Sometimes when you come home after running errands or after work, all you want to do is sit down in front of a warm, cozy fire. While your heating system works fine, there’s nothing quite like a fire to take away the cold bite of winter, even if it isn’t a real fire. Except, your electric fireplace doesn’t work as it should on one of those cold winter days. Whether it’s problems with the unit not providing heat to the living room, the flame effect doesn’t work, or it’s overheating, sometimes you don’t want the hassle of sending it away for repairs and decide to do a little troubleshooting yourself. While you may not have the same problems with a wood-burning fireplace or a gas fireplace with a flame generator or real flame, an electric one is often the best choice for you once you know how to take care of it. Placing it on a table sometimes makes it easier to assess your unit.
How to fix the flames in your fireplace
Check your warranty first
Before you do anything, it’s highly advisable to carefully read over the service agreement that came with your electric fireplace. If you read the document and find that your fireplace is still covered, you can contact the manufacturer for replacement parts or send it back if you decide not to use your electric fireplace as your next DIY project. Some warranties cover parts and labor, some cover replacement parts, and others are warranties for specific parts on the firebox.
A few things you need to look at in your warranty are how long it lasts when it expires and the conditions of the electric fireplace that will void coverage. It also tells you what parts and repair problems are covered and what the manufacturer will do if your fireplace fails. Parts like light bulbs, such as those that provide the ambient glow for the fireplace, aren’t covered as they can be easily replaced.
Cheaper electric fireplaces use an electric motor and rotating lights to create the illusion of flames, but high-end, luxury electric fireplaces such as MagikFlame do not. This means there is a lower probability of malfunctioning or breaking with our products. We use LED and LCD technology for years of trouble-free operation. We offer a one-year limited warranty, which means that you can return your unit for repair or replacement if it fails within the year as long as it’s returned in the original box with the receipt. If there are problems with your unit after the year is up, it’s simpler to repair it yourself if you have repair experience.
When working with something electrical, there are safety steps to take before you start repairs. The first step should be to unplug the fireplace from the outlet to remove the risk of electrocution from a live wire. Another obvious safety step is to avoid water while working with electricity, even if your fireplace isn’t plugged in. Don’t touch or even attempt to repair circuits or anything else if your hands are wet or your clothing is wet, as this will increase conductivity for the electrical current.
Since pets and children are unpredictable at best, it’s best not to leave them unattended. Even the best-behaved child or pet becomes curious and will inspect something, which may cause an accident and potential injury. You should also keep other objects at a safe distance, such as furniture, toys, blankets, and other flammable materials.
Don’t place anything on top of your electric fireplace as you attempt repairs, and leave at least three to four feet of clear space around the electric fireplace, except for the tools you will need to use.
Sometimes the problem isn’t that there’s something broken, especially if you mainly use the remote. If you use the remote control app on your phone, make sure you’ve synced the app to your fireplace and that it’s responding to the commands on your phone. If you’re not using the app on your phone but the actual remote, check out the remote before turning your attention to the fireplace insert itself.
The first step you should take is to take off the back cover and check the remote’s batteries. If you have a battery checker, test the batteries to determine their power level. If the batteries are dead or nearly dead, you can recharge them if you have a battery recharger. Simply replace the batteries with a fresh, working pair if you don’t.
Once you have replaced the batteries, put the back of the remote back on and try the remote again to see if there’s a response after you plug the fireplace back into the outlet. If there’s no response from the fireplace when you use the remote control, try using the app on your phone to determine if it’s the remote or the fireplace itself. If you receive a response from the app, it may be a problem with the remote. If there’s still no response even when you use the app, it’s more than likely an issue with the fireplace.
On/Off switch and plug it in
Another step is to check your fireplace’s physical on/off switch. While it’s another one of the easiest possible solutions, it often saves time and energy to first work through the easiest solutions. You don’t want to take apart the entire fireplace, look through all the wiring, and put everything back together only to find that the problem you had was that you didn’t turn it on or didn’t plug it in.
After you check the on/off switch and have no response after turning it on and using the remote again, the next troubleshooting step would be to make sure that you’ve plugged the fireplace into the socket. You may have plugged it in, but there’s a possibility that it came loose afterward. If you check and the plug is entirely in the outlet, the fireplace is in the on position, and nothing is happening either with the remote or your app, turn off the fireplace and unplug it.
The next thing to check is to see if the outlet itself is at fault. One way to determine if an outlet has power is to plug other items into the outlet, such as a lamp, to see if those items function. The best way to test a power outlet is to use a multimeter and set it to measure voltage.
When using a multimeter, insert a probe into each slot and check the voltage measurement. An outlet that’s working properly will read somewhere between 110 and 120 volts. An electric unit will require at least a 15-amp breaker or fuse. If it’s not the outlet, plug the fireplace into another outlet to see if it works there. If it does, then you may need to try to fix the original outlet.
