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TLDR: I have an unused portable electric stove. Can I use it for heating air around without putting anything on top?

Long explanation: I am cleaning up, repairing and adding insulation to a basement so that I can live there. I bought a 1200W infrared heater to make it warmer while I do stuff there, but it's not enough. I don't want to spend money on another heater because maybe I won't need it after I install the hatch and insulate it. So I thought I can temporarily use stove as a space heater.

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    If you're already using 1200 watts (10 amps), plus lights etc., how many amps are left on your circuit before it blows a breaker or burns down the house? How many amps does the stovetop pull? Lacking a guard, I'd be quite concerned about flammable things falling onto your portable stove. Does the manual that came with the unit say how long it can be left on safely. Sometimes the cases of those things can become quite hot themselves. – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 18 '16 at 2:45
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Appliances are designed and manufactured with safeguards appropriate for their intended use. If you look at radiant heaters they have protective grills over the exposed heating elements to prevent some unfortunate person from touching the hot part, and to prevent combustibles from inadvertently contacting the heating element. They also have features like "tip-over" switches that shut them off if someone trips over the cord, and over-temp thermal cut-off switches if they overheat.

Your burner is designed for short term supervised use as a cooker, not a heater. I can't say that it won't work as a heater, but I can say that you should not use it for that, especially in a basement that could become a deathtrap for the occupant if there was a fire.

p.s.- the manufacturer user guide says:

  1. Do not use appliance for other than intended use.
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I have to agree with Jimmy Fix-It. Don't sacrifice safety and set yourself up for trouble when something gets knocked over. Boiling a pot of water may or may not meet legal nit-picking, but it still won't be any safer when it gets knocked over.

Buy another space heater, on EBay or Craigslist. When you are done with the project, sell it again on EBay or Craigslist.

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Even products designed and manufactured as consumer space heaters are somewhat notorious for causing office fires. I really, really do not recommend trying to kludge this.

If you need a space heater, get something designer the purpose and designed for serious long-term use. The "electric radiator" designs, which use a liquid to spread their heat over a large area, are probably best for residential spaces. For workshops, IR heaters desogned for that environment are often the most efficient choice; they don't warm the air as much but do warm the solid objects they are pointed at, including people.

  • The electric radiator design is a great suggestion; they are very safe in my experience. They are also often advertised as "oil-filled" heaters. – Grunthos Dec 18 '16 at 18:23
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Got a dehumidifier? Put a huge pot of water on it and let the stove fight the dehumidifier. Don't? Buy a proper heater, they cost $15.

Both machines will make a lot of heat doing their job. Which is your purpose.

What you're doing is using water as a working fluid to move the heat, which is something the stove is designed to do. Since you are using both machines for their design purpose, you are not breaking the law and your fire insurance is not in danger. Of course this rig needs to be attended.

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