Electric fireplaces are excellent alternatives to traditional wood-burning and gas fireplaces. Unlike a real fireplace, electric fireplaces don’t require you to split firewood, build fires and empty the ashes. But, like most electric appliances, electric fireplaces can develop problems over time too.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the most common electric fireplace problems, including how you can identify them and what you can do to mitigate the issue.
Electric Fireplace Won’t Turn On
If your electric fireplace doesn’t turn on at all, there are many possible culprits. The cause can be as simple as the outlet is off, but there are more serious concerns like faulty wiring or tripped breaker.
Electric fireplaces have an on/off switch located in a discreet location, usually near the edge of the fireplace itself. If your fireplace doesn’t turn on at all, a few potential issues could be causing the lack of engagement.
For example, it could be that the circuit board isn’t working, or it could be as simple as the system isn’t switched on.
Outlet Or Remote Control Is Off
Many homes have a light switch that controls the outlet the fireplace is plugged into. If that’s the case, ensure the light switch is on, and the fireplace is plugged in. Some electric fireplaces have a remote control, and if yours does, verify that the remote control is switched on.
If the system is plugged in and the switch is on, the issue may lie with the fuse or circuit breaker box. You need to be careful with resetting the breaker box regularly, as it may trip due to an overloaded circuit or other circuit issues that are a safety hazard.
If the fuse or circuit box is tripped, go ahead and reset it, providing this isn’t something you have to do frequently. If it is, call an electrician to examine your electric fireplace and breaker to ensure everything is working safely.
A faulty outlet may also be the culprit of an electric fireplace not turning on. Try plugging your electric fireplace into another outlet. If it works, there’s a good chance the original outlet or circuit breaker it connects to is broken or malfunctioning.
You should enlist the help of a professional electrician to examine the outlet if you think this could be the issue.
If you have a recessed electric fireplace that is hardwired to your electricity (not connected to a wall outlet), you may have to remove it from the wall to inspect the electric connections on the back of it. If you decide to check this yourself, make sure the circuit breaker is off first. Or hire an electrician and save yourself a shock.
Electric Fireplace Not Heating
Perhaps your electric fireplace lights up fine, but it is not heating. In that case, you’ll be chilly, but at least you’ll have light to try to find the problem.
Electric fireplaces provide heat via a conventional space heater. A lack of heat production is a common issue and can include the heater not turning on, or it might turn on and blow cool air. Your electric fireplace’s flame may flicker, and the fan will blow, but without the heater working, you’ll be searching for those extra blankets.
Change The Thermostat Setting
Check the thermostat settings before tinkering with the wiring or checking the heating element. The system may not produce enough heat if the setting is too low. So, ensure the heat setting is set where you want it.
If changing the thermostat higher didn’t fix your issue, move on to checking the wiring.
Check The Wiring
Loose connections may cause the heating issue as well. Check the wire running to your thermostat, ensuring it’s properly attached. In some cases, the wire will break free from the connector.
If you’re an avid DIYer or have electrical experience, you can resolder the wire to the connector. This solution is easy and shouldn’t take more than five minutes. However, if you don’t have experience resoldering, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
Note: Never perform electrical work on devices plugged in or connected to a live breaker.
Check The Heating Element
Your electric fireplace’s heating element may be burned out. Unfortunately, this issue is generally not something you can repair at home. In most cases, a replacement electric fireplace is necessary.
Refer to your owner’s manual to see if a manufacturer’s warranty covers the component. If the warranty covers it and is still within the warranty period, reach out to the company for assistance.
Electric Fireplace Won’t Light Up
Perhaps your heater is working, but the faux flames on your electric fireplace are not. In that case, you’re left we a glorified space heater without the ambiance that the lights add.
The flames flickering in your electric fireplace may look real, but they are, in fact, fake. Different manufacturers use various technologies to create the appearance of fire and burning logs, including projectors, refractors, or rotating rods. The flame in your electric fireplace isn’t working, but the system still produces heat, and the fan blows the heat.
Turn On The Flames
Most electric fireplaces separate heat and flame settings. Make sure you turn on the flames and not just the heat. The flame button may be on the remote control or the control panel on the fireplace itself.
