How to Fix an Infrared Heater Not Working

Your infrared heater suddenly stopped working and you have no idea how to troubleshoot it?

Then this article is for you!

Hi, my name is Daniel, I am an electrical engineer and I’ve worked in an electronics manufacturing plant before! So, I know electronics both theoretically and practically.

And even if you don’t have a clue, I’ll try to help you as much as possible.

This is a complete troubleshooting guide. This means I’ll ask you specific questions about your infrared heater not working. And based on your answers, I’ll direct you to the cause of the issue and how to fix it!

Remember: All electronics problems can be fixed!

And: If you don’t have the skills or the tools to fix your infrared heater, you can skip to the end of this article, where I recommend you my favorite infrared heater. And, I’ll tell you how you can reclaim some money for your broken infrared heater.

So, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!

My guarantee:

After reading this article thoroughly, you’ll know exactly how to fix your broken infrared heater. And if you can’t fix it, you’ll know exactly how to replace it!

So, without further ado, let’s start the inspection!

How to Fix an Infrared Heater Not Working: Troubleshooting

There are many different ways an infrared heater can possibly “not work”.

So, let’s start with one simple question:

What does your infrared heater do when you turn it on?

The following scenarios are possible:

Infrared heater not turning on at all

Probably the most common case is when your infrared heater doesn’t turn on at all.

And with that, I mean that it does not do anything. Neither the power light turns on, nor a display. Nothing. Your infrared heater shows no signs of life.

Also, it doesn’t matter if you use the remote or you press the power button directly on the device.

Luckily, this is pretty easy to troubleshoot.

If your infrared heater doesn’t turn on at all, it apparently does not receive electric power. So, the potential cause can be anything in your home’s electric circuit, the wall outlet, or the power electronics of your infrared heater.

Let’s have a look at all possible reasons, starting with the simplest.

Tripped circuit breaker / Blown fuse

Common infrared heaters draw 1,500 Watts of power from the wall outlet. Many US home circuits, however, can only handle 1,800 Watts of power at a time.

( I am talking about circuits with a 15 Amps circuit breaker or fuse here – that’s the lowest common rating )

So, if any additional (large) devices run on the same circuit as your infrared heater, likely a circuit breaker tripped.

How to fix it

To fix it, go to your home’s electric service panel and check that none of the circuit breakers tripped. If you live in an older home, check the fuses in the service box.

Switch back the tripped circuit breaker. Replace the blown fuse with one of an identical rating. Just take out the blown fuse and bring it to an electronic hardware store. They’ll hand you a fuse with an identical rating.

electric service panel box circuit breakers fuses
Electric service box: Check that all switches are flipped in the same direction!

Broken wall outlet

Since infrared space heaters draw such high electric currents, it is possible that your wall outlet broke. Sometimes, current surges can cause electric circuit components to weld together, creating a short circuit.

The easiest way to check this is to try running your infrared heater off a different wall outlet, ideally also in another room. If it works with the other outlet, then the original wall outlet is broken.

How to fix it

To fix it, you can buy a heavy-duty replacement wall outlet (click here to view it on amazon). As you can see, they’re very cheap. Then, I recommend watching a YouTube tutorial on wall outlet replacement!

Seeing how it’s done visually is much better than what I can describe here.

Broken power cord

Your infrared heater’s power cord might be broken. It could have a loose contact from frequent movement.

Move the power cord and try turning on your infrared heater. If it turns on sometimes, there’s a loose contact.

How to fix it

To fix a broken power cord, disassemble your infrared heater to gain access to the power cord’s connection point to the electric circuitry. Likely, you’ll need to unsolder it.

Then, get a heavy-duty extension cord for space heaters, cut off the female end of it, strip the wires, and resolder the new cord in place.

space heater with long cord

Broken connection or blown part in the power electronics

The last possible cause is that something in the electric circuitry broke, for example, due to impact, or due to voltage surges.

Disassemble your infrared heater and check the electric circuitry. Usually, you are able to make out the broken part by visual inspection.

Look for burn marks and deformed electronic components.

How to fix it

To fix it, get a matching replacement part in an electronic components store and solder the replacement part in place.

As you’ve seen, some fixes require some electric knowledge and tools such as a soldering iron.

If you can’t fix your infrared heater not turning on at all, skip to the section “What to do if you can’t fix your infrared heater?”

Infrared heater power light turns on, but doesn’t heat

Your infrared heater’s power light is on, signaling it should be working, but you’re not feeling any heat coming from it?

Here are some common scenarios for this issue and ways to address them.

Heating Element Not Set in Place

Sometimes the heating element may get dislodged due to moving the heater around, vibrations, or after a cleaning session.

How to fix it

Make sure the heating element is properly set in place. If not push it back into its place.

