It can be pretty frustrating if your electric fireplace keeps shutting off. Like any other type of heater, electric fireplaces have safety features that kick in if normal operating conditions are not met. Shutting down is meant to protect the unit from damage or prevent a possible fire hazard.
Something like the motor overheating or poor ventilation to the unit are just a couple of the reasons why your electric fireplace may be shutting off.
So let’s review six common reasons why electric fireplaces shut off. We’ll also look at how to diagnose and correct the problem with your electric fireplace.
6 Reasons Why Your Electric Fireplace Keeps Shutting Off
1. Temperature Setting Has Been Reached
Like any heating and cooling system, your electric fireplace has a thermostat for you to input what temperature you want to heat your room. Once the fireplace reaches that setting, it will shut off.
Double-check that your thermostat is set correctly. If you don’t want it turning off as much, increase the temperature setting.
If you suspect you have a faulty thermostat try placing a thermometer next to the thermostat to see if it matches what your thermostat is registering. If your thermostat mistakenly believes it is warmer than it is, you should replace it.
If the thermostat is near your electric fireplace, you may want to try placing it further away, so it is not registering heat coming directly from the heater.
2. The Airflow is Restricted
A blocked or partially blocked air intake is one of the main reasons an electric fireplace will overheat. Without proper ventilation, the heating element cannot cool down, and the unit will shut down.
Locate the air intake for your electric fireplace and look for anything that could be blocking it. The buildup of dust, hair, paper, carpet are all light enough to be sucked in by the fan and begin to block the air coming in.
Check to see if your model has an air filter. It may be dirty and need to be cleaned or replaced.
It’s good practice to clean the inlet out regularly, every three months or so because debris blocking the air intake makes the motor work harder and eventually will wear it out faster than expected.
Remember to place your electric fireplace in an area that won’t restrict the airflow. Keep the heater inlet six inches away from walls, furniture, drapes, or anything else that could block air into the ventilation system.
3. The Heater is Blocked
Similar to the air intake of your electric fireplace, if the outflow of hot air is blocked, your electric fireplace will shut down.
This is an important safety feature because the hot air is forced back into the unit, causing it to overheat, creating a fire. Also, whatever is blocking the heater could catch on fire.
Double-check that nothing is blocking the blower and maintain at least three feet between the blower and any potential fire hazards like curtains or blankets.
4. Faulty Motor
If your motor is faulty, the most common problem is drawing too much power and causing the circuit breaker to trip.
This is not a DIY issue. Trying to fix a faulty motor should be done by the manufacturer; not only could you void the warranty, but you could create a worse problem that turns it into a fire hazard should you try to fix the faulty motor on your own.
5. Dirty or Dusty Heating Element
Dust and dirt are constantly being sucked into the motor and inner workings of your electric fireplace. So a part of good maintenance is to open it up once in a while to clean out the dust and debris on the heating elements.
Unplug your fireplace from the wall and open up the back of the unit to inspect the element. If you’ve been using the fireplace, be sure to let it cool off before attempting to touch any of the parts.
You can use a small brush with soft bristles, like a toothbrush, to brush away dust. Vacuum cleaners are also handy for sucking up dirt and debris. Lastly, a soft, damp cloth will do the trick for wiping away any oil or built-up gunk that refuses to be vacuumed up.
Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for how to clean the heating element of your electric fireplace.
Replacing the Heating Element
You can replace other heating elements. Heating elements are usually located in front of the fan blower. If you think the heating element needs to be replaced entirely, check with the manufacturer to do this yourself and order the correct replacement parts.
6. Electrical Circuit is Overloaded
Your electric fireplace may be tripping circuit breakers or fuses. This happens when too many things are plugged into one outlet or group of all on the same circuit. One circuit breaker may control the power for an entire room.
If you’re tripping a circuit breaker, try plugging your electric fireplace into a different plug or wall. If you can’t move your electric fireplace, try unplugging other items to reduce the amount of draw on the circuit. Don’t try to use power cords to reach a different outlet as they are not considered safe to use with electric heaters.
Finally, if there is no other option, you may need to hire an electrician to come in and install a circuit that can handle a more significant load than the one currently installed.
The above list represents six of the most common problems that may be causing your electric fireplace to shut off.
If your electric fireplace keeps shutting down, consider another troubleshooting approach: Has anything new or recent changed? For instance, did you recently change the light bulbs in your heater? If you used the wrong kind of bulbs, it might be causing your motor to overheat. Check the manufacturer’s guide to see about the correct wattage of the bulb for your unit.
Whatever the problem, once you’ve tracked down the cause, you should be able to fix it pretty quickly or call the manufacturer for help. And remember, safety first!