The issue could also lie with the remote control. If it doesn’t turn the flames on, try engaging the flame effect with the control buttons on the fireplace.
Some electric fireplaces have brightness settings that control the flames. If your electric fireplace has this feature, double-check to ensure you didn’t turn the brightness too low. Use the remote control or control panel to brighten the flames.
During the day, the flame effect can be challenging to see when it’s set to a low brightness.
Check The Lights
Electric fireplaces use lights to create faux flame. Typically, they use LEDs or incandescent bulbs. LEDs last longer than incandescent bulbs, but both can become damaged and go dead.
Check if the lights are working. If it doesn’t turn on, you may need to install a new bulb.
Electric Fireplace Won’t Turn Off
While electric fireplaces are a joy to look at, there comes a time you want to turn them off. Unfortunately, sometimes an electric fireplace can get “stuck” on. Here’s what usually causes it.
Electric fireplaces have several switches to control different aspects, including the heat and flickering flames. You might be trying to turn your electric fireplace off, but it doesn’t respond and continues to generate heat, light, or both.
If you’re worried about the safety of your electric fireplace, don’t be! They all have built-in safety mechanisms to ensure they don’t overheat and cause fires.
Check The Thermostat Settings
Some electric fireplace models come with a thermostat that monitors the room temperature and comes on to keep the room at a particular temperature. If the thermostat settings are set too high, the electric fireplace may come on regularly or constantly run to maintain the temperature.
Check the thermostat dial and ensure it’s not set too high. Set the thermostat to its lowest setting if you don’t want the electric fireplace to turn on by itself.
Turn Off All Power Switches
If your electric fireplace doesn’t turn off, shut off all its power switches. Many models have a high and low heat setting, so make sure you turn off both switches. Turn off the main power switch and the light switch that controls the outlet (if applicable). Then, unplug the fireplace from the wall.
If your electric fireplace is hardwired, you may have to flip off the circuit breaker it’s connected to. Then, contact the electric fireplace manufacturer for a resolution.
Electric Fireplace Won’t Blow Heat
Some electric fireplaces include a fan that circulates heat from your fireplace to the rest of the room. If this component fails, your fireplace can still produce heat, but it can take a significant time to make the room warm and toasty.
Another common issue with electric fireplaces is a lack of warm air coming out. Usually, you can see the flames and feel the heat, but it doesn’t produce any air. Worst, the fan may blow air, but it isn’t warm air.
Check The Thermostat Settings
Check the fireplace’s thermostat settings. In some cases, the thermostat was bumped and was set too low. If the thermostat is too low, the fireplace may not blow warm air, and in some cases, it won’t even turn on. Verify the thermostat settings are at the desired temperature.
Check The Control Switches
Additionally, many electric fireplaces have two heat settings. The power switch controlling the outlet must be on for the fireplace to work. If you want the low heat setting on, you need the main power switch and the low heat setting switch on.
However, if you want the high heat setting to work, you need both the low and high heat settings on, as well as the main power switch. If you want the high heat setting on, ensure you have both buttons in the on position.
Loose wiring may also be the culprit of this issue. If loose wiring is the problem, the electric fireplace fails to connect, leading to a lack of heat. If you suspect this is the case, you may want an electrician to look at the wiring, especially if you don’t have electrical experience.
Electric Fireplace Making A Clicking Noise
During regular operation, your electric fireplace should make little to no noise. Some models make crackling and snapping noises that mimic real fire. Some make a low hum when the fan is running. No electric fireplace should make clicking noises unless something is wrong.
Your electric fireplace may produce a loud clicking noise when you turn it on or when it’s running. Various things can cause the irritating sound, including the heating element, room temperature fluctuation, motorized components, flame rod, or a defective fan. While the expansion of the heating element during the heating process is typical, other causes of the clicking sound aren’t.
Check The Motorized Components
Worn-out, loose, or poorly lubricated components can create issues within your electric fireplace. As your fireplace ages, the motorized components of the fan can become worn out, causing a clicking sound when it turns on. If the noise persists, you may need to replace faulty parts, as electric fireplaces should run with little to no noise.
