The last thing you want from a space heater is a lack of warmth. Well, the last thing you want from a space heater is probably for it to catch the drapes on fire, thereby burning down your house and leaving you with nothing but an insurance agent who blames you for having a space heater in the first place. Aside from that, however, yeah, no heat. That’s the biggie. Troubleshooting a space heater will be made much easier if you go out immediately after reading this to buy yourself a digital multitester for making absolutely certain that specific components of the space heater haven’t gone faulty.
Troubleshooting a space heater that isn’t working at all begins with a look at the power cord. Make sure that the cord is plugged into the wall. If the cord of your power heater is plugged in security, head to the main service panel and look for a tripped breaker or a blown fuse. Replace the fuse or reset the circuit breaker. If the main service panel provides no explanation for a lack of power to your space heater, check for loose wire connections or a problem with the thermostat setting. Other common causes of a space heater not working at all are faulty wattage switches or heating elements.
Doesn’t Cycle On and Off
If the problem is that your space heater runs continuously without cycling on and off, the problem may be location. A space heater situated in the path of a cold draft of air will run without cycling off. Jus move the heater away from the draft and take appropriate steps to deal with the cause of the draft, like weather-stripping or caulking. Use the multimeter to test the control thermostat if the problem is not draft-related.
Won’t Heat on Some Wattage Settings
Chances are that if your heater doesn’t work on some of the wattage settings, you’ve got yourself a problem with a faulty wattage switch. The multitester can confirm this diagnosis faster than Dr. House can make three faulty diagnoses of a patient he’s being rude to. You’ll have to replace the wattage switch if this is the problem, but this is an easy enough project that just about anyone can do it.
Constantly Blowing Fuses or Tripping Circuit Breakers
A space heater is often overlooked as an eater of energy because it isn’t as big as a forced air furnace system. The fact is that even a small space heater consumes a significant chunk of electrical power. If the space heater is making you change fuses faster than a jackrabbit in heat, the problem isn’t so much with the heater as it is with the electrical circuit. In a word: overload. The household electrical circuit is getting overloaded trying to do everything else and keep you warm. Reset the breaker or replace a fuse and then shut off one or two appliances that are running on the same circuit as the space heater.