If the heating element starts heating now, you can turn off your heater, and adjust the heating element’s contraption to hold the heating element more firmly in the future.

Usually, you can bend the loose end of the contraption. That should fix the problem!

Infrared Heating Element Broken

A broken heating element can cause your infrared heater to stop emitting heat while still showing a power light.

How to fix it

The simplest test for a broken heating element is to look at it directly. Often, a broken element will have areas that are darker than the rest. These are burn marks.

Depending on the type of infrared heating element, it might be see-through with a metal wire passing through it. If the metal wire is broken, the heating element is broken.

If the heating element is indeed broken, your best option is to replace it. Some heaters have elements that are user-replaceable. Refer to your manual for specifics on how to replace it, or consider hiring a professional.

But oftentimes for infrared space heaters under $200, all that trouble is not worth it. Jump to the section “What to do if you can’t fix your infrared heater?” where I recommend you my all-time favorite infrared heater.

infrared heater heating element tubes
Check that your infrared heater’s heating elements sit firmly in place. Some infrared heaters have a contraption, where you can take out the tubes and replace them.

Blown Part or Short Circuit in Heat Control Circuitry

Sometimes, a short circuit or blown part in the heater’s control circuitry might prevent it from heating even if the power light comes on.

How to fix it

Open up the heater and examine the circuit board for any obvious damage such as burnt components or disconnected wires.

If you identify the broken part, you may be able to solder a new component in its place. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, hire someone to fix it and point them to the issue.

Or just get a new infrared heater!

Thermostat Set Too Low

One obvious cause can be a thermostat set too low. The thermostat controls the heat output of your infrared heater.

And when you set a target temperature that is below your current room temperature, the heater will monitor room temperature and wait for it to drop below the target temperature. But during that time, it won’t turn on the infrared heating elements.

How to fix it

Check your heater’s thermostat setting. If it is set to a temperature lower than the room’s current temperature, then the heater won’t turn on.

Adjust the thermostat to a higher setting and see if the heater starts producing heat.

Tip-Over Protection Active

Almost any infrared heater has a built-in tip-over protection feature that prevents it from heating if it’s not upright.

For floor infrared heaters, this is usually a button at the bottom of the infrared heater’s casing. When the infrared heater stands on firm ground, the floor presses the button, and tells the heater that heating is safe.

That’s why many infrared heaters won’t turn on standing on soft carpet.

Also, the tip-over protection can get stuck.

How to fix it

Ensure that your heater is on a flat, stable surface. Test it on a wooden or tiled floor before placing it on carpet.

If the tip-over protection is stuck, a firm smack on the sides might unjam it.

Infrared Heater Turns On But Keeps Turning Off on Its Own

Dust causes the heater to overheat

Many modern heaters have a built-in overheat protection. The overheat protection constantly monitors your infrared heater’s temperature. When it gets too hot, your infrared heater automatically turns off.

If your infrared heater shuts off too early, the overheat protection either sends false signals to the heater’s temperature control unit, or your heater actually gets too hot.

This can happen if your heater is clogged and there’s little airflow.

How to fix it

Ensure the heater is not in an enclosed space and has plenty of air circulation. Clean any filters and airways and remove any obstructions that might be causing it to overheat.

I highly recommend disassembling your infrared heater and removing all dust you find. Oftentimes models with built-in fans accumulate tons of dust over the years, which causes the heater to overheat and trigger the overheat protection.

Thoroughly unclog and dust off your heater and it should work again!

dust off infrared heater
Disassemble your infrared heater and dust off the internals!

Overheat protection mechanism faulty

If it doesn’t work, then your heater’s overheat protection mechanism is faulty. 

Oftentimes, an infrared heater’s overheat protection is a simple piece of sheet metal that bends when temperature increases. When your heater gets too hot, the metal piece touches an electric contact which signals the heat turn off.

Please note that there are many different sorts of overheat protection mechanisms. But this is one I found very error-prone.

Because on impact this piece of metal easily bends and now trips the overheat protection way too early.

How to fix it

Disassemble your infrared heater and locate the overheat protection. If it is the metal sheet protection I just described, simply bend it away from the contact it is touching or almost touching.

Now, your infrared heater will heat to higher temperatures without tripping the overheat protection!

Loose Contact Due to Heat Expansion

This one is rather unlikely. But if nothing worked for you so far, this is the last possible cause I can think of:

The heat inside your infrared heater causes components to expand, resulting in a loose electrical contact.

You can try to run your infrared heater outdoors, in the cold, and see if it works better there. If it works outdoors but not indoors, it’s indeed due to this issue.

How to fix it

Arguably, this issue is going to be very hard to fix. The reason: Material expansion is a microscopic effect. You just can’t see it with your eyes.

