Iron Not Heating up Fully? Fix It in 8 Simple Steps


Is your iron giving your clothes the cold shoulder? Then this article will take you through 8 steps that you can complete when your iron is not heating up fully.

If your iron is not heating up fully do this:

  1. Check the power outlet
  2. Inspect the cable
  3. Fill the tank
  4. Adjust the temperature
  5. Remove the limescale
  6. Replace the heating element
  7. Replace the pump
  8. Change the thermostat

Are you ready to fix your iron that won’t heat up? Then follow the step-by-step guide coming up next.

8 Steps to Fix an Iron That Won’t Heat up Properly

So, your iron seems to be knocking on death’s door. It’s giving off just enough heat for you to know that it’s not completely kaput, but also barely hot enough to iron out a piece of tissue paper should you need to. What could be the matter with it?

In this next section, I’ll run through 8 simple steps that will help you fix your iron’s heating problem.

Step #1 Check the Power Outlet

Let’s start the ball rolling today with the easiest and simplest step. That is, checking your power outlet. If your power outlet is faulty, it could be the cause of your iron’s heating issue.

How can you fix this? Try plugging your iron into a different power outlet. If the iron begins to work properly, you can conclude that there is a problem with your outlet. You will need to contact an electrician to fix this.

What if plugging the iron into a different power outlet didn’t solve the problem? Then move on to the next step in this article.

plugging iron into different outlet
Try plugging your iron into a different power outlet

Step #2 Inspect the Cable

The next super simple step is to inspect the iron’s power cable. The power cable should be free from any signs of wear and tear. If it is damaged, it could be causing a short and be the culprit of your intermittent power problem.

What are the indications of damage that you should be wary of? Here are a couple of warning signs:

  • Fraying
  • Bite marks
  • Discoloration

If the cable shows signs of damage, you will need to replace it. To do that, you will have to *remove the soleplate then change the cable.

If the power cable is not the source of the issue, jump to the next step in this article.

*TIP: Make sure you can get hold of a replacement cable for your iron before you begin the repair. If you can’t, you will have to get a new iron.

Step #3 Fill the Tank

Your steam iron needs to have water in its tank in order for it to heat up properly. Without enough water, it is more likely to stick and burn your clothes. Yes, this is a very expensive mistake to make.

To fix this problem, simply add ironing water to the tank. To prolong the lifespan of your iron, fill it with one of the following:

  • Distilled water
  • Demineralized water
  • 50% demineralized water mixed with tap water

Make sure your iron is plugged out while you fill it with water. Then switch the iron on and see if it heats up properly. If it doesn’t, meet me at the next step.

filling iron water tank
Make sure there is water in your steam iron

Step #4 Adjust the Temperature

Do you feel like the soleplate of your iron isn’t quite hot enough? Then it might be because you need to adjust its temperature.

Certain items of clothing will need more heat for them to iron well. These include the following:

  • Corduroy
  • Heavyweight cotton
  • Woven wool

Try increasing the temperature slightly on your iron’s dial. If the iron doesn’t begin to heat up more, take a look at step 5.

Step #5 Remove the Limescale

Your iron might not heat up properly because of a limescale buildup on the soleplate. This would clog the plate and prevent it from producing as much steam as it should. This could make it seem like it isn’t heating up as well as it did.

To fix this issue, you will simply need to clean the soleplate. You should do this while the iron is plugged out of the mains and cool. You can clean the soleplate with a non-abrasive cloth and white vinegar. When you have finished removing the limescale, wipe the soleplate with a damp cloth. This will remove the vinegar smell. When you have finished cleaning the soleplate, turn the iron on to see if it is working normally again.

How can you avoid a buildup of limescale in the future? Put distilled or demineralized water in your iron instead of tap water. This is especially important if you live in a hard water area.

cleaning iron soleplate
Clean the limescale from the soleplate

Step #6 Replace the Heating Element

Here’s where we get into the trickier steps to fix your iron, the first being, replacing the heating element. You will need to do this if the iron is not heating up as it should. There are a couple of reasons why replacing the heating element might be necessary.

  • The heating element has lost its electrical properties
  • The heating element is faulty, it no longer responds

Replacing this part of the iron, however, is not straightforward. It is often difficult to get hold of the parts, especially when the iron is old. In most cases, you’ll save yourself time and a pretty penny, replacing the iron altogether.

Step #7 Replace the Pump

The pump is the mechanism in the iron that pushes the water from the tank to the steam supply. If this doesn’t work, the iron will not be able to get as hot as it should and will not steam.

How can you work out whether the pump in your iron needs replacing? Well, the pump is a rather noisy feature. If when pressing the steam button there is no steam or sound, there could be a problem with it.

If there is an issue with the pump you will need to replace it. But, as with the previous step, searching for the right pump for your iron might be like looking for a needle in a haystack. You are likely better off getting a new iron.

Step #8 Change the Thermostat

The thermostat dial on your iron controls its temperature. As you turn it, it should make the soleplate hotter or cooler. But what if that temperature gauge is broken?

If the thermostat dial on your iron is not changing the temperature, you will need to replace it. Again, replacing the dial might be more hassle than it’s worth. If your temperature dial is faulty, I recommend a new iron.


Does your iron struggle to heat up fully? Do you feel like it takes an age just to get the smallest creases out of your clothes? Then I’m sure the 8 steps in this article have helped you to find the issue and fix it. It has also helped you work out when it is best to cut your losses and buy a replacement iron.

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Have a great day!


Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more