Electric Heater Turns on and off Repeatedly: Facts to Understand Your Heater

There are some different opinions about electric heater turns on and off repeatedly. For some people, that’s a normal thing to do. But for the others, it’s not normal and it’s a sign that there is something wrong with the heater.

To understand the condition, it’s better to look into the device’s internal parts and really understand what it’s all about.

Electric Heater Turns On and Off Repeatedly

As mentioned before, some people believe that a heater is supposed to be on and then off on its own. It shows that the unit is working great. When the heater is on, it will generate heat to warm up the room, right?

But at some point, it would generate enough heat to make it warm (and cozy) enough. When the device ‘senses’ that the room is already warm, it will turn itself off so it won’t be producing any more heat, so there won’t be any overheating issue.

electric heater turns on and off repeatedly

As the heater stops generating heat, the room temperature will slowly decrease. When the heater ‘senses’ the temperature drop, it will turn itself back on again, generating enough warmth and heat again. This cycle will continue to happen until you put a stop to it.

For some people, however, turning off and on again isn’t exactly normal. They believe that the case of electric heater switches off on its own shouldn’t happen. To avoid confusion, it’s always better to ask the clerk or seller about the type of the heater and how to operate it properly before you buy it.

Don’t buy a heater just like that before knowing the details of the operation. Even better: You should perform your search and learn about the system of the brand or device that you want.

Read also: Hot Water Heater Smells Like Gas

Why Won’t My Electric Heater Stay on?

There are some explanations why the electric heater won’t stay on.

  • Dirty flame sensor. This part may be small, but it’s important. Its function is to detect whether the pilot light works correctly and properly. If the sensor is dirty, the furnace will automatically turn off. You can fix the issue by performing the clean on yourself. Turn off the power. Remove the flame sensor and clean it. But if you aren’t really sure about what you are doing, it’s better to leave it to the pro.
  • Dirty furnace filters. This is another common symptom of why the heater turns off on its own. When the filters are dirty, the buildup of debris and dirt will cause the furnace to function harder. When the heat exchanger is overheated, the unit will turn off automatically to prevent the possibility of a hazard. What if you have changed the filters but the problem stays? Contact a professional service and ask for their help.
  • Malfunctioning thermostat. It’s quite common that you may need to adjust the thermostat. You need another person standing close to the furnace. When you raise the temperature, the furnace should be on. You and that other person should hear a clicking sound, a sign that both parts work normally. If not, you may have to replace the thermostat.
  • The blower motor doesn’t run anymore. This motor moves hot air from the furnace through the ventilation. But if the motor loses power or it becomes dirty, the furnace will turn off automatically to avoid issues.

Read also: Common Symptoms of a Bad Evap Canister


If you have any doubts about your heater, especially when it comes to the electric heater turns on and off repeatedly, be sure to ask for help from a professional service to avoid greater mistakes.

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HomeTips is an experienced author and expert technician. With years of practical experience in the field authored several informative articles on various aspects related to home improvement, including installation, maintenance, and repair.