How Long Do Oil Filled Heaters Last?

Oil-filled heaters are a great source of warmth in the winter months. These heaters use oil to produce heat, which is then distributed throughout your home or office.

They can last for over 10 years on average. But there are plenty of factors that determine how long they will last.

It all depends on how often you use them and what type of heating system you have in place for your house.

This post will explore the lifespan and usage frequency of these types of heaters so that you know when it is time to purchase a new one.

How Long Do Oil-Filled Heaters Last?

The life expectancy of an oil-filled heater is inextricably linked to the temperature inside the heating element.

If the coil temperature is maintained between 750 and 1000 F throughout its usage, the heater should last anywhere from 16 to 20 years.

How Do Oil Filled Heaters Work?

Diathermic oil is used in the inner walls and body of oil heaters. This oil will not need to be replenished since it isn’t utilized as a form of fuel.

It’s not the case that you’re heating oil to preserve it for later use. Rather, the oil is there to serve as a heat reservoir so it will never be depleted. It does continue to flow through your heater, rather than being used up.

Here is how an oil-filled heater works:

  • The electricity is usually channeled into the resistor in the heater. This will turn the energy from the electricity into heat.
  • The heat will then be absorbed by the oil inside the heater.
  • The oil will start to warm up and then circulate through the columns and fins.
  • The heat will then be transferred by the movement of the oil into the metal fins of the heater. This will create even surface temperatures.
  • Once the metal of the fins begins to heat, it will start to radiate out heat around your room.
  • The heat will begin to circulate through your room due to the air’s natural convection.

Pros and Cons of Oil Filled Heaters

Oil filled heaters also come with their pros and cons. Let’s first look at the pros of these heaters.


  • Oil-filled heaters are energy-efficient since they have a lower power consumption compared to other heaters such as electric heaters.
  • They offer long-lasting warmth – They have a large surface area, which makes them offer longer-lasting warmth to users.
  • Oil heaters are also quiet because once the oil reaches its optimum temperature, it doesn’t have to work hard to continue running efficiently. What’s more, there aren’t any moving parts that create noise like fans in electric heaters.
  • They have a low environmental impact – Another advantage of oil-filled heaters is that they tend to have a low environmental impact. This is because they have low energy expenditure. After all, the oil in the heater can remain effective for very long.


While these heaters are safe, it’s still important to know the dangers of oil heaters

  • Oil-filled heaters are slow to warm because they mostly rely on the liquid oil to be heated, before the heat is transferred to the metal walls, and then to the air through radiation. They are also slow to cool down, which can be an issue if some small children or pets may touch them.
  • Oil heaters are also quite heavy. This makes them cumbersome to move around from one place to another, and also when you want to put them away for storage.
  • Oil heaters are not ideal for larger spaces – They don’t work well in larger spaces because the heat will struggle to distribute in large rooms and their effects may be minimal.

What Affects How Long an Oil Filled Heater Lasts?

Several factors affect how long an oil filled heater lasts. Check them out below.

  • Resistance coil – The resistance coil is the heater’s only moving part, which increases wear and tear. This coil helps the heater to change electricity into heat. The more moving parts in a device, the faster it’s going to wear out and break down.
  • Size of the heater vs room capacity – Generally, the bigger and more powerful a heater is, the longer it will last. Keep in mind that its surface area should be able to cover all of your room’s square footage.
  • Running the heater for long hours – If you’re using a heater that’s meant for small spaces, running it for too long can damage the resistance coil. Heaters usually have an automatic shut-off feature if they reach high temperatures to prevent this from happening.
  • Lack of routine maintenance – Regularly servicing oil-filled heaters can help them last longer. Heating elements in these devices contain thermal switches that switch the heater on when it reaches a pre-determined temperature, which reduces their lifespan if they don’t get enough cooling time between uses.

How To Know If You Need to Replace Your Oil Heater?

There are many ways you can know if you need to replace your heater. Check out some of them below.

  • Frequent service calls – If you find that your heater is constantly having issues, then it may be time to replace it. Some of these issues may include, constantly being turned on and off, the appliance stopping to work in the middle of an operation, constant overheating, or short cycling. All these issues may indicate that your heater is wearing down and it’s time for a replacement.
  • Expensive repair bills – If your heating service bills are getting higher or you find that the cost of maintaining your heater is expensive, then it may be time to replace it.
  • Uneven temperatures – When your home is not as warm and comfortable as it used to be, then you may need a replacement. This is because your heater may be broken or you may have a more demanding heating system.
  • Inability to stay at the thermostat’s temperature setting – If you find that your heater is constantly overheating or not heating the room enough, then it may be time to replace it. That’s because this is usually a sign that your heater is worn out.
  • New or increased noises – When your heater starts making new or increased noises, then know that it has an issue and it may be time to replace it. Some of these issues are grinding sounds when it is running and clicking when the fan motor starts up.
  • Increase in energy bills – In case you find your energy bills increasing, then there is an issue with the heater. This may happen when old appliances start to break down and it becomes difficult for them to operate efficiently.
  • Excessive humidity inside your home – If humidity levels in your home are increasing, then it may be time to replace your heater. This is because higher humidity levels can cause damage to sensitive materials inside your house such as hardwood floors or even electrical appliances.
  • Desire to be more energy-efficient – If you want to become greener and more energy-efficient, then it’s time for a replacement. This is because old heaters may not be as effective in keeping your home warm or comfortable without using much electricity or gas.

Safety Tips when Using Oil-Filled Heaters

  • Keep the heater on a sturdy surface away from furniture or combustible materials.
  • Do not touch hot surfaces. Always turn off the heater before adjusting, cleaning, or moving it.
  • If you can’t remember how long your heater has been in use, replace it with a new one at least every ten years – even if it still works well. This is because electric heaters have an electronic component that ages over time and may be more likely to fail when they get older. Oil filled heaters do not contain electronics so there’s no need to worry about them breaking down after extended usage times.
  • Don’t risk storing oil near any open flames whether inside or outdoors as this could cause dangerous fires.
  • While oil-filled heaters are usually safe, they can still overheat if you don’t take care of them properly. Therefore, you should always unplug the heater and allow it to cool before moving or cleaning it.
  • It is also important to make sure that your home has proper ventilation when using this kind of heater because it may release harmful gases into the air which should not be inhaled by anyone in the household.
  • Keep pets and small children away from the oil-filled heater’s hot surface for another safety precaution. Some heaters include a guard, but not all of them do.
  • Always rely on the heater’s built-in thermostat and internal mechanism. You run the hazard of overheating if you use any external tool or technology.


Oil filled heaters are a great way to provide warmth. They can also be used as auxiliary heating for those who have hot water baseboards or electric heaters, but need another source of heat during the winter months.

They’re relatively inexpensive and require no installation which makes them perfect for renters!

Oil-filled heaters don’t increase humidity levels in your home like other sources of heating may do. So, they won’t breed any mold spores making them a good choice for people with allergies too.

I hope you’ve been able to learn a lot of useful information and tips from this post. If you happen to have any questions or feedback regarding this post, feel free to reach out through email and we’ll be happy to help.