Skip to Content

How Long Do Oil Filled Heaters Last?

How Long Do Oil Filled Heaters Last?

Oil-filled heaters not only offer you a lot of benefits, but they also tend to outlast most types of heaters. This is primarily based on their design and heating mode. As a result, they are most definitely a good option if you are looking for a cost-effective way to heat your home.

So how long do oil-filled heaters last? The average lifespan of an oil-filled heater is 10-15 years. And 16-20 years with partial usage and proper care.

The life span varies depending on the quality of materials used. You can also prolong the oil-filled heater lifespan if you use the heater at a lower temperature.

Do oil heaters wear out?

Yes. Like any other man-made gadget, oil-filled heaters wear out too. But they are proven to outlast most types of heaters owing to their maintenance-free design.

How long can I keep an oil heater on?

Unlike other heater types, oil-filled space heaters can be used overnight without any potential side effects. They do not generate dry heat, which is hazardous to your health. They also radiate heat evenly and cycle on and off, which makes them fuel-efficient while preventing overheating.

Are oil-filled space heaters better?

One specific type of heater cannot be considered suitable for all users. However, there is no denying that the merits of owning oil filled heater far outweigh other types of heaters. Below are the pros and cons of oil-filled space heaters.  

Pros of Oil Heaters

Extremely quiet

Oil space heaters do not use a heater which allows them to operate quietly. They also do not use a motor to function, which makes them extremely quiet.

Energy efficient

oil-filled heaters with a thermostat cycle on and off, which saves fuel consumption. Additionally, their larger surface area enables them to heat a larger air volume fast, which reduces fuel usage. This, in turn, makes them energy-efficient and cost-effective in the long run.

Environmental friendly

This pro is a trickle-down result of energy efficiency. The minimal fuel usage makes it environmentally friendly. They also have low emissions, which have minimal impact on the environment.

Even heat distribution

Oil-filled heaters produce radiant heat that rises upwards and gets distributed. They also cycle on and off, which prevents overheating. The heaters also have a larger surface area which helps to heat the space faster and constantly.

No side effect

Oil heaters do not use a fan to distribute heat which can blow around allergens causing allergies to flare. Additionally, the heater does not affect the humidity in the room, which can cause people with sensitive nostrils to nosebleed.

Cons of Oil Filled Heaters

Slow initial heat-up

Oil-filled heaters take up to thirty minutes to heat up. This means you have to stay chilly for a while longer as compared to a fan heater or a gas heater.

Extremely heavy

This type of heaters is also heavier than other heaters making them difficult to move. They usually feature metal casing as well as the oil radiator, which makes them more cumbersome. The oil also adds extra weight to the heater.

Hot surface

The heater’s metal shell makes them hot to the touch unless they have a plastic or heat-resistant outer surface. This makes them problematic, especially if you have pets or small kids. Additionally, they take too long to cool down once you turn them off.


Due to their design, size, and type of material used, oil-filled space heaters tend to cost more than other heaters. However, the cost efficiency will balance out this initial cost in the long run.

Dangers of oil-filled space heaters

Despite their myriad advantages, oil-filled space heaters still pose dangers. As such, you should use them with caution. Here are the key things to look out for when handling your oil filled heater;

Air pollution

Oil-filled heaters emit pollution into the air, especially kerosene-based heaters. They are usually vent-free and do not dispose of the harmful vapors produces by burning kerosene. The vapors produced are high in carbon monoxide, which is highly toxic.

Inhaled carbon monoxide can lead to fatigue, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, chest pain, and even death.  The gas is colorless and odorless and can deplete oxygen levels in a room pretty fast.

Fire hazard

Always keep your heaters away from rugs, curtains, carpets, and combustible material.  Also, avoid using the wrong oil type in the heater. This can potentially cause the oil heater to explode. To prevent a potential fire, place your heater on a hard surface that is heat and fire-resistant. Lastly, avoid overfilling your heater to avoid fire and explosions.

Skin burns

If your heater does not feature a cool-to-touch surface, it can cause skin burns when you touch it. Additionally, a heater with a metal outer shell is automatically hot to the touch. Always keep your kids and pet away from the heater. You can invest in a heater guard to keep kids to create a boundary.

Where to place an oil-filled space heater for best results

The ideal spot to place the heater is in a central area to ensure even distribution of heat. Also, close the door to prevent the heat from escaping. It would also help if you avoided opening and closing the door often, as this will lead to heat loss. Also, ensure you place the heater on an even flat surface to prevent it from toppling over and starting a fire.

How to use oil heaters

Always refer to your user manual before using your oil heater. This will enable you to learn how to use it efficiently. Also, make sure you set it up correctly before you start using it.

Check this too: Mr. Heater troubleshooting & How-to Guide

Why do oil heaters stop working? Troubleshooting guide

Despite being maintenance-free, oil heaters still need to be taken care of to reduce the chance of breaking down. And even then, they may still break down from time to time. Here are some common oil space heater problems and how to resolve them;

Strange noises

Noise typeCauseSolution
Knocking noiseAir in the linesRefer to your manual or hire an expert
Clattering noiseLoose access panelsTighten loose belt
Rumbling noiseThe pilot light needs resettingUse the reset button or hire a professional to reset it
Whistling soundDirty oil burnerClean the filter and this does not work replace it
Intermittent soundsBlocked airRefer to your manual or hire an expert
Screeching, squealing soundPoor belt tension/worn out beltTighten the belt or replace it if necessary
Grinding noiseProblem with the motor bearingsShut down immediately and fix or replace the bearings

The heater suddenly goes off.

Possible causesPossible solutions
The thermostat might not be set correctlyConfirm thermostat settingsRefer to your manual and reset
Low fuelUse a voltmeter to test electric continuityReplace blown fuse or faulty wires
Blocked air filterClean the air filter

The heater won’t turn on

Possible causesPossible solutions
The heater needs resettingReset the heater. Refer to manual
Poor ductworkFix or replace worn-out ducts
Faulty thermostat connectionFix thermostat connectionReplace the thermostat if it is damaged
The pilot flame needs cleaningClean the pilot flame
Gas valve problemReplace the gas valve or fix it as needed
Turned off switchTurn on switch

The heater won’t come on or start-up

Possible causesPossible solutions
The heater needs resettingReset the heater. Refer to manual
Poor ductworkFix or replace worn-out ducts
Faulty thermostat connectionFix thermostat connectionReplace the thermostat if it is damaged
The pilot flame needs cleaningClean the pilot flame
Gas valve problemReplace the gas valve or fix it as needed
Turned off switchTurn on switch