Electric Fireplace Not Heating? 7 Possible Reasons Why


Is your electric fireplace giving you the cold shoulder? Are you able to get it to turn on but not to heat up? Then in this article, you’ll find 7 reasons why this happens and what you can do to fix it.

Your electric fireplace isn’t heating because:

  1. The heating element is off
  2. It needs resetting
  3. The low and high switches need to be on at the same time
  4. You need to set the temperature higher
  5. The inlet or outlet needs unblocking
  6. There is a loose connection in the electrical wiring
  7. The heating element is faulty

There you have 7 reasons why your electric fireplace is not working. Are you ready to find out which of these is causing the issue with your fireplace and fix it? Then take a look at the next section that will walk you through everything you need to know.

7 Reasons Why Your Electric Fireplace Isn’t Heating

You step inside on a chilly evening and the first thing you do is turn your electric fireplace on. But it’s not for another hour or so until you realize that it’s not getting any warmer in the house. You double-check the power button, you can see the fireplace is on but for some reason, it’s stone cold. Something is up.

Coming up next, you’ll see 7 reasons why your fireplace isn’t heating. If you are having trouble with yours, work through these steps one by one so that you can solve the problem.

Reason #1 The Heating Element Is Off

Finding out what’s the matter with your fireplace might be easier than you think. Before you begin taking out screws and tearing the whole thing to pieces, let’s start with some of the simpler ways to fix common issues.

One easy mistake to make with an electric fireplace is with the heating element switch. Does your fireplace have an ON/OFF switch on a wall or on the unit? Then someone could brush against the switch accidentally turning the heating element off.

What should you do? It’s simple. If the heating element is switched off, flick the switch to turn it on. Then use the fireplace as you would normally, it should heat up just fine.

pressing the power switch button
If the heating element is off, flick the switch to turn it on

Reason #2 It Needs Resetting

A fireplace sometimes needs a restart just like any other electrical appliance. The restart helps it to cancel any pre programmed settings it has in its memory.

I like to think of a restart as a weekend vacation for my appliances. If it’s all getting a bit too much and the fireplace isn’t working as it should, a reset will help it relax for a few moments and shed the load. When you start the appliance back up again it should be as good as new.

So, how can you go about resetting your fireplace? It couldn’t be easier. Here are all the steps you’ll need:

  1. Turn the fireplace off
  2. Remove the power plug
  3. Wait for 5 minutes
  4. Plug the power plug back in and turn the fireplace back on. It should now be working properly again.
remove power cable
Remove the power plug to reset the fireplace

Reason #3 The Low and High Switches Need to Be On at the Same Time

Now, here’s a bit of a funny one. Your electric fireplace might not turn the heat on high if you do not have the high and low switch on at the same time. This is an issue I have found quite common with older electric fireplace models.

If your fireplace has a switch for low heat and high heat, try the following:

  1. Plug the fireplace into the mains
  2. Turn the power switch on
  3. Turn the low heat switch on
  4. Turn the high heat switch on. With both switches on, the high heat should function normally.

Reason #4 You Need to Set the Temperature Higher

Now here’s a frustrating one. The fireplace is on, you can even see the log lights are on, but the fireplace is cold as ice. Why does this happen?

If the temperature on your fireplace is not set high enough the heater will not switch on. The thermostat should be set above the temperature of your home, otherwise, it simply will not kick in.

To fix this problem, all you will need to do is to alter the fireplace’s thermostat. Try turning it up about 5 degrees. If it is a relatively mild day, you might need to turn it up another couple of degrees. You should find that the heater turns on not long after that.

thermostat control panel
Turn the thermostat up 5 degrees for the heating to turn on

Reason #5 The Inlet or Outlet Needs Unblocking

Your fireplace will struggle to heat properly if there is a blockage in the air inlet or outlet. These passages are blocked with dust and debris over time. They will block even faster if you have pets, smoke, or if you often have the windows open at home. They will need clearing in order for the fireplace to work as it should.

Here’s what you can do to clear a blockage in your air inlet or outlet:

  1. Change the inlet filter. Replace the filter with a new one. If you cannot replace the air filter, clear it of all debris and dust.
  2. Clean the air outlet. Remove any dust and debris from it.

TIP: To keep your fireplace in good working order, you should clean or replace your filters periodically. I recommend doing so every 6 months depending on how often you use the fireplace. This is especially important before using your fireplace for the first time after the summer.

Reason #6 There Is a Loose Connection in the Electrical Wiring

Is your fireplace’s thermostat on the highest setting but you still cannot feel any heat coming from it? Then you might have an electrical problem.

It’s worth ensuring you have the full 120v going to the plugs. Some fireplace plugs are GFI, and may have tripped so needs a reset (as in the plug has it’s own breaker, which you may need to reset).

If you have multiple GFI plugs, these can be in a series with each other – meaning one tripping can disable the power to all the plugs. So this is worth checking too.

Otherwise, it could be a wiring issue. If you suspect there is an issue with the electrics in your fireplace, do the following:

  1. Check the electrical wiring. While you do so, look for any loose connections. Make sure you check the connection to the thermostat.
  2. If there is a break in the connection between a wire and a connector, you may need to resolder the wire (or call a pro to help).

Reason #7 The Heating Element Is Faulty

If all else has failed, you might be staring down the barrel of a heating element issue. If your electrical connections are ok then it might be this element that needs changing.

Now, replacing a heating element is a tricky job. Not only that, but it is one that could invalidate your warranty should you decide to tackle it.

What’s the best thing to do here? I recommend that you call a professional and get them to analyze the fireplace. If they decide that the heating element needs replacing, they will be able to do that for you. If your fireplace is still under warranty, you should contact the manufacturer. This way, you can see if you can organize a repair or possibly free of charge replacement.

fireplace repair
Call a professional to change the heating element for you


Are you able to get your fireplace to turn on but can’t get it to start heating? Being stuck in a cold house on a chilly evening is no one’s idea of fun. This article is full of 7 reasons why your electric fireplace is playing up. It has no doubt helped you to pinpoint what’s wrong and fix the problem.

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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