DIY Electric Heater Repair Guide

This is an electric heater repair DIY article, which discusses how an electric heater works, common problems you may have, and how to fix them. Whether you have a wall heater or a space heater, you’ll learn how to repair your electric heater in case it stops working. 

Electric space heaters heat the areas you choose whereas wall-mounted electric heaters can heat the entire house, and are commonly used for bathrooms. 

Both these heaters run on either electricity or gas, and they are prone to failure. There are common reasons why each of these heaters fails and some are simple. So, before you start to repair it yourself, it is important that you identify the underlying issue that caused the heater to stop working in the first place. 

electric heater repair
Electric Heater Repair

How do Electric Heaters work?

Electric heat repair might be easier for you if you know how they work. The following two segments below discuss the way in which each of the aforementioned electric heaters functions.

How do Space Heaters Work?

A space heater is designed to warm a small area. There are two types of space heaters: Convective and radiant heaters. In convective heaters, one or more heating elements blow air into the room by a fan to heat up a room. As for radiant heaters, the elements heat a liquid that radiates heat into the room. 

A typical electrical heater has additional components like control switches, elements, fans, and a thermostat. 

How do Wall-Mounted Heaters Work?

Wall-mounted electric heaters work similarly to space heaters. They generate heat through an electrical resistance passing through heating coils in a unit mounted on the wall. Most heaters have a built-in thermostat that controls the on-off function, and a fan blower that circulates air out into the room.

Electric Heating Repair: Common Problems

Electric heaters have a simple operating system, so they’re easier to troubleshoot and repair. Before we delve into the actual repair part, know that regardless of the type of electric heater, there are common issues you may have.

  • Heating elements burn out
  • The heater keeps turning on and off
  • The heater turns on but stops heating
  • The heater Smells Like It’s Burning
  • Thermostats fail or stop working
  • Power cords and switches stop working
  • Heating elements stop working
  • Circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows (typically for higher-watt heaters)
electrical heater repair
Electrical Heater Repair

How to Repair Your Electric Heater?

Electrical heater repair may not be as difficult as you think. Simple problems usually require simple solutions. These solutions for each are provided below:

Space Heater Repair

The first step to repairing a radiant or convective heater is to disassemble it. You need to disassemble them like so:

Radiant Space Heater

  1. Unplug the heater to allow it to cool entirely before disassembling it.
  2. To access the wiring, remove the screw holding the control housing in place at the edges and lift it away.
  3. To remove the thermostat, pull off the knob and remove the electrical leads (mark their location with tape). You may need to remove the retaining nut to free the thermostat.
  4. To remove the power switch, label and disconnect the leads. Some switches are secured by clips on the top and the bottom; others are fastened by screws.

Convective Space Heater

  1. Unplug the heater to allow it to cool entirely before disassembling it.
  2. Remove the rear grille and the control knobs. As for the front grille, remove it by unscrewing the fasteners on the back of the housing and lifting the control housing. The motor, fan, and heating element are now accessible for testing and repair.
  3. Remove the thermostat from the control housing and disconnect the wires. Remove the heat control’s mounting screws and clips to access and disconnect wires.

Wall-Mounted Heater Repair

  1. Turn off the power by turning off the circuit breaker.
  2. Clean and remove the grille with a vacuum.
  3. Test for power with a voltage detector inside the heater particularly where the circuit wires and wire leads are joined.
  4. Check that the wires are connected—check if the wires are loose or completely detached, and use electrical tape to hold them in place.
  5. Examine the wire insulation by checking for cracks or nicks on the outer insulation. If you find them, wrap the wires with electrical tape.
  6. Remove the dust from electric coils with a vacuum that has a thin nozzle attached.
  7. Carefully vacuum the heater’s fan of any dust or debris.

A solution to your Electric Heater

Knowing these solutions helps you minimize the need to bring a professional and having to deal with the cold. In a way, you’ll become a novice electrician. But, if you’re interested in becoming an electrician, learn about the highest-paying electrician jobs in 2022.


[1] Instruction on Heater Repairing. “Electric Heater Repair.” Fixit club. 

[2] Wall Heater Repair Instruction. “How to Repair an Electric Wall Heater.” The Spruce, November, 2022.

[3] Space Heater Repair Instruction. “How Do I Repair My Space Heater? Steps To Troubleshoot an Electric Heater.” qlabe, March, 2019.

[4] Intro on Repairing Electric Furnaces. “How to Repair Electric Furnaces.” howstuffworks.