Kettle Won’t Heat up or Turn On? 5 Ways to Repair a Kettle


For those of us that depend on a cup of coffee to start our day, a kettle that won’t heat up or turn on just won’t do.

I know how annoying it can be to have your kettle not heat up out of the blue, especially when you have a busy morning ahead.

But don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place for answers. Below is a list of 5 ways to get your kettle back to working condition.

When your kettle won’t heat up or turn on, check the connection to the mains, inspect the power cord, and avoid dry boiling. You can also try descaling the kettle and cleaning the contacts if all else fails.

Keep reading to get your kettle hot!

5 Ways to Repair Your Kettle

There’s nothing like the awakening feeling that comes with the first sip of your morning coffee. But if your kettle is playing up, your get-up-and-go ritual might be disrupted.

Anything that stops you from having your pre-work jitter juice or from sipping a relaxing cup of tea in the afternoon is an annoying inconvenience.

So, here are some things to try to get everything back to normal.

#1 Check the Connection to the Mains

A bad connection to the mains could explain why your electric kettle is not working. In my experience, checking the connection to the mains is a very simple way to determine whether the problem lies with the kettle itself or your wall outlet.

To check the mains, do the following.

  1. Plug an electrical appliance such as a hairdryer into the wall outlet you normally use for the kettle.
  2. Turn the hairdryer on. If the hairdryer works, unplug it. You can be assured that the mains power is working properly.
  3. Fill the kettle with water.
  4. Plug the kettle into the mains. Check that the power cord is inserted correctly.
  5. Turn the kettle on. If the kettle doesn’t begin to boil the water, there is a problem with the kettle. Move on to the next step in this article.
a wall outlet with a power cord
Ensure that the power cord is correctly inserted in the mains

#2 Inspect the Power Cord

The next reason why your kettle won’t turn on is a damaged power cord. Although kettle power cords are built to be sturdy, and last long, some things like sharp bending and short circuits can damage them. If you suspect your kettle’s power cord is damaged, my usual advice is to look at it closer.

When inspecting your kettle’s power cord, look out for the following signs of wear and tear, such as:

  • Bends in the wire.
  • Broken plastic casing and live wire showing.

If you spot any signs of damage to your kettle’s power cord, discontinue its use immediately. You will need to repair it or replace it. (See the list of available parts and spares in this article for replacements.)

Tip: Knowing how much your kettle costs to run can be a great advantage in saving money. If you’d like to learn more, please refer to our free calculator.

Kettle with cord
Inspect that the power cord is not damaged

#3 Do Not Dry-Boil the Kettle

Some kettles are made with a safety feature called dry-boil protection. The dry-boil protection feature will turn your kettle off when you attempt to turn it on with insufficient or no water inside. The feature stops you from damaging the heating elements in the kettle by turning it on without filling it.

To reset the dry-boil protection, follow the steps below:

  1. Make sure the kettle is cool.
  2. Lift the kettle from the base.
  3. Fill the kettle with cold water.
  4. Return the kettle to the base and turn it on.

#4 Descale the Kettle

If your electric kettle won’t turn on, you might have a problem with limescale. I often find that descaling your kettle helps to prolong its lifespan, especially if you live in an area with hard water.

The frequency with which your should descale your kettle varies depending on certain conditions in your area. Here are some guidelines for average kettle use:

  • Descale your kettle once every 3 months if you live in a soft water area.
  • Descale your kettle once a month if you live in a hard water area.
  • If you use your kettle more than 5 times a day, you may need to descale it more frequently.

To descale your kettle, you should fill it with vinegar and water solution, then allow it to boil. But, how can you descale your kettle if you can’t get it to turn on? Here are the steps you need.

  1. Fill the kettle with half water, half white vinegar solution.
  2. Leave the solution to soak overnight.
  3. Empty the solution in the morning and rinse the kettle a couple of times to remove the smell of the vinegar. You might need to repeat these steps if your kettle was particularly scaled up. Complete steps 1-3 until you can remove all the limescale.

NOTE: If you don’t want to use a vinegar mix, you can also use the following to descale your kettle.

  • Citric acid
  • Commercial kettle descaler (available from most homeware stores)

#5 Clean the Contacts

As a last measure, checking and cleaning the contacts could help solve an electric kettle that is not working. Over time, grease or gunk can build up in the contacts, so keeping them clean can go a long way in fixing your kettle.

The only tool you will need for the cleaning job is fine-grit sandpaper. Once you’ve got hold of some, please follow the steps below:

  1. Unplug the kettle.
  2. Rub around the contacts with the fine-grit sandpaper.
  3. Clean any grit from the contacts.
  4. Plug the kettle back in and turn it on.

Spares and Parts for Your Kettle

What should you do if you need to replace a specific part for your kettle to work properly? You could be in need of any of the following parts.

  • Filter.
  • Heating element.
  • Base cord.
  • Lid assembly.

Some kettle manufacturers do not provide many spare parts for their appliances because they do not want consumers to open up the kettle’s base and touch the heating elements or other electrical parts of the appliance.

Sadly, the lack of parts available could make it tricky for you to do the repair job your kettle needs.

So, how can you know which parts and spares are available for your kettle? Coming up is a list of parts and spares that you can buy directly from your kettle manufacturer. You can purchase them via their websites.

Filter Heating Element Base Cord Lid Assembly
Russell Hobbs✓*XXX

NOTE: ✓*Spare parts are only available for certain kettle models

What can you do if you cannot get the spare part you need from your kettle’s manufacturer? Then, you might be able to find spare parts from other stores online.

But, with the wide range of kettles on the market, you might struggle to find something that fits your kettle, which is why it’s sometimes easier for you to replace your kettle altogether instead of trying to repair it.


There’s nothing better than a hot cup of coffee in the morning. Is a faulty kettle stopping you from having yours? Absolutely not.

If your kettle won’t heat up or turn on, I’m sure the 5 tips listed in this article will help you get it back into working order. The list of parts and spares will assist you in getting a hold of anything you need to replace.

Has this article been useful to you? Then make sure you check out some of our other resources and free guides. You could even sign up for our email list.

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