



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