Electric heater control

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by 801Sparks, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. 801Sparks

    801Sparks New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    My wife has an electric foot heating mat that gets a little too hot to keep her feet on. Can I use a standard electronc dimmer switch to lower the voltage to this 90 watt 120 volt resistive load, thus lowering the temp?
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,540
    Location:
    North Carolina
    the short answer is no.
  3. 801Sparks

    801Sparks New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Could you elaborate a little? Why is the 90 watt resistive heating element any different than an incandescent light bulb? Both are resistive loads with 100% power factor right? Is there something in the electronic square wave dimmer that wouldn't function properly?
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,540
    Location:
    North Carolina
    My short answer is;
    Did it come with a dimmer? No
    Then one can’t be used on it.

    Just how do you propose installing this dimmer for this heat pad?
    No you can’t install the dimmer so it will work through the receptacle.

    Have you thought of folding a towel and placing it over the pad?
  5. 801Sparks

    801Sparks New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    A Lutron makes a 300 watt plug in lamp dimmer for about $10, it has a cord and plug on it.
    No wiring would be needed, therefore no NEC violation.
    My question is; will it work.?
    I'm sorry, but I don't think putting a folded up towel on an electric heating device sounds very safe.
  6. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Since heating pads and electric blankets come with built in rheostats, you would have been better off with a foot pad with such a control built in.

    Actually, a good dog bed warmer would have worked and they have controls. I think trying the plug in rig won't harm anything.

    The towel will just get as hot as the pad, how about a piece of lattice or some sort of gridwork that would allow some air to circulate and reduce trapped heat?

    The bottom of a plastic "flat" that plants come in from the nursery comes to mind as probably laying in the backyard. "REPURPOSE"
  7. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Just do it. You obviously only want to hear the answers you want so why bother asking.
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Thats a real new york city answer. He wanted help, not insults. What is your objection to the rheostat?
  9. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,540
    Location:
    North Carolina
    or is it an electronic dimmer????
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