Electric heater not working: causes and solutions

oil heater
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons


An electric heater is a very useful appliance in the winter months or colder countries. Not only does it heat a room but also provide with comfort and cosiness. These heaters are of many types such as wall mounted, portable and others.  No matter what the type, the appliance may stop working for a number of reasons. If this happens, then it is important to first understand the cause and then find a suitable solution. Moreover there are certain problems with electric heaters that you can resolve on your others whereas others may need professional approach. The following are the causes and solutions for electric heater not working:

1. Check the power

CAUSE: The first and most common cause for electric heater not working or turning on is problem with the power supply.

SOLUTION: You need to make sure that power is available from the main supply. If yes, then check whether the power switch is working properly or not. This can be done by connecting another power device to the switch and checking whether it is working or not. If not, then there is an issue with the power switch and it needs to be repaired.

Check power

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2. Blown fuses

CAUSE: The most common cause for electric heater not working is blown fuses. 


  • To check this, first unplug the device and check the fuse box of the house for blown fuses as well as tripped circuit breakers.
  • If it is fuses or tripped, then what you can do is that you can replace the fuse or reset the circuit breakers if required.
  • Now plug the appliance back in and switch it on.
  •  See if the problem has been resolved. If not, the following given points might prove useful.
electric heater blown fuse

Image Credits: thespruce.com

3. Auto safety shut off

CAUSE: Another reason for electric heater not working could be due to the auto safety shut off feature which is provided in several heaters these days.  When heaters get too hot, then this feature shuts off the device for safety purposes. May be because of this feature your heater may not be working.

READ ALSO:  8 safety measure to follow while using room heaters!

SOLUTION: So what you can do is that you can reset the feature by moving the power switch to the off position if the device does not turn back on. Unplug the device and let it cool down for 10-15 minutes.  Plug it back again and turn the switch on.

auto safety shut off feature

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4. Check the thermostat

CAUSE: In most cases of electric heater not working, the problem comes out to be with the thermostat. It could either be stuck, gone loose or may have become faulty.


  • Check the thermostat and see which level it is set at. If it is at an off position or a low temperature, then try turning it on a higher level. See if it starts working now.
  • However keep an eye on it to check that it doesn’t stop working due to auto safety shut off feature.
  • Also in some cases, the thermostat dial tends to get stuck or become faulty. Because of this reason too the electric heater may not work or not provide enough heat.
  • Check the thermostat and if need be, get it replaced by contacting a professional.
room heater thermostat

Image Credits: thehomedepot.com


5. Problem with the electric cord

CAUSE: Another cause of electric heater not working could be an issue with the electric cord. An electric cord can go faulty and may stop working which in turn effects the working of the heater.

SOLUTION: So make sure you check the cord for any breaks. It must not be torn or broken from anywhere in between.

electric cord problem

Image Credits: fire9prevention.com


READ ALSO:  Should you be using heating oil?

6. Problem with the heating element

CAUSE: Another possible cause for electric heater not working is heating element gone bad

SOLUTION: To check this issue, you will need to test the continuity of the heating element. This can be done by following the given steps:

  • Unplug and turn off the heater from the main supply and power switch.
  • Disassemble the electric heater to access the heating element and set the multimeter to RX1 or resistance times 1.
  • Now touch the probes of the multimeter to each end of the heating element of the heater.
  • If the meter shows high resistance then this means that the heating element is fine and if the reading is infinity then this means that there is a problem with the element and it is broken.
  • In case it is faulty, you need to replace it but make sure you get the same size, make, shape, power rating and resistance.
electric heater heating element

Image Credits: Amazon.com

Now that you know the main reasons for electric heater not working as well as the various solutions for all the common issues, you can repair your heater on your own. But if you are unable to find the cause and hence the solution, you must contact a professional. You can get professional help for room heater or blower not working by contacting Mr Right.

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  4. 4

    My oil radiator worked two days ago and now the light won’t even go on. I reset the circuit breakers and still nothing. I checked the outlet and it’s good. I don’t know what else to do? I’t’s never been on high heat, only a bit of warmth for the birds in the bird room. Now bupkis.

    What should I look for?

  5. 5

    Dear Mr. Right,
    My 13″ by 16 1/2″ wall heater is not working. I found it on one morning and tried to turn it off. It would not go off, and I had to close the electric switch in our main panel to force it off. This heater is about 40 + years old, and we have 3 others that are still working.

    What to do?


    Chari Goddard

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