If the fireplace has loose components, the clicking could be caused by loose parts tapping other internal factors. It’s essential to verify all components are securely in place regularly.
Additionally, if the rods for the heating and flaming components of the unit aren’t properly lubricated, you’ll notice a clicking noise. The noise may also happen due to parts clogged with dust or dirt. Regularly cleaning and lubricating necessary components is imperative to avoid the annoying clicking sound.
Check your electric fireplace’s manual for proper cleaning and maintenance instructions.
Damaged Flame Rod
Some electric fireplaces have a flame rod that joins with the flame motor. The rod’s primary purpose is to coordinate the visual and audio effects of the fireplace. If the rod is damaged, it can bump against other components while the fireplace runs, resulting in the sound.
You’ll need to replace the defective flame rod to fix the issue. To replace, contact the manufacturer for replacement components.
Defective Blower Fan
The blower fan can pull in dust or other small debris as it runs, affecting the smooth operation of internal components. Dust and dirt clogs may result in the sound. To repair the problem, check the blower to ensure it’s working correctly and there aren’t any stuck fragments.
Electric Fireplace Beeping
A beeping electric fireplace generally indicates that something needs to be corrected with the electric fireplace. The beep length, repetition, and tone could mean different things depending on the brand and model.
Your electric fireplace may make a beeping sound when using the main controls. For example, you might be using a remote to turn the fireplace on or off, and the fireplace makes a beeping noise.
When your electric fireplace makes this noise, it could indicate that something isn’t functioning as it should. Alternatively, it may be an alert of an issue that requires addressing.
Replace The Batteries
If your fireplace has a remote, check the batteries. The beeping sound may be an indicator of dying batteries. If your electric fireplace doesn’t have a remote, move on to the following solutions.
Ensure The Heater Isn’t Blocked
If the inlet to the heater is blocked, your fireplace can’t circulate air from the heating element. This means the fireplace cannot push out warm air, which can quickly cause it to overheat.
Your electric fireplace may be beeping due to the blocked inlet. Check the heater inlet and ensure nothing is blocking the airflow.
Always keep the electric fireplace’s heater clear. Blocking it isn’t only bad for the fireplace; it’s a fire hazard too.
Make Sure The Components Are Clean
Check the internal components (if you’re comfortable doing so) of dirt and grime. The heater element is inside the fireplace itself. To access the part, you’ll need to open the backplate.
Access to the internal components varies based on which electric fireplace you have. So, check your manual for the proper procedure. Remember to unplug the fireplace from the wall outlet before removing the plate.
If you have a freestanding electric fireplace, remove the screws from the back of the unit. Avoid the screws holding the electric fireplace together. Only remove those holding the backing plate in place.
Once you open the fireplace, check the internal elements for dirt and grime. If the blower motor is dirty, use a vacuum to remove excess dirt or grime.
Electric Fireplace Trips Circuit Breaker
Electric fireplaces can trip breakers by short-circuiting, ground faulting, or drawing too much current.
It should be obvious– electric fireplaces use electricity to run. In some cases, the fireplace may cause the circuit breaker it is running on to trip. If this happens regularly, the circuit may be overloaded.
Unplug Other Appliances
If you have several appliances drawing from the same circuit as the fireplace, try unplugging them to see if that corrects the problem. You may be overloading the circuit, causing the breaker to trip. If you can, avoid plugging in other large appliances into outlets pulling from the same circuit as the fireplace.
Call An Electrician
The circuit breaker’s job is to protect an electrical circuit from damage due to an overload/overcurrent or short circuit. Continually resetting the circuit breaker or forcing it to remain on can be a safety hazard.
Suppose you constantly have to reset the breaker, and nothing but the fireplace pulls from the particular breaker. In that case, there may be an issue with the fireplace’s wiring, your breaker might be faulty, or you are just drawing too much current on a single breaker.
An electrician can diagnose the issue and either replace the faulty breaker, upgrade the breaker capacity, or fix the wiring on the fireplace.
Remote Not Working On Electric Fireplace
These days, almost all electric fireplaces come with a remote. While all electric fireplaces have local controls, it is inconvenient when the remote stops working.
