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. 

SOLUTION:

  • 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
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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.

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.

SOLUTION:

  • 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.
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Here are some other thermostats that you can buy online:

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
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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.
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Here’s some other Multi-purpose Multimeters :

electric heater heating element
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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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15 Comments

  1. 1
  2. 2

    When the heater does not get a light when turned it appears that it must be the switch, because the plug in the wall is working with other electric units. Is this a good assumption?
    We have a delonghi electric heater. It simply does not light up this last month and it was fine.

  3. 3

    Heater not turning on and off according to thermostat setting.
    Solution – The thermostat may not be very sensitive.
    So try placing the fan heater in an enclosed space – such as a large bookshelf – or kitchen cabinet shelf.
    Nake sure that the heat can get out into the room.
    This should force the thermostat to work again.

  4. 4

    I bought a donyer heater on 21/9/21 it is not working i have checked the fuse and that is not the problem there is no light or heat electrics are ok as i have other appliances which are working ok. This appliance should have a gaurantee .what can i do about it

  5. 5
  6. 6

    Micathermic heaters tend to range in cost depending on the size of the room they are designed to heat. As they are already super efficient, you’ll want to look for the heater that serves the size of your room, so that you get the best price.

  7. 7

    This article provides details about the electric heater not working causes solutions. I enjoyed reading this article and would suggest others it as well. Thank you for this article! This is really very informative for us and look forward to more such in future for all of us.

  8. 8
  9. 9

    plug smelling rubbery for several weeks before the delonghi oil heater just stopped working one evening. Nothing wrong with socket as another heater working perfectly in same socket now. Can the plug be replaced safely by an electrician?

    thank you

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  14. 14

    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?
    Thanks.

  15. 15

    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?

    Thanks,

    Chari Goddard
    ]chachacgt27@gmail.com

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