14 Infrared Heater Troubleshooting Tips Worth Knowing

Infrared heaters heat the room by emitting electromagnetic radiation which do not heat the air but heats surrounding objects and human bodies. This article will provide you with infrared heater troubleshooting tips to solve the most common problems.

You can use infrared heaters as a source of heat in individual rooms, on the patio, and even outdoors. It’s because infrared heaters spread heat through convection, where it heats any objects in their path. 

Like any other appliance, infrared heaters do have their share of problems. For example, you may find that it doesn’t switch on, releases cold air, or may not turn and function properly. 

You may not be able to fix all the problems, especially significant replacements. However, these fourteen infrared heater troubleshooting tips can help quickly resolve most simple issues. 

Infrared Heater Troubleshooting

1. The Heater Is Not Turning On

Most importantly, check the power source if the heater doesn’t seem to turn on. Check to see if the socket is working correctly by plugging an electrical appliance you know that’s working.  

If that’s not the problem, and you have an electric infrared heater, next check to ensure:

  • The unit is plugged in.
  • The cord is not damaged.
  • The thermostat is not set too low.
  • The circuit breaker is in working condition.

2. The Infrared Heater Produces A Burning Smell

A burning smell is typical while using new infrared heaters for the first time. There’s nothing to worry about if it’s a new infrared heater. 

But, a dirty heating element can lead to a burning smell as well. It’s because dirt elements lead to the premature burning out of the filament, which can be dangerous. 

That’s why it is essential to keep the heater clean with the periodical vacuuming of dirt and dust. Remember to do any cleaning only when the unit is switched off.

3. The Infrared Heater is Overheated

It’s when the thermostat shuts off that the heater produces unbearable heat surrounding the environment. The best way to prevent this is to set the thermostat to its maximum heat. 

In a while, the surrounding area will reach a comfortable temperature. Once this happens, and you are comfortable, slowly reduce the heat till the heater switches off. 

In the case of single-touch electronic thermostats, you will have to adjust them to your specific temperature. The benefit of these thermostats is that it gives a much more accurate measurement than the analog version. 

Always buy an infrared heater with a thermostat because it controls and prevents overheating.

Do not make the mistake of powering the heater through an extension cord. It poses a potential fire hazard. 

4. The Infrared Heater Has A Warm Cord 

The cord turning warm may not always indicate a heater problem. It may also occur because:

  • The plug and socket isn’t a tight fit but a lose fit. This only causes resistance and eventual heat buildup. 
  • An old or worn-out outlet. Replacing the outlet resolves the problem.

5. The Infrared Heater Has A Tripped Circuit Breaker

The circuit breaker may trip due to:

  • An overload when the outlet is plugged in with too many appliances. Reducing the appliances or setting the circuit breaker solves the problem. 
  • A blown fuse. Replacing the fuse usually solves the problem. 

However, it’s better to check on other appliances if the circuit breaker keeps tripping even after changing the fuse. 

Related article: What’s the Difference Between Infrared and Ceramic Space Heaters

6. The Heater Turns On But Doesn’t Work

If the heater doesn’t work even after all these checks, there are some other infrared heater troubleshooting tips worth trying:

  • Check to ensure the heater’s front grill is clean and devoid of dust. Always keep the grills clean because accumulated dust only triggers problems over time,

If dirty, just clean with a ball of fine steel wool. Maintain a habit of regularly cleaning the grill to ensure a free flow of air. 

  • Take a look at the fans and clean them as well if dirty. Do give the fan some time to turn on after turning on the heater. The fans don’t turn on immediately; sometimes, it just needs time to warm up and start. 
  • If you notice that the fan still doesn’t function properly, try to clean the air filters. You can refer to the instruction manual for assistance. Clean the rear vent as well, preferably with a vacuum cleaner.
  • Check the rear vent and vacuum it clean if it is dirty. 

7. The Infrared Heater Keeps Turning On And Off

This may be because the unit is not receiving sufficient air or because the thermostat or control switch isn’t working properly. Removing nearby obstructions like furniture, drapes, and plants ensures air circulation and usually resolves the problem. 

If not, try replacing the faulty switch or cable. 

8. The Heater Doesn’t Turn Off

The heater may not turn off if:

  • It is too big for the room.
  • There is no proper insulation, leading to extra heat loss. This taxes the unit’s heating abilities.

The problem can be resolved by:

  • Insulating all the exterior walls.
  • Weather-stripping doors and windows to prevent excessive air filtration from entering the room.
  • You can also try using an extra heater if it’s a big room.

9. There Is Poor Heat Circulation

Check the fan if the heat doesn’t circulate appropriately as it may be because the fan is slow. If it is slow, clean the fan, but only after turning the unit off. In case the fan is faulty, just repair it or use external fans for heat circulation.

