An infrared heater moves heat at a high temperature to a target with a lower temperature through electromagnetic radiation. Infrared heaters are commonly used to heat places like patios or individual rooms in a house, and some hazards are associated with them. However, because infrared heat spreads by convection and warms objects in the path of the radiation rather than the air itself, an infrared heater is more useful in outdoor applications than other types of heaters, such as resistive electric heaters,
You can troubleshoot an infrared heater when it will not turn on or does not function properly. You may not be able to fix every problem, but many are simple enough for most homeowners to understand and address.
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The Heater Won't Turn On
If the heater will not turn on, make sure the power source is working properly. If it is an electric infrared heater, check to make sure the unit is plugged in and that the cord is free of damage. Check that the electrical socket is working properly by plugging in a known working appliance and checking that the circuit breaker is working. If you have plugged the unit into a GFCI outlet, make sure the outlet hasn't tripped.
If you are using a gas-fired porch heater, check to make sure the propane is filled, properly connected and that the gas valve is turned to open. Make sure you hear the gas coming through the heater before your try to ignite it. If you do not hear any gas coming through to make sure the valve that releases the gas is working properly. Most gas valves will give you a series of clicks when they are working correctly.
How to Deal With Leaks
If you are using a porch heater, check all the hoses for leaks to ensure that the heater is getting the proper amount of gas. This will also prevent injury. To check for a leak, take a spray bottle and fill it with one part soap to three parts water. Spray this liquid along the connecting hoses. Turn on the gas. If any bubbles appear along the hoses, you have a leak in your system.
If you do not see any leaks and your heater is still performing improperly, take off the hoses and blow them out. Over time debris, such as dust, may get stuck inside the hoses, causing the flow of gas to be inhibited. You'll need a compressor and an air gun tool for this job; a can of compressed air won't develop enough pressure. Consider purchasing or renting a cordless compressor that will develop all the pressure you need without the fuss of using gas.
More Troubleshooting Pointers
Check the front of the heater for any clogs. Make sure to clean the front grill of the heater regularly with fine steel wool. Some infrared heaters have a combustion blower which operates much like any fan forced combustion burner either burning gas or oil.