Electric fireplaces come in many different sizes, shapes and designs, and have a number of electrical components, which can become dirty, faulty, damaged or blocked over time and through use.
Common problems for an electric fireplace can include:
- Won’t turn on
- Won’t heat
- Keeps shutting off
- Comes on by itself
- Won’t light up
- Is making a clicking noise
- Is squeaking
- Keeps beeping
The type and number of controls that come with each model of electric fireplace can also vary, and so it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint where and why a problem is occurring.
I have an electric fireplace that has 5 buttons and dials that control both the flames and heater components. Some controls need to be switch on before others will work, and so I had some trouble when using the electric fireplace for the first time.
I’ve therefore put together this electric fireplace troubleshooting guide together to explain the common problems experienced when using an electric fireplace, as well as outlining the possible solutions for fixing these problems.
I’ve used my own freestanding electric fireplace as an example for each problem, showing what the manufacturer recommends in the manual, and how I would try and fix the problem.
As a reference, below are the set of controls for my electric fireplace.
A – Thermostat Dial
B – Main On and Off Switch (turns on the flames)
C – Low Heat Setting On and Off Switch
D – High Heat Setting On and Off Switch
E – Flame Effect Dimmer Dial
All electric fireplaces are different and so if you can’t find a solution to your problem in this is article, it’s worth checking your instruction manual to try and find the solution to any problems on your particular model of fireplace.
If you’ve thrown away or lost the instruction manual to your fireplace, you may be able to find it online. Give the brand and model number of your electric fireplace a search and you may be able to find the manual that way. Alternatively, you can contact the manufacturer directly.
Electric Fireplace Won’t Turn On
All electric fireplace run on electricity, and so must have a source of mains electrical power to operate.
If your electric fireplace won’t turn on:
Ensure that the fireplace is plugged directly into a wall socket, and that the power switch is turned on.
Don’t plug an electric fireplace into an extension cable. If your fireplace is plugged into an extension cable, try putting the power cable straight into the wall socket and see if it will turn on.
Ensure that the main power switch on the electric fireplace is turned on.
On my electric fireplace, if the main power switch isn’t turned on the heater can’t be used.
If your electric fireplace still won’t turn on:
- Ensure that the fireplace isn’t located in a confined space, is free of any obstructions and the components are clean.
- If your fireplace came with a remote, change the batteries and see if you can turn your electric fireplace on, either on the fireplace itself or using the remote.
- Check the fireplace for any faulty wiring. A tightly bent or over-stretched power cord may be causing the problem.
- Check your fuse box or breaker for any switches that have tripped.
- Inspect the fuse on the electric fireplace and replace if necessary.
- Try another wall socket.
If you are within your warranty period, it’s worth contacting the manufacturer for any other possible causes and solutions. Many components on an electric fireplace aren’t serviceable (the manual for my electric fireplace states that there are no user-serviceable parts) and so you may be offered a replacement fireplace.
Electric Fireplace Won’t Heat
An electric fireplace uses a conventional space heater to provide heat. Common problems with the heater can include not turning on or blowing cold air.
Here’s what my electric fireplace heating component looks like from inside:
If your electric fireplace heater won’t turn on, won’t heat or the fan is blowing cold air:
Ensure that the fireplace is plugged in and turned on at the wall.
Ensure that the main power switch on the fireplace is turned on.
On my electric fireplace, the heater switches won’t work and the heater won’t turn on unless the main power switch is on.
With the power switch turned on for the fireplace, turn on any switches that control the heater.
Like many other electric fireplaces, my fireplace has two heat settings. The fireplace has separate switches to control each heat setting.
In order to the turn the heater on with the low setting switch, the power switch must be on. Turning on the low heat setting switch will then provide heat from the blower.
In order to turn the high heat setting on, both the power and low heat switches must be on. With both switches on, turning on the high heat switch will make the heater blow on the highest heat setting.
Therefore, in order for my electric fireplace to provide heat on the highest setting, all three switches must be on. Try this with your electric fireplace if it has a similar control setup.
If your electric fireplace has a thermostat, ensure that the dial is set to a temperature above the current room temperature, or the fireplace heater won’t turn on and give out any heat.
An electric fireplace thermostat helps to keep your room at a constant set temperature. The fireplace heater will automatically adjust the heat output when required to ensure that the room stays at this temperature.
Turning a thermostat dial to the left typically decreases the temperature setting, while turning it to the right increases it.
An electric fireplace thermostat will typically make a ‘clicking’ noise when the dial has been turned to the current room temperature. This is to let you know what the current temperature in the room is, and allows you to adjust the dial to set your preferred room temperature accordingly.
I can set my preferred room temperature on my electric fireplace by turning the thermostat dial past the current room temperature. Once my preferred temperature in the room has been reached, I need to turn the dial back until I hear a click. The electric fireplace heater will now keep the room at this temperature.
Ensure that the inlet or outlet to the electric fireplace heater aren’t blocked.
A blocked inlet to the heater will prevent air from circulating through the heating element and providing warm air to the room.
A blocked outlet from the fireplace heater will prevent the warm air from being distributed into the room.
Check that the heater element is clean and the blower is working efficiently.
The heater element will be located inside the electric fireplace. You may need to open your fireplace get access to the component (I’ve written a guide on how to open an electric fireplace here).