10. The Infrared Heater Produces Cold Air

There are a few common reasons for an infrared heater blowing fresh air like:

  • Some units have a ‘fan only’ setting, use it. It’s because heaters on a ‘heat setting’ instead of a ‘fan only setting’ may overheat and switch off the radiator power. Follow instructions in the instructions manual or on the heater to reset it. 
  • Heaters with digital thermostats work for half a minute without power once it reaches the desired temperature. It’s an automatic function that blows out the extra heat so that you get consistent and accurate readings. 

11. The Fan Doesn’t Work

If the fan doesn’t work, it may be because of:

  • A bad switch.
  • A broken fan motor.
  • Poor fan and motor wire connections.
  • Obstructed blades.

If the blades are obstructed, try removing the cover to check for any obstructions or loose wiring. If it’s okay, use a volt-ohm meter to check if the motor emits electricity. 

You will have to replace the engine if it does.  

12. Electric Fan Is Working But There Is No Heat

This problem may be due to a faulty heating coil or poor wire connections. You can find out by checking the service panel but do it after turning off power to the electric heater. 

If the heater is mounted on the wall, dismount it.  

Remove the heater control knob, and remove the thermostat knob if the heater has one. Check the wiring and tighten all loose and disconnected wires. 

13. A Red Glowing Light Visible Only When It’s Dark

Some units tend to glow red because of some elements. If yours doesn’t have any element but still glows, it may be due to the power light emissions. 

14. The Infrared Heater Makes Sounds

It’s normal for some heater models like Quartz, Radiant, and Parabolic to emit crackling sounds immediately upon turning on. It is the sound of expanding heating elements. 

Read next: 5 Best Infrared Patio Heaters

How Do You Reset An Infrared Heater?

There is always the possibility of some heater parts getting excessively hot with use. In this case, infrared heaters have an inbuilt safety overheat protection system that automatically switches off the unit.

If this happens, the first thing you should do is to immediately switch off the heater’s main switch.

Next, you have to check to see if there are any objects near or on the heater. This is really important because those may block the heater, and make it hot.  

The most important thing to remember is TO NOT START THE HEATER.

Because first, you need to reset the heater. It is easily done following these simple steps:

  • The first thing to do is unplug the heater from the electrical outlet.
  • Next wait for about five to ten minutes for the unit to cool down.
  • Once cooled down, plug the cord back into the wall socket.
  • You can now switch the heater on.
  • The heater should start operating as usual.

If it does not, you can try to perform a Master Reset.

To do this, you need to switch off once again and disconnect the unit from the wall socket. Then, you have to press and hold down its main power switch while plugging the unit back in.

You need to continue holding the button down for about five seconds after plugging it back in.

Then release. Your heater should now function as expected.

Conclusion: Infrared Heater Troubleshooting Tips

These 14 infrared heater troubleshooting tips help resolve most heater problems. However, you will have to call the professionals if the heater still does not work properly. 

There may be some faulty parts that need replacement, which has to be done professionally. 

Related article: Radiant vs Infrared Heater: What’s The Difference?


  • I have several Rotkraft panels, and a couple of them sometimes make a loud noise which I can only describe as being like a champagne cork being pulled slowly.

    Any ideas? Thanks.

    • Bernie, when does it make those sounds? It’s normal if your panels make soft noises immediately upon turning on. It is the sound of expanding heating elements.

  • I HAVE A NEW WALL MOUNTED INFRARED HEATER WITH REMOTE MODEL HB-1500R. It want come on checked power turn power on heater red light keeps flashing but elements not heating up

    • Hi Ronnie, if the heater doesn’t work even after all the checks, there are some other infrared heater troubleshooting tips worth trying:
      – Check to ensure the heater’s front grill is clean because accumulated dust only triggers problems over time
      – Clean the grill with a ball of fine steel wool and try to keep it cleaned regularly to ensure a free flow of air. 
      – Take a look at the fans and clean them as well if dirty. Sometimes the fans don’t turn on immediately and they need time to warm up and start. 
      – Also, check out the air filters as well as the rear vent, preferably with a vacuum cleaner.
      If the issue remains, it’s best to contact the helpdesk of the party where you bought the heater, since it’s new there might be a warranty on this type of issue.

    • Hi Diana, have you tried resetting your heater? The first thing to do is unplug the heater from the electrical outlet. Next, wait for about five to ten minutes for the unit to cool down. In the meantime, check the grills for accumulated dirt and consider cleaning them. Also, check if the airflow is blocked by a piece of furniture. You then check if the socket is actually working by using a different appliance that certainly works. Then, plug the heater cord back into the socket. You can now switch the heater on.

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