How to Repair an Electric Wall Heater

An electric wall heater provides supplemental heat for a room. Over time, electric heaters can malfunction and require repair. With some basic tools and a bit of know-how, you can troubleshoot and fix common electric heater issues on your own. This guide will walk you through the steps for how to repair an electric wall heater.

Safety Precautions

Before doing any work on an electric heater, be sure to take some important safety precautions:

  • Turn off the power supply to the heater at the breaker box to avoid getting shocked.
  • Allow the heating elements sufficient time to cool completely before handling to prevent burns.
  • Work carefully when dealing with electrical wiring and components.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on hand in case of accidental igniting of materials.
  • Wear protective gear like gloves and safety goggles.
  • Do not leave the heater unattended during the repair process.
  • If at any time you feel unsure about how to proceed, consult with a professional repair technician. Safety should always come first.

Troubleshooting Common Electric Wall Heater Problems

Before attempting repairs on your electric heater, it’s important to properly diagnose the issue. Here are some of the most common electric wall heater problems and their likely causes:

Heater not turning on:

  • Tripped breaker or blown fuse – Check breaker box and replace fuse if needed.
  • Loose wiring connection – Check that all wires are securely connected.
  • Faulty thermostat – Test or replace the thermostat.
  • Bad heating element – Test element for continuity and replace if defective.

Heater blowing cold air:

  • Tripped breaker or blown fuse – Check breaker box and replace fuse if needed.
  • Loose wiring connection – Verify all wire connections are tight.
  • Defective heating element – Test element for continuity and replace if faulty.
  • Thermostat issues – Replace faulty thermostat.

Heater cycles on and off frequently:

  • Dirty air filter – Clean or replace clogged air filter.
  • Improperly set thermostat – Adjust thermostat settings.
  • Failing thermostat – Test thermostat and replace if needed.
  • Overheating safety cutoff tripping – Allow heater to cool, press reset button.

Burning smell from heater:

  • Dust buildup on heating elements – Clean dust and debris from inside cabinet.
  • Failing motor or fan – Replace defective motor or fan.
  • Wiring issues causing overheating – Check for loose connections, crimped wires.
  • Failing heating element – Test element and replace if cracked or worn.
  • Thermal overload tripping – Allow heater to cool off, press reset button.

By noting the specific symptoms and comparing to common issues, you can zero in on the likely culprit and best repair approach. If problems persist after troubleshooting, you may need to call in a professional service technician.

How to Disassemble an Electric Wall Heater

To access the internal components of an electric heater, you will need to take it apart. Follow these general steps:

Turn off power and allow to cool

Turn off power to the heater at the breaker box. Allow ample time for it to completely cool before disassembly.

Remove cover

The outer metal cover is usually held in place with screws on the sides or top. Unscrew cover panel and set aside carefully.

Detach wiring

Unplug or detach any wiring harnesses or power cords leading into the heater cabinet. Make note of where they attach for reassembly.

Remove components

Take out the main components like heating elements, motors, fans, thermostat, etc. Note their position and wiring setup for correct replacement.

Inspect interior

Check inside surfaces for any signs of overheating, debris buildup, cracks, or burnt wires. Clean if needed.

Access thermostat

Removing the thermostat usually requires taking off an additional interior panel. Carefully detach any wiring going to thermostat.

Go slow when disassembling heaters to avoid damaging any components or wiring connections. Refer to the manufacturer’s directions for model-specific steps.

How to Test Electric Wall Heater Components

To pinpoint which component requires replacement, you’ll need to test the individual parts of the heater:


Use a multimeter on the thermostat terminals to check for continuity. No continuity means a faulty thermostat that requires replacement.

Heating element

Check resistance of the heating element with a multimeter. Compare to manufacturer specs. A lower reading indicates a bad element.

Internal wiring

Inspect wires for cracking, burning, or loose connections, and test wires for conductivity. Repair or replace defective wiring as needed.

Fan/blower motor

Test motor windings for resistance using a multimeter. If readings are abnormal, the motor needs replacement.

Fan blades

Inspect fan blades for any cracks or damage, and ensure they spin freely without wobbling. Replace fan if defective.

Integrity of heating elements

Examine heating elements closely for any cracks, fraying, or exposed wires. Replace any damaged heating elements.

Testing lets you know which specific parts need replacement or repair for optimum heater operation and safety.

How to Replace Electric Wall Heater Thermostat

A faulty thermostat is one of the most common parts needing replacement in an electric heater. Here are the steps for replacing the thermostat:

Turn off breaker and disconnect heater wiring

Shut off power to the heater at the breaker box. Then disconnect any wiring leading to the thermostat terminals.

Remove thermostat mounting screws

Take out any screws securing the faulty thermostat to its baseplate or inside of the heater cabinet.

Detach thermostat from mounting

Gently pry the thermostat away from where it is mounted and lift it out of the heater cabinet.

Install new thermostat

Align the new thermostat properly and reinstall using any necessary brackets and screws.

Reconnect wiring

Attach the wires to the corresponding terminals on the new thermostat, matching previous wiring setup. Consult a wiring diagram as needed.

Test operation

Restore power and test thermostat operation. Set to desired temperature and verify proper cycling on and off.

Be extremely careful when handling electrical wiring to avoid shocks or accidents. Having the right replacement thermostat model for your heater will ensure optimal performance.

How to Replace Defective Heating Elements

If testing confirms the electric heating elements are faulty, replacement is needed for the heater to produce heat properly again. Follow these guidelines for replacing bad heating elements:

Disconnect power and allow cooling

Shut off electricity to heater at breaker box. Allow ample time for cooling before handling heating elements.

