Why Is My Heater Not Working? Troubleshooting & Solutions

Why Is My Heater Not Working

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re experiencing issues with your heater. A malfunctioning heater can be a frustrating problem, especially during the colder months. But don’t worry, we’re here to help!

In this article, we’ll be discussing common heater issues, troubleshooting tips, and solutions to help you get your heater up and running again. Whether you have a gas or electric heater, we’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding common heater issues can help you troubleshoot the problem more effectively.
  • Checking the thermostat settings, inspecting and replacing air filters, and ensuring proper power supply are all important troubleshooting steps.
  • Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent heater breakdowns.
  • If all troubleshooting attempts fail, it’s best to seek professional assistance.
  • Energy-saving tips can help optimize heating efficiency and reduce heating costs.

Common Heater Issues That Can Cause a Breakdown

When your heater stops working, it can be frustrating and inconvenient, especially during the colder months. Here are some common issues that can cause a breakdown and tips for troubleshooting:

Faulty Thermostat

If your heater is not heating, the first thing to check is your thermostat. A faulty thermostat can cause the heater to not turn on or produce insufficient heat. Check the temperature setting and ensure that it is set to heat. If the thermostat is not functioning correctly, you may need to replace it.

Clogged Air Filters

Dirty air filters can also cause your heater to stop heating. A clogged filter restricts airflow, making it difficult for hot air to circulate in your home. Check your air filters and replace them if they are dirty. It is recommended to replace air filters every three months to ensure your heater operates efficiently.

Tip: Regularly checking and cleaning your air filters can prolong the life of your heater and prevent breakdowns.

Malfunctioning Pilot Light

A malfunctioning pilot light is another common issue that can cause your heater to stop working. If the pilot light is not lit or is flickering, it may need to be relit or replaced. Check your owner’s manual for instructions on how to safely relight the pilot light or contact a professional technician for assistance.

Inadequate Power Supply

If your heater is not functioning, it could be due to an inadequate power supply. A tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse can cause a heater to stop working. Check your circuit breaker or fuse box, and if you find an issue, reset the breaker or replace the fuse. If the issue persists, contact a professional to diagnose the problem.

Poor Maintenance

Poor maintenance can also lead to heater breakdowns. Neglecting to clean and maintain your heater can cause it to become less efficient and eventually stop working altogether. Regular cleaning and maintenance ensure proper operation and help extend the life of your heater. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific cleaning and maintenance instructions.

Tip: Scheduling annual professional maintenance can help prevent heater breakdowns and identify potential issues before they become major problems.

By troubleshooting these common heater issues, you can identify and resolve the problem quickly. In some cases, it may be necessary to contact a professional technician for assistance. With proper maintenance and care, you can keep your heater running efficiently and effectively for years to come.

Check the Thermostat Settings

If you find that your heater is not turning on, it’s important to check the thermostat settings first. Sometimes, the settings can be accidentally changed, resulting in the heater not functioning correctly.

Start by checking the thermostat display to ensure that it is on and showing a temperature setting. Make sure the setting is at least a few degrees higher than the current room temperature to initiate the heating process.

If the display is blank, it could indicate a dead battery or an electrical problem that is preventing the thermostat from functioning. In this case, replace the battery or check the electrical connections to fix the issue.

Additionally, check that the thermostat is set to the correct mode, such as “heat” rather than “cool.” If it’s currently on “cool,” switch it to “heat” and try turning the heater back on.

If you’ve checked the thermostat and it’s functioning correctly, but the heater is still not turning on, it’s important to continue troubleshooting using the other sections provided.

Inspect and Replace Air Filters

If your heater is not blowing hot air, the air filters may be the culprit. Dirty or clogged filters can restrict airflow and prevent hot air from being produced. It is important to regularly inspect and replace air filters to ensure proper heating and ventilation.

To inspect the air filters, locate the filter compartment on your heater and remove the filter. If the filter appears dirty or clogged with dust and debris, it needs to be replaced. You can purchase replacement filters from hardware or home improvement stores.

Steps to Replace Air Filters:
Step 1: Turn off your heater and unplug it from the power source.
Step 2: Open the filter compartment and remove the old filter.
Step 3: Install the new filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 4: Close the filter compartment and plug in your heater.

Regularly replacing air filters can ensure your heater is working efficiently and can also improve the air quality in your home. It is recommended to replace the filters every 1-3 months, depending on usage and the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Check the Pilot Light

If your heater is not producing any heat, it could be due to a malfunctioning pilot light. The pilot light is a small flame that ignites the gas burner, producing heat.

To check the pilot light, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the pilot light on your heater. It is typically located near the gas control valve.
  2. Turn off the heater and wait a few minutes for any gas to dissipate.
  3. Turn the thermostat to the lowest setting and locate the pilot light button or knob.
  4. Press the button or knob and hold it down while also holding a lit match or lighter to the pilot light opening.
  5. Keep the button or knob depressed for about a minute after the pilot light is lit, then release it. The pilot light should stay lit.
  6. Turn the thermostat back to the desired temperature setting, and the heater should start producing heat.

If the pilot light does not light or goes out after releasing the button or knob, it could be due to a clogged pilot opening, a faulty thermocouple, or a gas supply issue. In this case, it is recommended to seek professional assistance to diagnose and repair the issue.

