One common question asked by electric fireplace owners we've spoken to is “how to fix the flame on an electric fireplace?”. We troubleshoot this problem in today's guide.
Although electric fireplaces are usually very reliable, unfortunately from time to time problems can occur.
Issues with the lights not working or the flames not functioning correctly aren't unusual.
In today's guide, we explain what might be causing these problems and what you need to do about it next.
How Does the Flame Effect Work on an Electric Fireplace?
The electric flame component is a key part of your electric fireplace. It is what makes the fireplace feel and look like a genuine fire inside your home.
If the electric fireplace flame effect is not working, the fire may not heat at all and will not have the same realistic effect.
An electric fireplace is, after all, an electrical appliance and, therefore, over time it may develop faults or problems. One common problem is the electric fireplace flame not working.
The good news is that a lot of the problems that could cause the flame effect to malfunction can be repaired without any professional help.
Here, we take a look at how the flame effect works so you can have a better understanding of how to fix it.
In an electric fire, the flame effect is usually created by utilizing a source of light along with a rotating rod which contains several mirrors that are strategically placed to reflect the light.
An electric fireplace flame motor is fixed onto the rod’s end. When the rod rotates, the light will be reflected onto the fireplace’s front screen off the cleverly placed mirrors on the rod.
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These mirrors have been positioned so that when the light gets reflected onto the fireplace’s screen, it looks just like flickering flames from a genuine wood-burning fire.
Although this is a relatively simple set up, it is easy to see why it may stop working for one reason or another as the fireplace gets older.
Often, there is a fault with the motor which prevents the rod from turning and, thus, the flame effect cannot be achieved.
However, this isn’t the only reason why the flames may no longer be appearing on your electric fireplace.
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4 Reasons Your Electric Flame May Have Stopped Working
There are several reasons why your electric fireplace’s electric flames may have stopped working however one of the most common is simply that the bulb requires replacement.
This is something you can easily do yourself, but unfortunately, the bulbs aren’t always the source of the problem.
Here are some of the other causes of an electric fire’s flame no longer functioning.
- The rod is seized up
- A blown fuse
- The switch which controls the flame effect no longer works
- The motor which drives the rod no longer works
- A different electrical problem
1. The Bulb
The bulb of your electric fireplace is a key component which causes the flame effect. If there is no light source, it isn’t possible to display the flames.
If the bulb no longer works you will still be able to hear the motor as it operates in the fireplace however nothing will be displayed.
Not all electric fireplaces use standard bulbs though since newer models use LEDs that last for longer – often up to over 10,000 hours of operation.
If your fireplace is using LEDs instead of halogen bulbs, a different issue could be causing the flames not to work since LEDs usually never need to be changed.
2. The Motor
To generate flames, your electric fireplace will have a motor which turns the rod containing the mirrors that reflect the light.
There is a motor at one of the rod’s ends and if the light continues to switch on whenever the flame switch is activated but no movement occurs, the motor could be at fault.
3. The Rod
One end of the rod has the motor attached to it, but the other end is connected to a bearing which enables free rotation.
If the motor is trying to operate whenever you switch the flames on but no movement occurs, the rod may have seized up.
A squeaking sound from your fireplace is a good indicator of a seized rod.
4. The Switch
Should nothing happen if you switch the flame effect on, an issue could have arisen wither with the electrics or the switch itself.
There are also some issues which cannot easily be identified. Some parts may not be able to be replaced or fixed and, therefore, a new model may be necessary.
How to Fix the Flame on an Electric Fireplace
If your electric fireplace’s flame is no longer functioning, the first step is to isolate the power or unplug the fireplace from its wall socket before taking off the fireplace’s access cover which is usually found at the back of the unit.
Should the bulb have blown, you should replace it straight away. If the problem is the motor, you should replace that instead.
Lubrication of the rod can help if the flame effect is squeaking when in operation, but any problem with the switch may necessitate a replacement fire to be purchased.
Since the flame effect produced by an electric fireplace uses mechanical and electrical components, they can get worn out over time through use. Faults may also develop.
To determine the cause of the fault and to rectify it, if possible, you will first need to learn how to take your electric fireplace apart.
To reach the interior components, you have to take off the fireplace’s access cover which may be at the rear of the fireplace but may also be in a different location depending on the model you have.
The access cover may be small or may cover the entire rear of your unit.
A lot of older electric fireplaces feature small access covers through which you can easily change the halogen bulb.
If you need to get to the flame components, though, you’ll probably have to remove even more of the fireplace’s external parts.
Before you even try to open up the fireplace, try diagnosing the problem while your fire is in operation. Listen out for any squeaking sounds or motor problems as this could give you a clue as to the issue.
Never open up the fireplace before you switch it off at the wall and unplug the unit from the socket to preserve your safety.
If the flame effect components are all working inside the fireplace however nothing displays on the screen, the bulb has probably blown and will need replacing.
Your fireplace will probably only have a single bulb, but some models have two so you should check your owner’s manual to confirm.
If your fireplace uses LEDs instead of bulbs and the LEDs fail they usually cannot be replaced.
Therefore, you’ll have to either replace your entire fireplace or call the manufacturer should you model still be under warranty. It’s quite rare for LED lights to fail though.
If your flame light comes on whenever you switch the fireplace on but not flame effect movements occur, the motor may be at fault.
If you’re able to purchase replacement motor parts for your fireplace model, you need to open up the fireplace then replace the motor.
Sometimes, the fault lies with the rod and the bearing that allows it to rotate which can seize up through extended use. If the flame effect components struggle to move and squeak, this could be the problem you need to deal with.
Lubricants like WD40 can be applied to the rod to allow it to become looser but don’t spill any of the liquid in the fireplace since it can affect the other electric components inside the unit.
Some electric fireplaces suffer from other issues that affect the flame which cannot be easily fixed or even diagnosed.
Like all electrical appliances, not everything can be repaired with having to replace the entire unit.
If you have a good knowledge of electrics, you may be able to repair issues such as broken switches or a lack of power to your unit, but a new fireplace may need to be purchased, especially if your model is older and no serviceable parts can be bought.
Luckily, the most commonly seen problems with flames on electric fireplaces can be handled independently without the need to call in a professional electrician or purchase a costly new fireplace.
In most cases, the problem will be something as simple as needing to replace the bulb, the motor or to lubricate the bearing.
Now that you’ve read this article, you’ll have a good idea about what may be causing your electric fireplace’s flame problem, and you’ll be able to try out some things to fix the issue yourself before having to take further action.