What Causes an Electric Fireplace to Stop Working?

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Image Credit: SharafMaksumov/iStock/GettyImages

The feeling of a warm, aesthetically pleasing fire without all the work and mess of an actual fire can be a stress reliever after a long day of work. An electric fireplace can fill that need. Much like other types of fireplaces, they can have their issues. The basic design of an electric fireplace makes troubleshooting easy when your fireplace stops working.



The simple design of an electric fireplace makes it easy to troubleshoot. Check that the power source is good and the thermostat is turned up.

How an Electric Fireplace Works

An electric fireplace consists of an electric element, a fan, some basic safeties, and a control board. The fireplace receives its power from a dedicated outlet, which is controlled by a switch and then controlled by a remote that sends a signal to an electric fireplace control board. Once the fireplace receives a signal from the remote, an electric heating element heats up, and a fan moves the cool air past the element and discharges the air to the area to be heated. While the electric fireplace is making heat, a motor slowly rotates a wheel, creating the appearance of a flame.


Video of the Day

Heater Stops Working

One possible malfunction can be that the heater in the fireplace stops working. This may just require a simple reset of the electric fireplace. Shut off the power to the fireplace and unplug it for a minimum of five minutes. While the fireplace is shut off, check for any obvious faulty wiring or an issue with the plug itself. Loose wiring can sometimes cause the logs to glow dimly. This involves simply repairing the wiring. If all looks good, plug the fireplace back in and start it up.


An electric fireplace requires a dedicated electrical circuit. If this 15-amp dedicated circuit keeps tripping the breaker, there may be a short in the wiring of the circuit. Try plugging into another dedicated circuit to test it. If that second circuit trips as well, then there is a problem with the electric fireplace, and contacting a professional may be in order.

Flame Is On But There's No Heat

Another possibility may be that the flame is on, but no heat is coming out. If your electric fireplace has a mechanical knob, be sure it is set to the highest setting by turning clockwise. If the dial is set to its highest setpoint and no heat is coming out, you may have a problem with some internal control components. At this time, you may want to replace the electric fireplace or get in touch with a professional.


Noise and Smell From the Fireplace

A few fireplace problems are caused by dirty or even defective heaters. One problem involves a smell. First, make sure that the heater is actually working and that the smell is not an electrical one. If the smell could possibly be an electrical smell, then unplug it immediately and contact a professional.


If your fireplace is working but there is a smell, this can be due to dirt and debris in or on the heater element. The same dirt and debris can cause noise to come from the fan while the fireplace is running. Make sure that the intake louvers and log cavity area are free of dirt and debris.

Other Electric Fireplace Problems

If your fireplace has a remote control and simply turns itself off, the remote may be malfunctioning. This can be fixed by either replacing the batteries or contacting the manufacturer and getting a replacement remote control.


Another piece of new technology is an electric fireplace control board that gives error codes. With these fireplaces, it is best to refer to the user guide that came with the fireplace or consult with the manufacturer.




Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...