Your electric fireplace is not working? In this article, we’ll try to get your heater working again.
Recently, I’ve been writing several in-depth articles on heater repairs. And the issues in electric heaters are always the same.
Usually, it’s either a power supply issue, a thermostat issue, or a blown part in the electronics.
Electric fireplaces are a bit special. They are a lot bulkier than regular heaters. And they come with some additional features, such as the moving lights, which also can stop working.
So, today we’re going to look at a few unique problems common in electric fireplaces.
And I guarantee you that you will know exactly how to fix your electric fireplace not working after reading this article thoroughly.
We’ll have a look at:
- How to fix an electric fireplace not turning on
- How to fix an electric fireplace turning on, but not heating
- How to fix electric fireplace lighting and flame issues (no light, flames not moving, no flickering)
Let’s start with the basics:
How to Fix an Electric Fireplace Not Turning On
Electric fireplaces draw quite a lot of power. Usually 1,500W. That’s the upper end of what regular American wall outlets can supply. So, an electric fireplace not turning on at all is very likely a power supply issue.
What to do if your electric fireplace doesn’t turn on at all
Check the wall outlet
First of all, you should test if the wall outlet you’re trying to run your electric fireplace from works.
The easiest test is to plug in any other device (your phone charger, a hairdryer, whatever), and see if it works.
If your wall outlet works fine, good. This means your home’s electric circuitry can handle the fireplace and the issue is somewhere else.
If your wall outlet doesn’t work, check the electrical service panel.
Check the electrical service panel for tripped circuit breakers
Open your electrical service panel and see if the circuit breaker of the room where you run your electric fireplace is switched out of place.
If it is, switch it back on.
Try running your electric fireplace again and see if it works!
Replace the power switch
If the power light does not turn on, but you can measure the voltage at the power cord’s connection point with the circuitry, inspect your fireplace’s power switch!
Very likely it is broken and needs replacement.
What to do if your electric fireplace turns on, but does not heat?
Check the electric fireplace’s power indicator light
Turn on the power switch of your electric fireplace. If your fireplace’s power indicator light turns on, your fireplace receives power from the wall outlet.
So, the power supply from the wall outlet to the heater is working. In principle that’s good, but practically, it means that the issue is somewhere inside your electric fireplace.
Open the fireplace and inspect the power electronics
If no circuit breaker tripped and the wall outlet you’re trying to run your electric fireplace from works, the issue is somewhere inside your electric fireplace.
Open the back side of the fireplace. Usually, you can easily loosen the screws on the backside in order to take off the back cover.
That’s what I like particularly about electric fireplaces. Since they are so large, they are easy to open and all the circuitry is easy to access.
Locate the point where the power cord enters the fireplace’s casing and connects to the internal electric circuitry.
Ideally, you should measure voltages here using a multimeter to verify that your fireplace heater receives power.
After that, visually inspect the circuitry, looking for blown parts and burn marks. Spend 5 minutes just staring at the circuitry. You can spot almost any electric problem visually.
That’s something I learned working in the repair department of an electronics manufacturing plant. And it’s the single best electronics troubleshooting method that requires no tools.
Once you spot the blown part, you can find a matching replacement part online and use a soldering iron to replace it.
Or, of course, if your electric fireplace is still within warranty, send customer support a picture of the faulty circuitry! Usually, they are more than happy to help you out and send you either the replacement part or a new electric fireplace!
Set the highest possible temperature
Since your fireplace turns on, but does not heat, I recommend setting the highest possible temperature setting.
If your electric fireplace has a built-in thermostat, it constantly monitors room temperature.
And if, by chance, the thermostat’s target temperature is below room temperature, your electric fireplace won’t heat.
So, for troubleshooting electric fireplaces, always set the highest possible temperature.
See if that fixes the problem.
Use the control buttons on the fireplace
Also, rule out that your remote control’s batteries are empty. Turn on the heater and set a high temperature using only the buttons on the device.
If your fireplace starts heating, you know your remote control batteries need replacement!
What to do if your electric fireplace turns on but the flames don’t flicker or light up?
Check the bulb for flame effects
Electric fireplaces commonly use light bulbs to simulate the appearance of real flames.
