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Common Solutions for Inefficient Wall Heaters

The nights have suddenly turned cold, with lows in the 30s in the forecast, so it’s time to turn on those heaters. But what if you find your heater isn’t up to the challenge of keeping you warm this season?

Is there anything that can be done to remedy an inefficient wall heater? It depends on your particular issue. A furnace that isn’t running well will certainly require a different solution than one that’s just not sufficient for the space it’s supposed to heat. Let’s dig into some common fixes for when your wall heater isn’t working too well.

Is the pilot light out?

Gas and electric wall heaters are usually very effective at keeping any small- to medium-sized room warm. It usually only requires one or two to keep you toasty all winter. But it’s immediately noticeable when something isn’t right. Suddenly, you’re feeling the chill and need to find a solution with haste.

If you have a gas heater, the issue may be the pilot light. Just like a pilot light on a stove, a spark needs to ignite the system to get it going. This occurs when the system is turned on or when the temperature in your house drops below a certain degree.

If the pilot light is the cause of your heating issues, check the gas supply to the heater first. If that’s not the problem, then you may have a clog in your pilot tube. You can try clearing any dirt or debris with compressed air. To do this, turn off the gas first. After clearing the tube, wait about 10 minutes and then try to relight the pilot light. This might just do the trick.

Is there an electrical issue?entek-common-solutions-for-inefficient-wall-heaters

If your heater isn’t working at all, then you’ll want to start with the most obvious issues. Just like the circuit breaker that supplies electricity to your home, you’ll want to check for a tripped breaker or blown-out fuse.

Is there still an issue? Then you’ll want to inspect the inefficient wall heater for loose wiring and check the control knobs. Make sure the electricity to the heater is completely off while you are looking into the problem, as you don’t want to cause another or create a dangerous situation for yourself.

After this thorough inspection, if you still can’t find anything out of line, then you likely have a bigger issue on your hands that calls for an inspection by a certified HVAC professional.

Is the issue outside the furnace itself?

Maybe your heater is working, but it’s just turning off too quickly. You’ll want to check if anything is blocking the airflow. If furniture, plants, curtains, or even your kid’s sporting equipment is blocking the flow of air, then the system may be automatically turning off as a proactive safety measure.

Do you think you have an inefficient wall heater but you actually have an insulation issue? If your heater is turning on but never turning off, then the heat may be leaking out through windows, walls, or doors. If you think this may be the issue, one solution offered by HVAC professionals is to conduct a home performance test.

A home performance test is all about ensuring you live in a home that isn’t wasting your money. After a thorough analysis of your home, you’ll have tangible energy-saving improvements and air-quality issues that you can address, which could include improved insulation where your heating system doesn’t seem to be operating up to snuff.

Is it time to call a professional?

What if you know the heater is running but the air coming out isn’t warm? This could signal a loose wire or faulty heating component. You can do some light inspection when the system is fully off, but this isn’t likely a DIY project, and you’ll want to reach out to your local HVAC professional.

You’ll also want to call in a professional for installation. You want to make sure the job is done safely and correctly. Don’t risk the safety of you and your family members, or the comfort of your home. Reach out to an HVAC contractor you trust.

What are some additional pros and cons of wall heaters?

Wall heaters do pose some issues. Just like any other heating system, there are pros and cons to selecting this system. Consider the following:


  • Unlike space heaters, electric wall heaters are hard-wired into your electrical system. This makes them a more permanent option, but the sole function will be to heat the small to medium room where it’s placed. However, you can add more than one to an area, so one option is to select a product that offers a detached thermostat. This way, one device can seamlessly control all heaters no matter where you’re lounging. So stay snuggled up on the couch and you’ll be warmer with just a few clicks on a remote.
  • While an electric wall heater is hard-wired in, it’s truly a simple installation process compared to other HVAC solutions. It’s entirely self-contained and doesn’t require any ductwork. This is ideal if you only have a few small rooms to heat, as you won’t have to bother with seasonal duct cleaning or sealing. Just turn it on and you’re set.
  • Because the system is so easy to set up and because it’s contained, the initial output of funds is minimal, especially compared to forced-air heating systems.


Wall heaters also have cons:

  • Forced-air duct heating systems—and other HVAC options—are very energy efficient. Wall heaters are not. This should be considered if you see a sudden spike in your electric bill come winter. If that’s the case, you may want to regulate its use or consider an upgrade.
  • They’re also noisy, as an internal fan is pushing the heat out into the room. If you’re looking for something quiet, this isn’t the heater you want.
  • As an additional note, make sure you consult with the electrician who does the installation of your electric wall heater. In the best-case scenario, it’ll be on its own circuit, but this is often not practical. If that’s true, then at least ensure you won’t have an issue with your circuit tripping each time you run the heater.

Are you ready for an upgrade?

If your space is larger or you find that you’re ready for an upgrade, reach out to a local HVAC contractor, such as Entek in the Vancouver, WA, area. Remember, a wall heater is best used for small- to medium-sized spaces. So it’s important to consult with an HVAC professional before installation as to whether a wall heater will actually work for your home.

If you’re looking for a more efficient way to warm your space, replacing your inefficient wall heater with a highly efficient ductless heat pump could be the solution you’re looking for. It’ll improve the comfort of your home and save you money in the long run.

Whether you have a wall heater that just isn’t keeping you warm anymore or you’re looking to install one, if you have any lingering questions, please give Entek a call. We’re eager to answer your questions and help you keep your home cozy throughout the winter.

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