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I never want the heater in the bath to operate more than, say, one hour straight.

I want a way to automatically turn it off after one hour of usage (in case I forget to turn that off), however, I want to turn it on just like I always did. I don't want to change it's current buttons settings, I want to turn it on without using a dial to set a timer.

What's the best way to do that?

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can you be more specific about the heater in question? Is it wired to an inline (electrical) thermostat? Voltage 120 or 240VAC? Or are we talking about a space heater (local control only) or perhaps part of a central system? –  shirlock homes Dec 19 '10 at 12:45
    
No thermostat. Stupid heater which just emits heat as long as it's on. –  Elazar Leibovich Dec 20 '10 at 20:56
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You don't say the power specifications of the heater so be very careful about the switching you select. If it is a simple 120volt electric heater, you could go with something like a Leviton LTB02-1LZ but the wattage of your heater may be too high.

There are other switches available that will probably handle the load but you will need to know exactly what your heater requires.

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The LTB02-1LZ is rated for 1800W Incandescent, 20A Resistive/Inductive at 120V, so for any 120V heater it should work. It's hard to answer otherwise since you didn't mention what the heater actually is but this would be my default answer. –  gregmac Dec 20 '10 at 22:41
    
We use these exact switches (well, we went with the 30/15/5/1 version) in our bath and they're great. The exhaust fan was direct wired, while the heater unit had to go through a relay circuit to handle the higher power demands. –  DA01 Sep 1 '11 at 20:15
    
and if I ever remodel another house, I may consider adding these switched nearly everywhere. We leave way to many lights on in the house... –  DA01 Sep 1 '11 at 20:16
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There are central heating controllers that have a "one hour boost" function as well as their normal timing functions.

It seems a bit over the top but you could wire one of these in to the circuit and use this to control the heater using the manual function of the timer.

Then when you want the heater on press the +1 hour button and it will turn off automatically.

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