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I just purchased a 17000BTU heater for my garage. The instructions say to hard wire it with 10/3 and 30amp breakers, 240 volt. The company says the warranty is void unless it is hard wired. I have an existing 240V/40amp outlet for my welder. Are there any safety issues with using my existing outlet?

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Well, for one thing you'd void the warranty, though that's not exactly a safety concern. For another you're plugging it into a 40A circuit, when it's only supposed to be on a 30 amp circuit - that is a safety concern.

I'm trying to remember what the usual logic for prohibiting plugs is - on the one hand, the plug is rated for more amperage than the device, on the other, plugs are not quite as good conductors as wires, and may heat and become worse when used in a continuous (which means 3 hours, by NEC definitions) manner - electric heaters are generally defined as continuous loads (they could be left on that long, even if you don't intend to.)

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You can plug a 30 amp plug into a 40 amp socket, I believe, but you can't plug a 40 amp plug into a 30 amp socket. The prongs on the plug will not allow it. That's the built in safety feature. Do the hard wire, keep your warranty – Jack Jan 1 '14 at 18:15

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