Should You Repair or Replace Your Portable Heater?

Whether you use a portable or space heater to avoid high electricity bills, or just enjoy that burst of extra warmth while you relax on the couch or huddle under the covers, heating a small space can provide big advantages. However, when your heater breaks down, you may face a tough decision: should you try to repair it yourself or purchase a new one?

Depending upon the size and structure of your heater, you may be able to perform some simple repairs yourself. Read on to learn more about some common problems (and fixes) for space heaters.

Troubleshoot your problem

Many heater problems can stem from a fairly innocuous cause. Before taking your heater apart, ask yourself a few questions. 

  • Is it blowing cold air instead of warm? 
  • Does it keep shutting off at random times? 
  • Are there any strange smells—dust or burning plastic?
  • Does the power cord appear to be frayed or damaged?

Your answer to these questions can determine how you should proceed.

Evaluate your fix

If your heater works intermittently but shuts itself off, or is creating a strange smell while running, it's likely that it just needs to be cleaned. You should be able to use a small screwdriver to remove the outer panels, allowing you access to the inside of the heater (make sure you unplug it first!)

Use a pipe cleaner or toothbrush to remove any lint or debris that could be clogging the air vents and causing your heater to overheat and shut down. 

If your heater is blowing only cold air, you may have an issue with your heating element. This element is the part of your heater used to convert the electrical supply to warmth, which is then blown out of the heater by a fan. In some cases, the conductive surface of the element has been chipped, cracked, or worn away, causing the heater to be unable to convert power to heat. Fixing your heater's element yourself is a tough job; however, you may be able to purchase and install a replacement element for less than the cost of a new heater.

If your heater simply won't turn on, you could have a power supply problem. You may notice that the power cord appears frayed, or isn't fully connected to the unit itself. In this situation, you can choose to splice the cord with a small bit of copper wire; but as this can be a fire hazard, you may wish to purchase a new heater instead. 

For more insight, contact local heater repair experts. They can better assist you in deciding which option to go for.