Remove elements

Take out any retaining screws, brackets, or clamps to detach the faulty heating element. Be careful not to damage any porcelain insulators.

Install replacement

Position the new heating element in place and secure with appropriate brackets or screws.

Reattach wiring

Consult wiring diagram to properly reconnect wires to heating element terminals. Make sure connections are tight.

Insulate connections

Wrap any exposed wire connections with electrical tape to prevent accidental contact or shorts.

Test element

Restore power and test operation of heating element. Look for proper heating up of the element.

Match replacement heating elements to the specifications of the original. Getting an identical heating wattage and voltage rating is critical.

How to Replace Electric Wall Heater Fan/Blower Motor

If the fan or blower motor that circulates heated air has failed, here is how to replace it:

Turn off power and disconnect wires

Shut off electricity to heater at breaker box. Detach wiring from defective motor terminals.

Remove motor

Take out any mounting screws or brackets to detach motor from housing. Note position for new motor.

Install new motor

Secure the replacement motor in the same spot as old motor using mounting brackets.

Reattach wiring

Connect wiring to replacement motor terminals according to wiring diagram. Tighten connections.

Test operation

Restore power. Turn on heater and make sure new motor powers on and runs smoothly without excess noise or vibration.

Adjust fan blades

If necessary, loosen setscrews to readjust fan blade positioning on new motor shaft for proper air circulation.

Getting the correct replacement motor with matching dimensions and horsepower as the original is key for proper operation. This usually requires noting the specifications on the faulty motor.

How to Clean Electric Wall Heater Internally

Regular cleaning of the interior of an electric heater improves efficiency and prevents issues. Follow these tips:

Turn off power first – Always turn off electricity to heater at breaker before internal access.

Use compressed air – Blast air through vents and between heating elements to dislodge dust.

Remove debris – Wipe any debris or dirt buildup from components using cloth. Vacuum if needed.

Clean heating elements – Use brush or compressed air to remove oxide deposits from heating element coils.

Inspect wiring – Make sure wiring is intact with no fraying, damage, or burnt spots.

Check insulation – Replace any damaged insulating materials like mica sheets protecting components.

Reassemble properly – Carefully reinstall all components in right positions. Replace cover.

Restore power & test – Turn electricity back on at breaker. Verify proper heater operation before regular use.

Routine cleaning maintenance helps keep heaters running efficiently and safely for a long operational life.

Electric Wall Heater Repair Tips

To supplement the steps covered already, here are some additional helpful electric baseboard heater repair tips:

  • Take pictures during disassembly to assist in proper re-assembly.
  • Consult manufacturer diagrams or schematics when needed for wiring colors, terminal locations, etc.
  • Use caution when handling heating elements to prevent damaging the fragile components.
  • Make sure replacement parts match the specifications of the originals.
  • Label any disconnected wires to avoid confusion when reconnecting during reassembly.
  • Use wire nuts or electrical tape to insulate bare wire endings after disconnecting.
  • Wear protective gloves and eye wear when cleaning or handling heater interior.
  • Properly dispose of any broken components removed during repair.
  • Confirm proper functionality by testing repaired heater thoroughly prior to leaving unattended.
  • Call a professional for assistance if you have any doubts about tackling a particular repair.

Applying these tips will make your DIY electric heater repair process smoother and improve the final outcome.

Common Questions About Electric Wall Heater Repair

How can I get my old electric heater to stop making clicking noises?

  • Frequent clicking noises usually indicate a problem with the thermostat or contacts. Try replacing the thermostat. Also inspect where the thermostat wiring connects to heating elements for any loose, corroded, or damaged contacts, and repair as needed.

Why does my electric heater keep shutting off unexpectedly?

  • If an electric heater repeatedly shuts off on its own prior to reaching the set temperature, there are a few possible causes: defective thermostat that should be replaced, overloaded or tripped circuit breaker, failing heat limiter or high-limit thermostat, or a problem with internal heater wiring connections.

My wall heater runs constantly but does not heat properly – what should I check?

  • If a heater is running non-stop but producing little or no heat, it typically indicates the heating elements are malfunctioning. Testing the elements with a multimeter can confirm if they are burnt out or broken and need replacement. Faulty wiring issues can also prevent the elements from heating up fully.

What are some maintenance steps I can do to extend the life my electric heater?

  • To maximize electric heater longevity, clean interior surfaces periodically with compressed air, check and tighten wiring connections, inspect heating elements and replace if cracked or worn, make sure thermostat is properly calibrated, test all components, and address any unusual noises, smells or operation immediately.

Is it safe to repair an electric heater myself?

  • Non-professionals can safely repair electric wall heaters if proper precautions are taken, such as turning off power at the breaker box, allowing components to cool before handling, wearing protective gear, carefully reconnecting wires per diagram, and thoroughly testing repairs before regular use. More complex issues like electrical shorts should be handled by an experienced repair technician.


Electric wall heaters provide an affordable and efficient way to warm up an area of your home. Over time, issues can arise with thermostats, heating elements, wiring, and other components. Identifying the specific problematic part is key to getting an electric heater operating properly again. With adequate safety precautions and some mechanical aptitude, many heater repairs can be successfully tackled as a DIY project. Properly testing for faults, replacing defective parts, reassembling correctly, cleaning interior surfaces, and making any wiring repairs are the main steps involved. Remember to reference manufacturer instructions and diagrams throughout the repair process as needed. With the procedures and tips covered here, you can extend the lifetime of your reliable electric wall heater.