If your fireplace works on another outlet but not the intended outlet, then that’s a sign that you need to replace that particular outlet. Other signs that you need to replace an outlet include loose plugs. While plugs that fall out of the socket are annoying, they are actually dangerous as they can cause sparking and electrical arcing.
A few more signs you need to replace an outlet include if the outlet feels hot to the touch, if you see a spark, if you smell smoke, if there are cracks and chips on the outlet cover, or if there are burn marks on the faceplate, outlet, or wall.
Circuit breaker or fuse box
If you determine that there’s no power going to the outlet and there aren’t any other signs that you need to replace the outlet, the next step in the problem-solving process before replacing the outlet is to go over to the circuit breaker or fuse box. Just because there’s no power to the outlet, it doesn’t always mean there’s a faulty power outlet.
The breakers or the fuses in the box should have accurate and up-to-date labels that tell you exactly which breaker or fuse powers what and where. If the labels are not up-to-date, then that is a project for another day that involves patience and possibly other people helping to determine which fuses or circuits lead were.
Once you find the fuse or breaker that leads to the outlet in question, label it if it isn’t already marked. If the problem is a blown fuse, all you have to do is replace the fuse with one that can handle the fireplace’s power.
If the circuit breaker trips, power won’t supply the unit. If this is the case, it’s simply flipping that particular breaker back into the on position. Once you have flipped the breaker or replaced a blown fuse, plug the fireplace back in and see if it works.
Inside the electric fireplace
If you have gone through the other steps to determine if it’s elements outside the electric fireplace that aren’t working properly, such as the breaker, the outlet, etc., and found those to work properly, then it’s possible to conclude that the issue is, in fact, with the electric fireplace. Your electric fireplace is more than a space heater that produces a realistic fireplace flame, log set, and ambiance for your living room — expect it to work as a fireplace should. If you decide to fix your fireplace yourself, it’s time to break out the owner’s manual and a screwdriver.
How to open an electric fireplace
To open your freestanding electric fireplace insert, you’ll need a screwdriver and some rubber gloves to protect yourself. Remove the back panel by removing the screws on the back of the unit. Work from the bottom screws to the top screws so that the top screws are the last ones to come off.
This makes it easier to work with the back panel. Ensure you don’t lose the screws by keeping them in a small container until you’re ready to put the back panel back on.
LED bulbs last for a long time, about 50,000 hours. At eight hours per day, they last 15 years, but it’s unlikely that you’d have the fireplace on for that long. At four hours per day every day, the LED bulbs should last for 34 years. If the LED bulbs have burnt out long before their time, replacing them should be easy.
The first step to replacing the LED lights is to turn off your electric fireplace insert and unplug it from the wall. Then wait about 20 minutes for the unit to cool down, so the bulbs aren’t hot when you remove them. Refer to your owner’s manual to learn how to access the lights for your model.
Once you locate the burned-out light bulbs, rotate them counterclockwise to remove them, but don’t touch the bulbs with your bare hands just in case. This is where the rubber gloves come into play. Once you have removed the dead bulbs, install the new bulbs by turning them in a clockwise motion.
Once you replace the burnt-out bulbs with new bulbs, replace the access panel and the screws. When finished, place the fireplace back where it belongs, plug it in, and turn on the flames. The realistic flames and the ember bed should provide the light and ambiance they were meant to.
Loose wiring causes several problems with your portable electric fireplace. Loose wiring causes the flame not to move, prevents the fireplace from turning on, the log set to not glow, or the heater doesn’t provide heat. First, turn off the power to the device to fix the problem.
Once you turn off the power to the device, open up the back panel and use and go over all the wiring. You may have to use a magnifying glass for this. Check for frayed wiring or discoloration around the connections. Check the cord as it meets the unit’s back; it should be secured solidly to the back. Follow the leads to the circuit board and check for proper attachments and any breaks or pinches in the line.
If you’ve turned on the unit, but no warmth comes from the unit itself, it could either be a blower issue or an issue with the thermostat. If the problem isn’t with the thermostat, it could be a motor issue. Check the circuit panel to find the motor location. Once you find the blower compartment, lift the cover to access the wheel and the heating element.
Check the condition of both the wheel and motor to see if there’s anything obviously broken. If the fan only works at certain speeds, or there’s no air, you’ll have to replace the motor. If there’s a clicking noise, there’s also a potential that the unit has gone into overheat protection mode.
If you experienced a sudden squeaking noise from your freestanding electric fireplace and if you hear the motor working harder when you try to move the flames, it’s possibly a seized rod. This is an easy fix. Turn off and unplug the fireplace from the power supply and remove the back panel. If your flame effects are squeaking or seizing, all you have to do is provide lubrication to the flame motor, such as spraying it with WD40.
If you’re looking for a wall-mounted fireplace heater with realistic flame and crackling log sounds, our units are the best electric fireplace for you compared to Dimplex and Duraflame. When you’re looking for a fireplace heater that doesn’t require you to keep stacks of firewood around, and you don’t want to worry about taking care of a gas fireplace, then check out the MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide for your next firebox or explore payment plans and financing options with MagikFlame.