If your fireplace turns on but the flames don’t light up, the bulb might be the culprit.
Here’s what to do:
- Open the back side of the fireplace: Usually, the bulb compartment can be accessed by removing an access panel. This typically involves unscrewing some bolts or clips. Keep track of all screws and components as you disassemble parts.
- Inspect the Bulb: Once you’ve accessed the bulb, examine it to see if it’s burned out. If it is dark or discolored, or if the filament appears to be broken, it likely needs replacing.
- Replacement: When purchasing a new bulb, make sure it matches the specifications given in the user manual.
- Installation: Screw in the new bulb, making sure it’s snug but not overtightened. Replace the access panel and screws.
- Test: Plug the fireplace back in and turn it on to ensure the new bulb works and the flame effect is restored.
Examine the flame motor
The flame motor is what gives your electric fireplace its realistic flickering flame effect.
If the “flames” in your unit are not moving as they should, it may be an issue with this motor.
Here’s what you can do:
- Visual Inspection: Open your fireplace’s backside and look for obvious issues like loose wires, belt slippage, or mechanical obstructions that might be affecting the motor’s performance.
- Test the Motor: If your unit permits, you might be able to manually spin the motor to see if it turns freely.
Stiff movement could indicate a need for lubrication or replacement.
- Check Electrical Connections: Use a multimeter to check for electrical continuity. If there’s no continuity, the motor might be burned out.
- Lubricate: If the motor seems to be stiff but not broken, try lubricating it with a few drops of machine oil at the points specified in the manual.
- Replace if Necessary: If the motor is beyond repair, note down its specifications and order a new one. Replacing it usually involves disconnecting the old motor, removing it from its mount, and then reversing these steps to install the new one.
- Test: After making any fixes, reassemble your unit, plug it in, and test to see if the flame effect has been restored.
Check for loose wiring
During shipping, the electric wiring inside your fireplace could have loosened up.
Open your fireplace and check for unconnected connectors.
If you find a loose connector, plug it back in and turn on your fireplace. It should work now!
What to do if your electric fireplace is making unusual noises?
Identify the type of noise
First, try to identify where the noise is coming from and what kind of noise it is: humming, rattling, or something else.
I’ve already written a guide on fixing space heater noises with sound samples. Have a look at that!
Inspect the fan
If your electric fireplace is making a humming noise, it could be due to the fan. Make sure it is clean and not obstructed.
Check for foreign objects
Inspect the fireplace to make sure no foreign objects are causing the noise. Sometimes a small object could have fallen inside, leading to rattling noises.
What to do if the remote control is not working?
Replace the batteries
This seems obvious but is often overlooked. Replace the batteries in your remote control.
Test the infrared sensor
Use a digital camera or your smartphone to test if the remote’s IR sensor is working.
You should see a light coming from the remote through the camera when you press a button.
What to do if you can’t fix your electric fireplace?
You can fix most electric fireplace issues by opening the back panel and visually checking the electronic circuitry. Blown or burned parts need to be replaced. Also, check for unconnected wires.
If your wall outlet is working fine, and there are no apparent problems in the fireplace’s circuitry, it likely needs more in-depth troubleshooting.
Take another 5 minutes and have a closer look. In almost all cases you can see the issue.
If there is no apparent problem, likely there is a hard-to-troubleshoot problem in the circuitry. If you don’t have the skills or tools to do electronic troubleshooting, please check if you are still within warranty! Oftentimes, you can get a free replacement fireplace!
If your fireplace is out of warranty, I recommend just getting a new electric fireplace.
My recommendation is this Duraflame fireplace (click here to view it on amazon).
Buying a new fireplace is usually faster than getting your faulty fireplace fixed.
And it saves you the hassle of hiring an electrician and arranging time for a visit.
Most electric fireplace issues are easy to fix. Electric fireplaces are simple devices that consist of just a few electric components.
There’s not much that can break.
Usually, the issue is either an unpowered wall outlet (because of a tripped circuit breaker) or an issue in the fireplace’s circuitry or the blower motor.
Only a few of the fixes in this article require special knowledge and tools.
So, start fixing your electric fireplace now!