The remote control is a convenient little tool. Instead of getting up to tinker with the control panel, you can easily manage the settings from your comfortable place on the sofa. However, sometimes remote controls stop working, resulting in several issues.
Check The Batteries
If you’ve owned a TV, your go-to for “fixing” a remote is likely replacing its batteries. You can apply that same problem-solving to your fireplace’s remote.
If you’re not sure when you replaced them last, try pop in a few new batteries to see if that corrects the issue. Usually, batteries will last about 6 to 12 months for an electric fireplace remote, but that time may be shorter depending on circumstances.
Double Check The Power Supply
After you make sure the batteries in the remote are good, ensure the fireplace has power. Check the breaker box to see if it’s tripped. Make sure the wall switch is on as well, if applicable.
Make Sure You’re In Range
Generally, fireplace remotes will work up to 25 feet away from the signal receiver. However, if objects interfere with signal transmissions, such as walls, a well-placed dog, furniture, or electronic devices, the remote might not work. Stay within range of the fireplace with a clear shot to the signal receiver; otherwise, the remote may not work.
Electric Fireplace is Very Noisy
Most electric fireplaces are relatively quiet and unbothersome. You may hear the fan running and perhaps crackling and popping noises of a real fire, but the noise shouldn’t be alarming.
If your electric fireplace suddenly starts making loud, unusual sounds, there’s likely something wrong with the unit that requires attention.
Check The Connections
Loose connections in the fireplace can cause rattling noises. Check all the connections within the fireplace and tighten loose screws. Vibrations from the fan motor can eventually loosen connectors over time, causing them to rattle during operation.
Clean The Blower Fan
Dust buildup on the blower fan may cause the unit to generate excessive noise. Use a soft cloth or vacuum with a soft brush attachment to clean the fan. Depending on the particular model, you may need to remove a cover or panel to access the fan.
Watch The Flames For Correlation
If the noise coincides with the flame movements, the issue may be the flame rod. A damaged flame rod can bump against internal parts, creating unusual noises. In this case, you’ll need to replace the flame rod.
Listen For The Flame Motor
The flame motor may require replacement. You can quickly determine if the flame motor is the problem by turning off the heater but leaving the fireplace flames running.
If you hear a grinding noise, the flame motor requires replacement. If you hear a buzzing noise, you might need to replace the flame speed control (if applicable).
If the flame motor doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, turn on the heater. If you hear excessive noise, you’ll need to replace the blower motor on the heater.
Frozen Flame On Electric Fireplace
Electric fireplaces produce beautiful dancing flames that mimic a real fire. But, sometimes, this magical display stops working and becomes stagnant.
Electric fireplaces use lights or a motor to generate the flame. Sometimes, the flame will freeze in its place on the fireplace screen.
Replace Burnt Out Bulbs
If your electric fireplace generates faux flames using light bulbs (usually incandescent or LEDs), they may have burnt out. Turn off the power to the fireplace, then unplug it. Once it’s off, replace the bulbs with the correct replacements (check with the manufacturer for the bulb information).
Check The Wiring
Loose wiring can cause the flame to freeze. Frozen flames resulting from wiring malfunctions usually only happen with a flame motor.
Turn off the power, unplug the fireplace, then check its wiring to ensure all connections have solid contact. While you examine the wiring, keep an eye out for exposed wires. If you find any, you can fix the issue yourself, but otherwise, call an electrician.
Replace The Flame Motor
If your fireplace generates the illusion of flames via a flame motor and the wiring looks fine, you may only need to replace the motor. The replacement process varies depending on the manufacturer.
How Do You Reset An Electric Fireplace?
Depending on the type of electric fireplace you have, the reset process will vary. You can usually reset your fireplace by switching all switches to the “off” position and unplugging the unit from the wall. Leave the unit unplugged for five minutes, then power everything back on.
If you’re not sure what the specific reset process for your model is, refer to the owner’s manual.
After reading this guide, you might be thinking– “Wow–electric fireplaces sure do have a lot of problems!” But keep in mind, this guide is for help with problems that could happen to your electric fireplace. In general, electric fireplaces are high-quality devices that provide many years of service with minimal maintenance. If you’re looking for a new one, check out our recommendations for the most realistic electric fireplaces here.