It's an older DeLonghi. We have several, but this is the only one that
is going bad like this. I replaced the plug housing with a modular one
from Ace, but the cord itself heats up. Do I need a better plug, or do I
need to open the appliance housing itself (if possible) and replace the
entire cord? Other than the heat, the cord does not seem brittle or
frayed, nor was the cord in a location subjected to movement or abuse.
Along the same lines, one that was taken to work had its plug replaced
by the building maintenance with one claimed to be "heavy duty", but I'm
not sure what is meant by that -- and it's a grounded plug, while the
cord is just plain polarized (meaning the ground plug is useless).
Replace with a proper two-wire plug?
Where along the cord does it heat up. I ask because a bad
connection at the plug end will cause the cord to heat at
that end. If the cord heats along the entire length, then
the cord is too small and should be replace (or the
appliance has changed as is using a lot more current). If
the cord heats at the plug end, the plug may not be bad, the
outlet it is plugged into maybe worn and need replacement.
There is no reason to remove a grounded plug as long as it
is properly wired to the two strand cord (i.e., the ground
should not have any wire attached to it).
Thanks (as well to other posters), that points to my plug replacement as
the problem. I understand that space heaters have special "heater cord"
as opposed to the old trick of taking a standard 3' extension cord and
cutting off the end. Is there a special "heater plug" I should get? Or
is this just too risky? I've replaced plugs on lamps, vacuums, etc.
without this type of problem. Can you get "heater cord" with a prefab
plug (i.e. @ Ace, Borg?
While it is not unusual for a cord to get warm, it should not get hot.
If it is the cord getting hot, then the cord, not just the plug needs to be
replaced. If it is the original cord and if the cord was properly sized to
begin with and if it is not damaged, then you should be fine.
However did you notice all those "if"s. Maybe it is time for a new
heater. It is not always easy or safe to replace a cord, unless you know
what you are doing. Maybe you could get your building maintenance to fix
this one as well.
try to measure the power used by the heater, see if the heater is somehow
going bad and drawing too much (although I can't imagine how exactly a
heater might start drawing more power)
if the heater is still good you need to replace the cord with a wire capable
of withstanding the current draw of the heater.
Appliance cords are governed by U.L, not the NEC. As such, It's quite common to
see undersized appliance cords. 18 amp air conditioners with a #14awg cord. 16
amp hairdryers witha #16 awg cord. Likewise, it's also not uncommon to see
percolators, toasters, portable heaters and the like with cords 1 or 2 awg
sizes smaller than the appliance calls for under NEC rules.
Fundamental fact is that plug-in electrical space heaters are
dangerous. One place where I worked, the town fire marshall would not
permit them, period.
The danger is that they develop hot-spots in their wiring under
sustained use, like at plug contacts. Metal oxidizes, contact becomes
more resistive, and temps continue upwards. Sometime when nobody's
looking, smoke becomes visible, then flames.
You really want to use properly oversized wiring, and screwed-down,
large-contact-area connections. Or not use them.
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