Jeff Pearl Homes AR Blog: Neglected Home Maintenance Can Lead to Fire Hazards

Neglected Home Maintenance Can Lead to Fire Hazards

This is one of those home maintenance items that is easily overlooked. Electric wall heaters. We have one in our upstairs master bedroom, and one in upstairs hall bathroom. Last year one quit working, we didn't really think too much about it, or why it quit working. We just turned off the breakers in panel box, and figurd we'd replace it one day. They look like this below. The other day I decided to test the other one. It didn't sound right, so I shut if off, and turned breaker off for that one also. These top pics show what they look like with cover, and by just removing the outer cover. Not too bad, right? Wait....


 heater      heater 2

Take a look at the dust built up in the holes around fan motor and on bottom of housing. Not too bad there either? Make sure power is off to units before doing this.

heater 3  heater 4

Now look at the dust built up on the inside of fan and on the fan blades themselves. The weight of dust can make motor strain, and the dust stuck to the motor can cause it to run hot. It's also a recipe for a house fire. Dust on the electrical connections can also cause problems.

heater 5heater 6

The connections below are on bottom of heater and have collected a lot of dust as well.

heater 7

 So I figured out why one heater quit working, and why the other was straining. If I had thought about this as a maintenance item 5 years ago, both heaters might still be functioning properly. But I'm glad I took them apart now and we never had to deal with a fire because of the build up of dust. I'm going to call Trump Electric over in Purcellville and just have them install two new heaters. I don't like taking chances with fire or electricity. Plus, I want them installed by a licensed electrician. This reminds me to go check our duct and furnace filters next. Don't neglect home maintenance.


Jeff Pearl | Lic in VA

Remax Distinctive


Homes | Land | Farms | Historic

Equal Housing

Comment balloon 10 commentsJeff Pearl • December 22 2015 03:34PM


I’m glad you thought to check it out. So many houses have had fires due to similar circumstances.

Posted by David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation, Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential (Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC ) about 5 years ago

Jeff Pearl I have electrical heaters in my La Jollla condo and they also emit a wierd smell first of the year. I need to have someone come out first of the year because my living room one wouldn't turn on this year.  Coming from Minnesota I didn't know what wall heaters were!  

Posted by LuxurySoCalRealty Compass San Diego, San Diego Partner - The Private Client Network (Compass) about 5 years ago

Jeff Pearl 

Sounds like this was a good lesson and one for others to pay attention to, whether it's an electric heater or some other potentially hazardous, fire, or safety issue. We don't see too many electric heaters hear but every now and then.

Happy Holidays


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) about 5 years ago

Jeff, now I know why my husband takes the vacuum nozzle to our heaters every year before he turns them on for the first frost. Excellent post, I will share with my friends.

Posted by Barbara Le Pine, Your agent for the Central Oregon Coast! (Advantage Real Estate, serving Lincoln County) about 5 years ago

Jeff, it is great that you remind all about what can happen if proper maintenance isn't done. Dave

Posted by David Jones, ( about 5 years ago

Hi Jeff, That is so dangerous and probably something most home ownerw would never think of cleaning.

Posted by Sybil Campbell, Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida about 5 years ago

#1- Hi David, Me too, I hate hearing about house fires every winter due to malfunctioning or careless use of heaters. Thanks,

#2- Hi Joy, they very well could be burning off an accumlation of dust when first turned on.

#3- Hi Jeff, Yes, it's always good to perform and monitor all types of heaters. Thanks.

#4- Hi Barbara, Your husband is smart to do that. Fire safety is everyone's business.

#5- Hi Dave, Thanks. I'll keep a closer eye on them from now on.

#6- Hi Sybil, Yes, it's dangerous. Dust and lint could make good fire starters. Which reminds me, I better go check out dryer filter and vent also. Thanks.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) about 5 years ago

You are a smart man Jeff, and I hope your wife knows it. I would be replacing them too.

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) about 5 years ago

#8- Thanks Evelyn!

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) about 5 years ago

A bit scarey, Jeff Pearl glad you spotted the problem & acted quickly.  Recently an entire house in Erie County was destroyed by fire just before Christmas due to faulty heater.  So sad.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) about 5 years ago