7 Reasons why your electric fireplace won’t turn on

There can be nothing more frustrating than setting up a new electric fireplace or turning on the old one after it hasn’t been used all summer, only to encounter problems.

Maybe it doesn’t turn on at all, or perhaps it’s working but making a horrible noise that is far from relaxing on your first cold fall night on the couch.

If that sounds like your fireplace, you’ll want to read our seven most common reasons why your fireplace isn’t cooperating. We’ll also talk about how to troubleshoot these pesky problems and how to fix them.

My Electric Fireplace is On But No Heat is Coming Out

This is usually caused by the thermostat being set too low. Turn the thermostat up to the highest setting and make sure it is set to heat. Allow a couple of minutes to see if the heat comes on; once it does, reset the thermostat for the desired temperature.

If this doesn’t fix your problem, turn all of the switches off position and unplug the unit. Wait for five minutes, then plug it back in and turn all the switches back on.

1. It’s not Plugged in

Electric fireplaces need to be plugged in somewhere to work. So the first and most apparent check is to make sure it’s plugged in. We know pretty obvious stuff. But an unplugged appliance happens more than you think. Maybe it got unplugged during the summer, and you just forgot.

Next, make sure the plug is working. Plug something else, like your toaster, into the plug and see if it works. If the toaster isn’t getting any juice either, then you’ll need to troubleshoot the power supply.

Check for tripped circuit breakers. Is there a GFCI (a plug with a kind of circuit breaker) that has tripped?

Does a switch control the plug? Check to make sure the switch is actually in the on position.

2. The Ember Bed is Glowing, But There are No Flames

If your flames are not working, but the ember bed is glowing, then the problem will be with your spindle spinner.

The spindle spinner is the mechanism that creates the illusion of flames in your electric fireplace. It spins around on a ‘flame illusion rod’ that has reflective metallic offshoots connected to it. Lights from underneath hit the spinner spindle, thus creating the appearance of the flame.

Unplug your electric fireplace and unscrew the back panel. Check to ensure that the spindle is still connected to the motor and that nothing is blocking the spinner spindle from moving.

Once you have the back open, turn on the fireplace to see what it is doing. Do NOT touch any of the parts while the fireplace is plugged in. Unplug the unit once again and adjust the spinner spindle.

If you cannot fix the spinner spindle, you will need to contact the manufacturer for assistance.

The Circuit Breaker Trips or Fuse Blows When My Electric Fireplace is Turned On

3. Circuit Overload

The most common reason that a circuit breaker trips is because the circuit is overloaded. Too many things are plugged into it. One circuit breaker may control an entire room or wall.

Start by unplugging everything connected to the circuit breaker, then plug in your electric fireplace and turn it on. If it doesn’t trip, then you know you had too many things plugged into it. You can then begin plugging other items in until you blow the circuit breaker.

You’ll need to decide what isn’t necessary to be plugged into the same load-bearing circuit.

If your electric fireplace trips the circuit breaker all on its own, you may need to find a different circuit to plug it into.

Another option is to have an electrician upgrade the circuit to handle the amperage.

4. Short Circuit

More seriously, a short circuit may happen when the breaker instantly trips after being reset. Faulty wiring in the plug may cause this and may require an electrician.

My Electric Fireplace Turns Off by Itself

5. Unit May be Over Heating

Most electric fireplaces are equipped with a safety shut-off function in case of overheating. Make sure nothing is blocking where the heat is coming out. Also, ensure that airflow is good to the back area for good ventilation while it is on.

You may also want to open up the back of the unit and clean the fan of any dust and dirt build-up that may impede the unit from self-cooling. (Always unplug the unit while working on it).

6. Make Sure There Is Not a Timer Set

Some electric fireplaces have timers that are set to shut off after a certain amount of time.

7. Faulty Remote Control

Check that the batteries are fresh in your remote control. Also, check to see if the on/off button may be stuck. Over time remote control buttons can get stuck because of dirt or damage.

Open the remote up and spray canned air to clean dust and dirt. Try replacing the remote control if none of this works.

Ember Beds, Logs, and/or Flames Are Very Dim

Check for a Dimmer Switch

Some electric fireplaces have dimmer switches that allow you to increase or decrease the intensity of the flames and ember beds; yours may be turned down too low.

Something Maybe Blocking the Lightbulb

Open up the back of the unit and check to make sure nothing is blocking or covering the lightbulbs. Make certain bulbs are screwed in tight.

Loose Wiring

Check for loose wiring and that lightbulbs are getting full power. Tighten up or replace wiring if necessary. Press the flame button several times to reset.

The Heater is Making an Excessive Amount of Noise

Check Hardware Connections

Loose hardware is the most common culprit of noisy motors. Open up your fireplace and look for loose screws or parts that move around. Use a wrench or screwdriver to tighten any loose connections.

Lubricate the Flame Illusion Log

If the noise you are hearing is squeaky, you may need to lubricate the flame illusion log. Open up the back panel and lubricate using WD-40 or something similar.

Clean the Hardware

Do a deep clean of the motor, blower, and all other moving parts by cleaning off all dust and dirt.

The Power Cord Gets Warm

A faulty outlet or loose plug can cause a power cord, outlet, or plug to get warm. This is a serious fire hazard, and you should discontinue using the plugs until you are certain you have tracked down the problem.

To troubleshoot if this is the problem, try recreating it by plugging the electric fireplace into another outlet. If it happens again, then you need to contact the manufacturer. If it only occurs in one outlet, you should contact an electrician to correct the problem.

Final Thoughts

Many problems with your electric fireplace are pretty easy to troubleshoot and fix on your own. However, if you have an electrical issue, it may be best to have an electrician come in if you suspect a more serious electrical problem. Whatever the situation, you’ll have your electric fireplace up and working in no time!