Why Does my Electric Fireplace Keep Shutting Off?

Written by: Paul Cathro

Updated on: February 16, 2022

A common issue with older or broken electric fireplaces is for them to keep shutting off. But, what does this mean and how can you fix this? Find out below.

electric fireplace at xmas

If your electric heater keeps shutting off, it may be for one of the following reasons:

  • The flow of air into the fireplace has become restricted.
  • The heater has overheated.
  • The previously set temperature has now been reached.
  • There is a blockage of the heater outlet.
  • The heater’s element is dusty or dirty.
  • The incorrect bulb has been used.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of these reasons and hopefully help you find out the cause of your problem and what you can do about it.

My Electric Fireplace Keeps Shutting Off – Why?

All fireplace models are different, and there are several reasons why your electric fireplace may shut itself off, although some occur more frequently than others.

 Here, we’ll look in-depth at some of the common causes of electric fireplaces automatically turning off.

An electric fireplace works in exactly the same way as other conventional heaters – they are equipped with safety features so they don’t overheat and become a fire hazard.

Should a safety feature be triggered, the fireplace will turn off automatically.

The common safety features include:

Overheating – electric fireplaces automatically turn off if they start to overheat. This prevents the unit from causing any damage to your home or the fireplace.

Sometimes, you’ll need to reset the heater after it has overheated, so you’ll need to check the manual to get further instructions.

Electric artificial fireplace for home interior

Airflow restriction – airflow restriction is a primary cause of electric fireplaces overheating.

An electric fireplace needs enough airflow to operate, and if the fireplace inlet is partially or entirely blocked, it rapidly prevents the heating element from cooling and this causes it to become so hot that it cannot function safely.

You can resolve this problem by finding the fireplace’s inlet and checking for any blockages, such as carpet, paper or dust.

When you choose where to place your electric fireplace, choose a spot where the airflow will not be restricted.

The heater inlet must be kept away from furniture, walls and any other items like curtains which may result in an accidental blockage.

Some modern electric fireplaces have air filters and if yours has one, it may require replacing or cleaning.

Recommended: Learn how electric fireplace work.

electric fireplace with screen

Temperature settings – electric fireplaces typically have several temperature settings -  often, low, high, medium and off.

Should the temperature inside the room reach the temperature that has been chosen, the fireplace turns itself off.

If your fireplace features a thermostat, choose a higher setting that your home’s ambient temperature and this will stop the fireplace from turning off.

Heater blockages – in the same way as airflow can be restricted into the electric fireplace, if the hot air outflow is restricted, this may cause overheating and the fire will shut off.

Check whether there is a blockage in the area from which the fireplace releases heat.

Always locate your fireplace a minimum of 3 feet from any items that could block heat from escaping your fireplace.

Recommended: How much do electric heater fireplaces cost to use?

electric fireplace and wood logs

Dirty or dusty heater elementyou must periodically inspect your fireplace and, in particular, the area in which its heating element is located.

If dust or dirt is allowed to build up the heating element will overheat and the fireplace will switch off.

Check whether there is any excess dust on your fireplace by switching it off at the plug and unplugging it.

When the fireplace has cooled down, check for any dirt or dust and clean it as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Recommended: Troubleshoot a dodgy flame effect with our guide.

Electric fireplace and plants

Incorrect bulbs – if you are using bulbs in your fireplace with too high a wattage for the model, your fireplace may shut off.

Check the manual and make sure the bulbs you’re using are correct.

Tripped circuit breaker – an electric fireplace heater will draw a large amount of electrical current and this could cause the internal circuit breaker to trip should the unit begin to draw excess current.

You can avoid this problem occurring by never plugging your fireplace into extension leads and always plugging it directly into the wall socket.

Recommended: Don't miss our guide to the ultimate small electric fireplaces for compact spaces.

Electric artificial fireplace for home interior

Can I Prevent My Electric Fireplace From Switching Itself Off?

Follow this checklist and you should have a good chance of avoiding the problem of your electric fireplace switching itself off:

  • Ensure the inlet and outlet of your fireplace heater is clear before use.
  • Clean the fireplace regularly, removing dust from both the outlet and inlet of your heater as well as its heating element.
  • Always plug the fireplace into the wall socket instead of an extension lead.
  • Should the fireplace bulbs need to be changed make sure you’ve replaced them with bulbs of the right wattage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Struggling to diagnose a problem with your electric heater fireplace? It might just be listed here.

Why Is My Electric Fireplace Beeping?

The reason for this problem could be that the fireplace remote batteries need to be changed.

dimplex-revillusion-20 in fireplace

My Electric Fireplace Turns On By Itself – Why Is This Happening?

Your fireplace may have a function to allow it to switch on if the room temperature drops below a specific point (using an in-built thermostat). 

This allows you to keep your room constantly warm in the same way as a thermostat works for your central heating.

Electric fireplaces may also turn themselves on if they’re triggered when you use a different appliance inside your home with an infrared sensor like a games console controller or TV remote.

Why Does My Fireplace Blow Out Cold Air?

If your electric fireplace is blowing out cold air, this could indicate that its heating element has become damaged, overheated or burned out and, therefore, requires replacement.

Alternatively, it may have a loose wire, or its thermostat could be set to below the room’s temperature.

You should unplug your fireplace, leave it for thirty minutes and then try again. Should the problem persist, you probably need a replacement heating element to be installed.

About the Author Paul Cathro

Paul is an ex-HVAC engineer with 5 years 'in the trade'.

He acquired tinyhousehugeideas.com in 2022 and aims to make it the internet's most comprehensive HVAC resource for small homes in the next few years.

You can learn more about Paul's story here.

Browse his published work on the website here.

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