Space Heaters

Why won't my space heater stay on?

Heating Trends, last updated on December 3, 2022

It's gotten cold outside, you're just about to turn on your heater, and it turns out that the heater turns off after a while or can't be turned on at all? Read some of the possible solutions to your problem below.


Why won't my space heater stay on?

Before we go into all the details of individual problems, let's clear up what exactly is going on with your heater. Does the heater turn itself off after turning on or can't turn on at all?

Caution: Do not plug the heater into an extension cord. Unless it's a really good quality extension cord that's designed for heavier loads, there's a good chance that your extension cord won't be able to handle the amount of power the heater needs, which could lead to overheating of the power cord, wall outlet, and fire.
If you unplug the power cord from the wall outlet and notice brown spots, your socket may be damaged and should be inspected by an electrician.

Space heater won't stay on

There are many reasons why your heater is constantly turning off, and one of them is the most common but also the most easiest to fix. It is possible that your heater has reached the temperature you have set on the thermostat, or the heater is overheating.

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Space heater keeps overheating

Although today's heaters are more technologically advanced, materials and heating elements have been improved, this does not mean that a problem cannot still occur.

If your heater is overheating, turn off the switch on the heater and wait for it to cool down. Unplug the heater and clean it well. If you use a fan heater, clean the fan blades with a vacuum cleaner and scrub all the inlets with a brush. On the oil radiator, clean all metal slots where dust and dirt can get in. Finally, wipe the heater with a cloth. If your heater has a filter, remove and clean the air filter.

Certain problems with heaters can cause the heater to shut down or cause the heater to fail to turn on at all. Let's take a look at an overview of the most common problems.

Space heater won't stay on or won't turn on

There are a few things you should check, and they are among the most common types of problems with heaters. In short, you should first check for damage to the power cord, then test whether the switches are working properly (try turning them off and on), and check what temperature the heater's thermostat is set to. If that doesn't solve the problem, you should try plugging the heater into a different outlet.

An overview of the most common problems

Damaged power cord

Unplug the heater from the wall outlet. Inspect the power cord for scratches or damage. If you use an extension cord, you should inspect it as well. Although the power cables may look perfect on the outside, it is possible that with years of use of the heater and frequent bending of the cable the internal wires have been damaged, which can lead to interruption or complete failure. In this case, the only option is to take the heater to a service center and replace the power cord.

If you notice damage on the extension cord cable, you should replace it. However, if you really have to use an extension cable - make sure that it is a really high-quality cable that can withstand a greater power load. Consult your local store.

Always take care of the power cable in such a way that it's not bent, pressed against other objects, especially sharp corners.

Tilt switch sensor malfunction

This fantastic feature detects the tilt of the heater and is responsible for shutting down your heater in case it tips over, thus preventing potential hazards, including fire. It is possible that the tilt switch sensor is faulty which means it has to be replaced by a service technician.

Defective wall outlet

We should also eliminate this problem before determining that there really is a fault with the heater. Try unplugging the heater and plugging it into an outlet in another room. If the heater still doesn't work, but the other devices in the room work properly, it is not a faulty socket and you should continue looking for the problem. If it's a faulty outlet, you shouldn't use it until you a licensed electrician inspected and repaired it.

Home circuit overload

If you use several heaters in your household, or the socket is not designed to withstand the power of the heater, the home circuit may be overloaded or the fuse on which the socket is located may blow.

You can try to distribute the heaters on several circuits by placing them in different sockets in different rooms. Electric heaters usually use 1.5 kW of power or more, which can be too much for an outlet if it's not designed for that much power.

Also, you should always use the heater in lower power operation. If it's possible to select the settings MIN, MID or HIGH on your heater, select the minimum or medium level. The heating effect and electricity consumption will be the same, it'll only initially take a little longer to achieve the same temperature. This way, you increase the level of safety, protect your heater, electrical infrastructure and extend its lifetime.

A blown thermal fuse

Thermal fuse is installed in your space heater to protect against excessive temperatures. Under normal operating conditions, heaters should never overheat, i.e. heat to a higher temperature than the factory intended. If it does happen or has happened frequently in the past, there's a good chance it's a blown fuse.

Thermal Fuses

Although replacing the fuse is relatively simple, opening the heater housing and touching the electronic elements should still be left to authorized experts.

Heating element malfunction

Sometimes it just happens that the heater, which is actually the main element of your heater, burns out. Especially if your heater is quite old. It's necessary to replace the heating element at an authorized service center.

Thermostat malfunction

The thermostat is responsible for constantly measuring the temperature of the surrounding space and regulating the temperature of the heater. If the room temperature drops below the temperature set on the thermostat, the sensor will detect it and turn on the heater, which will reheat the room until the temperature drops again and starts another cycle.

Of course, even thermostats are not resistant to malfunctions, so it is quite possible that the thermostat on your heater can no longer recognize the surrounding temperature and thus no longer turns on the heater. There is also a possibility that the thermostat mistakenly detects overheating and prevents the heater from turning on. It is necessary to replace the thermostat at an authorized service center.