Ensure Proper Power Supply

If your heater is not functioning, it’s possible that the power supply is the source of the issue. Here’s what to do:

  1. Check the circuit breaker: Make sure the circuit breaker labeled for your heater is turned on. If it’s not, switch it back on and see if the heater starts working. If it keeps tripping, there may be an electrical issue that requires a professional’s attention.
  2. Replace the fuse: If your heater runs on a fuse and not a circuit breaker, it’s possible that the fuse has blown. You can replace it by unscrewing the blown fuse and screwing in a new one of the same size and rating.
  3. Inspect the power cord: Check if the power cord is damaged or frayed. If it is, unplug the cord and get it professionally repaired or replaced.

Note: If you’re not comfortable handling electrical components, it’s always best to call a professional technician to ensure your safety and the proper functioning of your heater.

Clean and Maintain the Heater

Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential for ensuring your heater operates at peak performance. Here are some tips:

Replace Air Filters

Inspect air filters regularly and replace them every 30-60 days. Dirty filters can restrict airflow and cause the heater to work harder, resulting in increased energy costs and reduced lifespan.

Task Frequency
Inspect air filters Every 30 days
Replace air filters Every 30-60 days

Clean the Blower Motor and Coils

Over time, dust and debris can accumulate in the blower motor and coils, reducing efficiency and causing performance issues. Keep these components clean by vacuuming or wiping them down every 6-12 months.

Schedule Professional Heater Maintenance

Annual or bi-annual maintenance by a professional technician can help identify and address potential issues before they become major problems. A technician can also perform more thorough cleaning and maintenance, such as lubrication of moving parts and inspection of electrical connections.


Remember to turn off the heater and unplug it from the power source before performing any cleaning or maintenance tasks. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidance on cleaning and maintenance.

Check the Gas Supply (For Gas Heaters)

If you have a gas heater that is not functioning, it is important to check the gas supply. A lack of gas can cause the pilot light to go out or prevent the heater from producing heat altogether.

First, check the gas meter outside to ensure it is turned on and has enough gas. If the meter is off or low on gas, contact your gas provider to fill up the tank.

Next, check the gas valve on the heater to ensure it is open. If it is closed, turn it on and wait a few minutes before attempting to relight the pilot light.

If the pilot light is out, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight it. If the pilot light will not stay lit, it may be a sign of a more significant issue, and you should contact a professional technician for assistance.

Remember to always prioritize your safety when working with gas heaters. If you smell gas, leave the area immediately and contact your gas provider for assistance.

Call a Professional Technician

If you have tried all the troubleshooting steps provided above and your heater still isn’t functioning, it’s time to call in a professional technician. While attempting to fix complex heater issues yourself may seem like a cost-effective solution, it can actually result in more damage and higher repair costs in the long run.

A professional technician has the expertise and experience to diagnose and repair heater problems quickly and efficiently. They also have access to the latest tools and equipment to ensure that your heater is fixed correctly the first time.

When considering a professional heater repair service, be sure to research reputable providers in your area. Look for companies that have positive reviews, are licensed and insured, and offer competitive pricing. You may also want to check with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) to ensure that the company has a good reputation.

By calling a professional technician, you can rest assured that your heater will be repaired in a timely and cost-effective manner, allowing you to enjoy a warm and comfortable home again.

Alternative Heating Options

If your heater cannot be fixed immediately, there are several alternative heating options that you can use temporarily to stay warm.

  • Space heaters: A portable space heater is a convenient option to heat up a small area of your home. Make sure to follow safety precautions such as keeping it away from flammable material and unplugging it when not in use.
  • Electric blankets: An electric blanket is a cozy option that can provide warmth while you sleep. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and use it safely to avoid any potential fire hazards.

Remember, these options are temporary and should not replace a fully functioning heater. It’s important to get your heater repaired or replaced as soon as possible to ensure a warm and comfortable living space.

Energy-Saving Tips for Efficient Heating

If you want to optimize your heating efficiency and reduce your heating costs, there are several energy-saving tips you can follow:

  1. Proper insulation is essential to keep warm air inside and cold air outside. Be sure to seal any gaps or leaks around windows and doors with weatherstripping or caulking.
  2. Upgrade to a programmable thermostat. You can set the temperature to automatically adjust when you’re away or asleep, which can save up to 10% on heating costs.
  3. Lower your thermostat by a degree or two. For every degree higher, your heating costs increase by about 3%. Try to find a comfortable temperature between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Clean or replace air filters regularly to ensure proper airflow. Dirty filters can cause your heater to work harder, which uses more energy and increases your bills.
  5. Use ceiling fans to circulate warm air throughout the room. By reversing their direction, your fan will push warm air down rather than letting it rise to the ceiling.
  6. Consider investing in an energy-efficient heating system. Newer models can save you up to 30% on heating costs and provide better performance.

By following these energy-saving tips, you can enjoy efficient heating without breaking the bank. Remember to schedule regular maintenance for your heater and seek professional assistance if needed to ensure optimal performance.


Now that you have learned how to troubleshoot and fix common issues with your heater, you can ensure that your home stays warm and comfortable all winter long. Remember to check the thermostat settings, inspect and replace air filters, check the pilot light, ensure proper power supply, clean and maintain the heater, and call a professional technician if needed.

If your heater cannot be fixed immediately, consider using alternative heating options such as space heaters or electric blankets. Additionally, implementing energy-saving tips like proper insulation, using programmable thermostats, and maintaining a comfortable but lower temperature can help reduce your heating costs.

By following these tips and seeking professional assistance when necessary, you can ensure that your heater is working efficiently and effectively, providing optimal heating for your home. Stay warm and cozy this winter!

Related Questions