Electrical space heaters are the most convenient way to heat your home out of all the options, which is why they are so common. If you don't have access to a fully heated house, these tiny units are useful and easy to move around. However, they might be a little unpredictable, so it is a good idea to be aware of the common problems and how to fix a space heater.
How Do Space Heaters Work?
Space heaters are of three main types: electricity, gas, and kerosene. They feature a heating mechanism known as Joule heating, which involves moving air over a heating element to heat it, then using convection to force the air out of the device and into the room.
How to Fix a Space Heater That is Not Working
You must first determine what is wrong with your space heater before attempting to repair it. The first step in diagnosing what's wrong with your electrical space heater is to understand the most common problems causing the failure. Here are the most common problems with most space heaters and how to fix your damaged or broken space heater.
1. Check the Power Outlet
Like other electronics like televisions or air conditioners, if you have an electric space heater plugged in but not working properly, there might be an issue with the electric outlet.
To fix this, you should first check to see if there is power and if it is available, then ensure the power switch is working well. You can connect another device or electronic to the outlet and replace it if it is not working.
2. Power Cord Problem
If the power cord of the electric space heaters appears to be damaged, then this might be the reason your electric space heater might not be working. The problem might be a faulty power cable when you connect the space heater in and the circuit breaker trips.
Be sure you have the proper gauge, especially when using space heaters with an extension cord. Since the portable space heaters consume a lot of electricity, it is best to pick the right power cord gauge size, depending on the length of the cord.
3. Check the Circuit Breaker
Examine your breaker panel to verify whether the breaker for the outlet where your heater is plugged is failing. If the circuit breaker is tripped, turn it off and check if your space heater comes on.
If the circuit breaker has tripped when your space heater starts, check if any other heavy electrical loads are connected to the same circuit. The circuit breaker might trip if the same circuit is connected to other electronics like the refrigerator.
4. Check the Tip-Over Switch
Sometimes, the tip-over switch might be a problem if the space heater is plugged in but not working properly. The tip-over switch is a crucial safety feature that will automatically shut off the space heater if it is knocked. To ensure it is working, you should hear the tip-over switch click whenever you move the space heater sideways.
5. Activated High Limit Switch
If your space heater stops operating, the high limit safety switch may have been activated. This high limit safety switch is a safety feature found on many space heaters that automatically cuts off power when the heater reaches a certain temperature.
Ideally, a high limit switch is activated when the electric space heater overheats. Some space heaters contain a resetting high-limit safety switch. If the problem persists, look for a button on the back of the heater and push it to reset the switch.
6. Thermostat Issue
The thermostat may cease operating, stay locked at a certain temperature, or become loose. Most of the time, it becomes defective, and fixing it is a simple remedy.
Raise the heat to a higher setting. The auto safety shut down feature might also cause it to stop operating. Check that the thermostat is operating correctly by turning on the heating. You'll have to replace the thermostat if none of these options work.
7. Blown Thermal Fuse
The thermal fuse is a useful safety mechanism that will turn off the electricity if the space heater overheats. It serves the same purpose as the high-limit safety switch. A blown fuse is one of the most common causes of an electric heater not working properly.
Check the fuse box for any blown fuses after unplugging the heater. If the circuit breakers have only tripped, you can reset them. You'll need to replace the fuse if it's blown. Check to see if the heater is operating correctly by plugging it in.
8. Faulty Heating Element
Your space heater may cease operating due to a problem with the heating element, which occurs rarely. You'll need to test the heating element to figure out what's wrong.
Remove the heater from the power supply and turn it off. To get to the heating elements, disassemble the heater. Set the multimeter to RX1 or the resistance to 1. Connect the multimeter's ends to the heating element's ends.
If the meter reads high resistance, the element is functioning properly. However, it is most likely broken if the resistance is low or the readout displays infinite. Replace the element with one that is the same size, power rating, brand, resistance, and form as the old one.