4 Things to Try If Your Baseboard Heater Won’t Turn On


Can’t get your baseboard heater to turn on and stay on? Then take a look at the 4 tricks in this article that will help you fix this problem so that you can rev up the heat in your home.

If your baseboard heater won’t turn on do the following

  1. Check the circuit breaker
  2. Remove furniture from in front of the vents
  3. Inspect the valves
  4. Set the thermostat higher

So, there you have 4 simple things you can do to get your baseboard heater to turn on. Are you ready to try them out on your heater? Then take a look at these steps in more detail below.

4 Ways to Get Your Baseboard Heater to Turn on

Before we get started, it’s important to state that there’s two key types of baseboard heaters – electric and water-based (hydronic).

Electric baseboard heaters may trip your breaker, but water based heaters won’t.

Instead, water based heaters have valves and a pump, which should be checked.

Please follow each tip depending on your system!

It’s chilly out and the last thing you want to do is to sit in the cold all evening. So you try to get your baseboard heater to turn on but nothing happens. What can you do?

Coming up is a list of 4 things you can try if you’re having problems with your baseboard heater. Check it out so that you can ditch the sweater and gloves and enjoy a cozy evening in.

#1 Check the Circuit Breaker (Electric Heaters)

If you are struggling to get your baseboard heater to turn on, the first thing you should do is to check the circuit breaker. Here are a couple of reasons why you need to examine the circuit breaker.

  • The circuit breaker might be off
  • A fuse may have blown
  • The circuit breaker might be tripping every time you go to use the baseboard heater

Now that you know what you are looking for, it’s time for you to inspect your circuit breaker. Make sure that the switch to the heater is on, then you can start the heater. If the circuit breaker trips once you turn the heater on, you know you have an issue.

So what can you do to fix these problems? Take a look at the information below that will help.

The Problem The Solution
The ProblemThe Solution
The circuit breaker has tripped     Turn the circuit breaker back on
The fuse has blownReplace the fuse in the fuse box
The circuit breaker trips every time you turn the baseboard heater onYou have a short somewhere in the system. You will need to call an electrician. They will be able to diagnose why the heater keeps tripping the circuit breakers.

As you can see, in some instances you will have to call a technician rather than fix the problem yourself. This is usually the case when your circuit breaker keeps tripping every time you turn the heater on. This might be happening for any of the following reasons.

  • There are staples crushing the heaters’ wires. They have compromised their insulation. They have burnt and are now causing a short.
  • There is a problem with the thermostat
  • Your baseboard heater has not had any maintenance. Wear and tear damage to the wiring of your baseboard heater is causing a short.

To avoid these problems, I recommend that you have your baseboard heater system checked periodically. You should call an HVAC specialist to do this job. Yearly maintenance is sufficient.

#2 Remove Furniture From In Front of the Vents (All Baseboard Heaters)

You turn your baseboard heater on and it sounds like it’s working. But you can’t feel the benefit. What could be the problem? If you have any obstacles blocking the heater’s vents, they could be stopping the heat from distributing properly around your home.

Obstacles in front of the vents can also lead to more serious problems such as blockages. If the inside of the vents are blocked, this could become a fire hazard.

Here’s what you can do to fix this problem.

The Problem The Solution
The Problem Something is blocking the vents of the baseboard heater  
Remove any obstacles from in front of the vents. This includes the following.
– Children’s toys
– Furniture
– Drapes
There is something blocking the inside of the ventsCall a technician. They will be able to remove the blockage. Discontinue the use of the heater until the blockage is cleared.
heater obstructed
Make sure to remove any obstacles from in front of the heater

#3 Inspect the Valves & Pump (Water Heaters)

Another important thing to do if your baseboard won’t turn on is to inspect the valves. This is essential for the proper running of the heating in your home. Here’s why.

  • The valves can begin to develop rust and stick together. If you allow the valves to become too rusty, it could be expensive for you to fix the problem.
  • If the valves begin to corrode, it will be hard for heat to flow. The heating may turn on, but nothing will happen.

Do you suspect that there is a problem with the valves in your baseboard heater? Then here is what you can do.

The Problem The Solution
The valves are beginning to corrode  
Lubricate the valves into the baseboard periodically to prevent a buildup of rust  
The valves are extremely corrodedYou will have to call an HVAC technician. They will determine if the valves need to be replaced or if they can be cleaned and restored.

As you can see with this fix, prevention is definitely better than cure. So keep on top of the maintenance of your baseboard heater for it to continue working well all year round.

Similarly, you could also have a problem with the pump. You’ll want to check to make sure that the pump is running – the pipes around it should be hot (be careful!). If it isn’t you may want to call out a contractor.

#4 Set the Thermostat Higher

Is it particularly cold out? Then your baseboard heater is working harder than ever to try to keep your house warm. Sometimes, when the weather is especially grim, the thermostat may begin to malfunction. In most cases, it rights itself again when the temperature outside rises.

But how can you detect a defective thermostat? Here are two telltale signs.

  • It is very cold out and the baseboard heater runs for a short time before turning itself off. It is never on long enough to heat the house.
  • The baseboard heater will not turn on at all and the weather is extremely cold

What can you do in these instances? Here is a guide that will help.

The Problem The Solution
The baseboard heater won’t turn on properly when the weather is very cold outsideIncrease the temperature of the thermostat by a couple of degrees. Wait a few minutes to see if the heater comes on and stays on. This is a good temporary solution when the weather is bad.

What if the weather has gone back to normal and you are still having issues with your baseboard heater? You turn it on but it just won’t stay on. Then you will need to call a technician as it seems like there is a more complex problem with the thermostat.

Replacing a thermostat is a quick job. It should be free for you to have yours repaired or replaced if your insurance plan or warranty permits. To find out what your options are, you will have to get in touch with your heating supplier.

Turn up the thermostat a couple of degrees when the weather is extremely cold


It is already cold enough outside. You don’t also need to put up with the cold inside. So you turn your baseboard heater on but nothing happens. Or if it does decide to turn itself on, within no time it shuts itself down again.

Fortunately, this article has mentioned 4 things that you can do to fix this issue. They have no doubt helped you to fix your baseboard heater’s problem. Or, they have helped you to know when you should call a technician.

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Have a great day!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more