will a 240V electric heater work ok on 220V?

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Forum topic by JesseTutt posted 01-14-2014 05:23 PM 1592 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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854 posts in 2111 days

01-14-2014 05:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workshop electrical heating question

I found a local company that is selling a 17000BTU (5000 watt) electric heater at a good price. Using online calculators my shop needs between 12,000 BTU and 18,000 BTU heat. But the heater is listed as 240 Volt.

Will a 240 volt heater work ok and provide the same heating on 220 volt?

I should say this is single phase, and local ordinances disallow propane tanks and running natural gas to the workshop is around $700.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

17 replies so far

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2248 days

#1 posted 01-14-2014 05:53 PM

220v and 240v are used interchangeably in a lot of cases. Just make sure you have the proper amperage to support the draw. I think a 5k heater draws close to 30 amps, so you want a 40amp breaker at least and the wiring to support it.


View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2272 days

#2 posted 01-14-2014 05:57 PM

Yes, it’s just symantics of electrical terminology. 220/240v. and 110/120v.

Best Regards. – Grandpa Len.

Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View jonah's profile


1702 posts in 3299 days

#3 posted 01-14-2014 05:58 PM

220V is an outdated – but sadly still popular – term for 240VAC, which is what a two pole breaker provides in a residential setting in the USA. Your house provides 120V per pole.

Occasionally, depending on the age, condition, and distance from the transformer, your house may provide less than 120V per pole, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


298 posts in 1623 days

#4 posted 01-14-2014 06:00 PM

Gonna be expensive to run.

I’ve never heard of local ordinances completely prohibiting propane, unless you’re in a very densely populated area or a shared building or something like that. Often there are restrictions on what kind of tanks you can have or where you can locate them, though.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2248 days

#5 posted 01-14-2014 06:06 PM

Also if it cost me 700 to run NG to my shop I would do it in a heartbeat! That doesn’t seem outrageous. NG heaters are more efficient, plus you don’t have to worry about your tools and your heater fighting for electricity.


View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4986 posts in 2493 days

#6 posted 01-14-2014 08:01 PM

I would also run the nat gas in a heartbeat for $700. But in your case you would also have to buy the heater (call it $400) and maybe have it installed (maybe another $400). So the electric has to be looking pretty good. That doesn’t mean it won’t be expensive, but if you run only when you’re in there or maybe for finishes to cure might be manageable. A heater that size will take a 30 amp circuit, and if you haven’t bought it yet, you still might want to consider putting that money toward a gas heater. But my shop is on LP that runs off a 125 gallon tank, that’s pretty small tank and I can’t imagine it being a problem in most residential areas.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2111 days

#7 posted 01-14-2014 08:55 PM

Thanks for the answers.

I was planning on running the heater only when I want to use the shop.

I misspoke; residential houses in St. Louis are limited to 20 lb tanks. I am currently using this with a non-vented heater.

Average temperatures for St. Louis in January are 40 degrees, so all I would need to do is raise the temperature about 20 degrees on days I want to do working.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View bigblockyeti's profile (online now)


5121 posts in 1721 days

#8 posted 01-14-2014 09:25 PM

Another thought (given that you can’t have a 100lb propane bottle) is a bank of 20lb bottles, either with a manifold connecting them, or switch from one to the next as they run empty. 5000 watts is a lot of juice; 21.74 amps at 230VAC, as mentioned above having your other tools fighting the heater for electricity can put unnecessary strain on what power you have available. In my experience, NG or propane typically put out enough heat to warm an area much faster than electricity = more comfort in your work space in less time.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1948 days

#9 posted 01-14-2014 10:04 PM

my concern was how long will it take to raise the temp 20*?? If you talk to a plumber I bet you could do gas for less. You may have to dig the trench, but it might save you some. Electric heat will cost way more than gas in the long run.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2675 days

#10 posted 01-14-2014 10:17 PM

I am in a total electric home and natural gas is not available. I would be the first on the road to hook up to it if it were available. It is the cheapest you can get and works the best. I have considered propane but haven’t gone through all the hassle for a home. The propane would be easy to hook up and use. Go get 3 or 4 tanks and you are in business.

View patcollins's profile


1685 posts in 2865 days

#11 posted 01-14-2014 10:24 PM

A $100 Kerosene heater can do a great job of heating a workshop

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2675 days

#12 posted 01-14-2014 10:28 PM

I use a $300 kerosene heater in my shop and it works GREAT! it is the forced air type that looks like a bullet and roars like a jet engine. It heats though. You do need to have a carbon monoxide detector for these.

View patcollins's profile


1685 posts in 2865 days

#13 posted 01-14-2014 10:52 PM

I use a small 10k btu one and it really does a great job. I did some research before I bought one and ordered it online vs one from Lowes, everything I read claimed this one is far better than any you can buy from a big box store.

Ace hardware also has them sometimes.

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3742 days

#14 posted 01-14-2014 11:01 PM

I have natural gas to the building – but still went with electric for at that time 199 bucks in 2004. I think it is around 250 now.

Of course our KwH rate is and the shop stays around 60 while I am not there.

The electric heater was quick and simple heating, cheap to run when needed.
I would do it the same again in a heartbeat.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Holbs's profile


1870 posts in 2029 days

#15 posted 01-15-2014 01:12 AM

yep.. lots of ways to heat a shop. for 2 years, i soley relied on a 60k btu kerosene torpedo heater with no insulation at all in my walls, garage door, and ceiling. it worked and was economical.
now, i have 60k btu NG Reznor and ceiling R19 insulation. but it took time to get that far.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

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