Why Does My Space Heater Keep Turning Off? (4 Explanations)

Michael J. O'Connor
By Michael J. O'Connor  • Reviewed by Ben  • Updated:   December 12, 2023
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A space heater can be a convenient way to keep your home warm in the winter. It can also help you heat smaller areas your central heating doesn’t reach. 

However, if your space heater won’t stay on consistently, this is a sign that something is wrong with it. 

Some of them can be a safety concern, so it is crucial to address the problem as soon as it comes up. 

Knowing some causes of a space heater constantly turning off will help you diagnose the issue and keep yourself warm and safe. 

Why Does My Space Heater Keep Turning Off? 

Space heaters are a great thing to have around the house in winter. However, they can be hazardous if not in good working order. 

If your space heater keeps turning off, it means that it has either a malfunction or there is something you are doing that is causing it. 

With a good understanding of why this can happen, you can double-check your space heater and keep it running smoothly and safely. 

It is Close to a Reflecting Surface

One of the most common answers to “Why does my space heater keep turning off?” is that it is too close to a reflective surface. Mirrors and windows are common reflective surfaces in homes and can cause a space heater to think the room is warmer. 

Your space heater may have a built-in thermostat that measures the heat in the room. 

If it is close to a reflective surface, its heat may return to it and trigger the thermostat to turn off. The heater could be mistaking this little pocket of heat for the temperature in the entire room. 

Try moving the space heater to the middle of the room, far away from flat surfaces. You can proceed to the next troubleshooting step if it still turns off.

It is Drawing too Much Power

Some space heaters draw fairly large amounts of power from the circuits in your home. 

Depending on how powerful your space heater is, it could trigger the circuit breaker in your home. If you notice that the heater turning off coincides with a tripped breaker, the problem could be that the heater is too powerful. 

Space heater power is measured in wattage, most clocking in at about 1,500 watts. For some homes, this can be too much for the electrical panel to handle, with all the other electrical appliances plugged into the home’s circuits. 

Try getting a less powerful space heater. Most of the time, heaters somewhere between 750 watts and 1,000 watts will be more than sufficient to heat a room. 

Some space heaters also have an emergency shut-off that will automatically trigger when they are overheated. 

If your heater is plugged into an extension cord, this may cause the shut-off to trigger. Always plug space heaters directly into the wall to ensure they are as safe and effective as possible. 

The Element is Dusty

If your space heater has a metal or ceramic heating element, it may have gotten dusty. 

When the heating element in your space heater gets dusty, it can heat up too quickly or get too hot. This may trigger the automatic shut-off mechanism. 

When the heater is cool, unplug it and use a damp cloth to wipe off the heating element and get it as clean as possible. 

While doing that, clean out the reflective surface around the element. This will keep excess dust from settling on the element in the future. 

The Thermostat is too Low 

In some cases, the answer to “Why does my space heater keep turning off?” can be as simple as the thermostat being set too low. 

Some oil-filled space heaters have thermostats on the side that control the heat they put out. If this thermostat is set too low, the heater will turn off when the temperature reaches the setting. 

It is possible that the thermostat was bumped or changed inadvertently. 

Look at the temperature that the heater is set to. If it is lower than 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the chances are good that you won’t feel much warmth coming out of the heater. 

Try turning the thermostat up and see if that solves the issue. If not, it could be a mechanical or electronic issue with the heater itself, and it would be best to replace it. 

Final Thoughts

If your space heater keeps turning off, there could be several reasons. Depending on the type of heater you have, the solution can be a simple fix. 

By knowing why this happens and how you can fix it, you can keep your home warm and yourself safe. 

Hey there! I am Benas, the founder and content editor at Home Caprice. Thanks for reading the article. I hope you were able to find what you were looking for. I and my team are here to simplify heating and cooling for everyone. Please have a look at the About page for more details about our website and feel free to check out our editorial process.