Any loose contact that is triggered through such material expansion, is, therefore, microscopic as well.

My recommendation:

Give your infrared heater a firm smack. Press all infrared heating tubes into place to ensure they are connected. Then, try to run your heater again.

If it doesn’t work, get a new infrared heater (skip to the last section of this article for that). Troubleshooting microscopic issues is usually a waste of money.

Infrared heater turns on, but the fan doesn’t blow

Not all infrared heaters have built-in fans. And, arguably, infrared heaters don’t need fans because they radiate the heat.

So, here’s a quick hack:

If your infrared heater works, but only the fan doesn’t blow hot air, you don’t have to fix it. Most infrared heaters work just fine without the built-in fan.

So, you don’t have to take action.

But if you want to get your infrared heater fan to blow air again, here’s what to do:

Fan stuck

The simplest reason for your infrared heater’s fan not blowing air is that it’s stuck. That’s obvious.

Unfortunately, many infrared heaters hide their built-in fan deep inside the casing. Or, oftentimes, it’s behind a protective grid.

How to fix it

To fix it, you have to disassemble your infrared heater until you have access to the fan.

Manually rotate the fan. Does it turn easily? Or is it blocked?

If it’s blocked, figure out what blocks the fan. It could be something simple such as another object blocking it, or the fan’s bearings could be broken (which is unlikely).

Remove the object that blocks the fan’s movement. It might be a large broken-off plastic part from within your infrared heater. Or it might be a small, lightweight part your infrared heater’s fan sucked in, that got stuck.

You might have to replace the fan with a replacement fan if you can’t get your fan to work. You can get replacement parts either from a dealer or, if you know electronics well, you can get any fan with matching specifications.

In any case, I recommend adding some lubricant to the fan’s rotational axis.

It’ll work better in the future.

Fan power supply wires broke or loosely connected

Another possible cause is that your infrared heater’s fan power supply wires are not properly connected.

This can happen due to micro-movements over years of usage, or when the fan was simply not connected carefully by the manufacturer.

Infrared heater fans usually have two wires (one red, one black) through which you power them.

These are either soldered onto the electric circuitry or plugged in.

How to fix it

Make sure the fan is properly wired with the electric circuitry. You might have to use a soldering iron for this.

Infrared heater turns on but makes weird noises

There are many different reasons for an infrared heater making noises.

I’ve already written a complete article on how to fix space heater noises (with sound samples).

So, check that out!

Quick recap:

Many noises are expected in infrared heaters. Clicking noises usually come from the thermostat control or from parts expanding and releasing pressure.

Humming comes from the power electronics or from the infrared heating elements.

But if your infrared heater makes harsh noises such as buzzing, squealing, or whistling, something is definitely off and you have to fix it!

Check out the guide on troubleshooting space heater noises I linked above!

What to do if you can’t fix your infrared heater?

The main problem with fixing infrared heaters is that you have to know what you’re doing.

Some fixes are simple, but others require you to solder and inspect electric circuitry.

That’s too much for most people.

Before you conclude you can’t fix your infrared heater, here’s a quick checklist of what to do before you give up.

To fix your infrared heater not working:

  • Lift your infrared heater and firmly smack it on the back
  • Open its case and remove all the dust
  • Push all infrared heating tubes in place
  • Plug it into another wall outlet

If these 3 quick fixes don’t work, your heater likely needs a “skilled” fix that requires knowledge and time.

If you don’t have the skills required to fix your infrared heater, I recommend just buying a new one.

Here’s my recommendation:

Recommended infrared heater

My favorite infrared heater is this Dr Infrared DR-968 heater (click here to view it on amazon).

I recommend this particular model on this website for years already and can’t recommend it enough.

It’s got everything an infrared heater needs: Instant heat output, a thermostat with all safety features, and a nice, solid wooden case that can take a hit without breaking.

The Dr. Infrared stands out from other infrared heaters because it will last you for many years, if not decades, guaranteed!

So, that’s my favorite. And if you got sick of your broken infrared heater, get this one. You won’t regret it.

It might not look as neat as other modern infrared heaters. But it just works. And works. And works.

What to do with your broken infrared heater

Before you dispose of your broken space heater, I recommend you put it on an online marketplace (eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, or similar) for a price you think is too high.


There are hundreds of people in the US buying broken electric devices, and fixing and reselling them professionally.

If you originally paid $100 for your infrared heater, you can still sell it for $50, even though it’s defective!

So, reclaim some of your money!


Fixing an infrared heater not working is either easy or super hard. There’s no in-between.

With this troubleshooting guide, we covered all possible causes and how to fix them!

And even if you can’t fix your broken infrared heater, you now know the best replacement heater to get instead!