The heating element may have burned out, in which case it would need replacing. Check to see if your fireplace is still within warranty and contact the manufacturer.
Ensure that the blower is working efficiently. Here’s a video of my electric fireplace blower operating without any problems:
Electric Fireplace Keeps Shutting Off
Some models of electric fireplace come with a thermostat to help keep the room at a constant temperature.
Many electric fireplaces also come with an overheat protection mode as a safety feature to prevent the fireplace from overheating.
If your electric fireplace keeps shutting or turning off, and won’t stay on:
The temperature in the room may be reaching the temperature set on the electric fireplace’s thermostat.
Ensure that the dial is set above the current room temperature or the fireplace heater will keep shutting off. The thermostat dial will make a ‘clicking’ sound when turning to let you know what the current room temperature is.
The electric fireplace may have overheated and gone into overheat protection mode.
Turn your electric fireplace off at the unit, and turn it off and unplug the power cable at the wall socket. Leave the fireplace for a period of time to cool down, and then try using it again.
Ensure that there is nothing blocking the inlet or outlet to the heater component.
Ensure that the electric fireplace heater is clean and dust free.
Ensure that the electric fireplace isn’t located in a confined space, such as in a cupboard, which can lead to the fireplace overheating.
Electric Fireplace Comes On By Itself
Some models of electric fireplace have a thermostat that keeps the room at a certain temperature.
If your electric fireplace is coming on by itself:
Check the thermostat dial.
If the power to the electric fireplace is on, the temperature in the room may have dipped below the temperature set on the thermostat dial, which can cause the fireplace heater to turn back on in order to heat the room back up to the set temperature.
To make sure that the electric fireplace doesn’t come on by itself, set the thermostat to its lowest setting, or turn the fireplace off at the main switch on the appliance, or on the wall.
Electric Fireplace Won’t Light Up
The flames on an electric fireplace aren’t real, and so they’re produced by a light source run on electricity.
If your electric fireplace won’t light up and has no flames:
- Ensure that the fireplace is plugged in at the wall and turned on.
- Ensure that the main power switch on the electric fireplace is turned on.
On my electric fireplace, turning on the main switch on the fireplace automatically turns on the flames (I can’t turn off the flames without turning off the whole fireplace, including the heater). I also have an additional dial on the fireplace that I used to adjust the brightness of the flames.
Ensure that any power switches that control the flames are turned on.
Ensure that any dials or buttons to control the brightness of the flames are on and turned up.
Check the lighting components inside the fireplace for signs of any problems, such a blown bulb.
Like many other freestanding electric fireplaces, my electric fireplace reflects light onto the back of the fireplace screen from a rotating rod that has strategically placed mirrors along it.
As the mirrors rotate, the effects of flickering flames are projected onto the front of the fireplace to imitate a real fire.
My electric fireplace has an LED light source which shouldn’t need to be changed. If your electric fireplace has a bulb, check to see whether it has been blown and replace as necessary.
Also check that the rotating mirrors are working efficiently.
Electric Fireplace Is Making A Clicking Noise
An electric fireplace makes a clicking noise when the thermostat dial is turned to the current temperature in the room.
Below is a video showing my electric fireplace making the clicking noise when the thermostat dial is turned to the current temperature of the room:[Video] Clicking
Your electric fireplace may be making a clicking noise as the temperature in the room rises above and falls below the temperature set on the thermostat.
An electric fireplace may also make a clicking noise as the metal components are expanding and contracting as it’s heating up and cooling down.
Electric Fireplace Is Squeaking
An electric fireplace can have a number of motorized components. Depending on the type and model of electric fireplace, the flames and heat may be produced by separate motors.
These motorized components can wear out over time and use, and cause an electric fireplace to make a squeaking noise.
The flame effect on a new electric fireplace should operate almost silently, while the heater component typically makes a small amount of noise, particularly from the blower.
Below are videos I took when my electric fireplace was brand new, showing the typical noises made by the heater blower, and lights that produce the flames.[Video] blower inside [Video] flames inside
If your electric fireplace is squeaking:
- Listen to find out where in the fireplace the squeaking noise is coming from.
- Ensure that the fireplace is switched off and unplugged from the wall.
- You’ll need to open up the fireplace to get access to the main components (I have a guide here explaining how to open an electric fireplace).
- Check that the heater and flame components haven’t come loose and are tightly connected to the fireplace unit.
- Ensure that the rods for the flames or heater are well lubricated.
- Remove any dirt or dust from the heater and flame components.
- One or more of the motors may need to be changed if the squeaking noise doesn’t go away.
Electric Fireplace Keeps Beeping
It can be common to have an electric fireplace that makes a beeping sound when the main controls are used, such as when using a remote to turn the fireplace on or off.
When an electric fireplace keeps making a beeping noise it’s a sign that something isn’t functioning properly, or it’s alerting you to an issue that needs addressing.
If your electric fireplace keeps beeping:
- Replace the batteries in the remote (if it has one).
- Ensure that the inlet and outlet to the heater aren’t being blocked.
- Ensure that the fireplace components are clean and working efficiently.
If your electric fireplace keeps beeping, refer to your instruction manual for further assistance, or contact the manufacturer.