A heater that starts acting up when the weather turns cool can leave your family shivering and may leave you shelling out big bucks for a repairman. Save money and get your Reddy heater running properly with some basic troubleshooting techniques, which can help you resolve many of the most common problems associated with these units.

Step 1

Inspect the power cord if the motor won't start. Make sure the unit is plugged in, and that the voltage at the outlet matches the required voltage listed on the heater instruction plate found on your unit. Repair or replace a damaged cord immediately.

Step 2

Turn off the unit and unplug it. Lubricate the bearing on the fan end of the motor. Inspect the fan for mechanical damage. If you spot visible damage to the motor shell, fan or motor mount, discontinue use and replace the damaged part.

Step 3

Check for fuel problems if the motor runs, but the heater won't ignite, or if you spot smoke or smell an odor coming from the unit. Start by inspecting the fuel tank for water, which forms globules if present. Clean the tank completely and refuel with the recommended fuel oil, kerosene or diesel if you spot water.

Step 4

Remove the fuel filter and clean it with fresh fuel if the heater won't start and produces smoke or odors. Blow-dry and replace the filter and see if the issue has been resolved.

Step 5

Blow compressed air into the outlet end of the fuel nozzle if you suspect a clog, which could occur when the heater fails to ignite or you notice smoke or an odor. Replace the fuel nozzle completely if it appears damaged or defective.

Step 6

Check the air filters to ensure they are tightly connected to the fuel line. Replace them if they appear dirty or damaged.

Step 7

Unplug the unit and inspect the spark plug if the heater tries and fails to ignite. Make sure there is only a gap the width of a dime between the electrodes. Replace the spark plug if it is worn or damaged. Make sure the wires at each end are firmly attached to the transformer.

Step 8

Turn off the unit if you see flames coming from the front of the heater. Unplug the unit, and then inspect the air passage of the fan. Clean out any trash or debris, and make sure the fan is tightly secured to the shaft. Discontinue use and replace the fan if the shaft appears bent or damaged.

Step 9

Clean the glass surface of the photo cell to see if dirt is preventing the safety control circuit breaker from working. Replace the circuit breaker or photo cell if they appear damaged or defective.