Informational Guide

How Long Do Oil Filled Heaters Last?

The lifespan of oil filled heaters will vary depending on several factors. We explore how long these heaters will last and why.

by Josh M

It’s easy to forget about the oil heater in your home until winter comes calling. A working heater will keep your indoor temperature at a comfortable level during the cold winter months. It ensures your well-being while also preventing damage to important electrical and structural components.

While they’re well worth the investment, oil-filled heaters have an expensive upfront cost. As such, it’s normal to have questions about their lifespan.

In this guide, I’ll answer the popular question, “how long do oil-filled heaters last?” Using my experience working with HVAC systems, I’ll also show you how to increase the effective lifespan of your heater.

How Oil Filled Heaters Spread Heat

Averagely, the lifespan of an oil-filled heater is between 10–15 years. But if you get a quality heater and maintain it regularly, you can extend the lifespan.

Here are some of the factors that affect how long your oil-filled heaters will last:

Usage Amount

A primary factor that affects how long your oil-filled heater will last is what you do with it.

Some users prefer to use their oil-filled heaters throughout the day and at night. Similarly, other people only use oil heaters when the cold air becomes unbearable.

Likewise, the area the device is keeping warm affects the lifespan of your oil-filled heater. If the oil-filled heater is heating a small space, it’ll rarely have to overwork before circulating heat. Consequently, such a heater will experience less wear and tear compared to a system heating a bigger space. For cases like this, consider using a heater that is made for large rooms instead.


Oil Filled Heater PlacementThe location of oil-filled heaters affects how long the device should last. If you have a room with multiple doors, you should be looking at placing your oil-filled heater centrally. Placing it in the middle of the room will ensure the oil-filled heater works proficiently.

As much as you can, try not to open the doors many times. Doing so will only waste the heat coming from the heater.

Another way to waste the heat from the heater is by placing the device near a door. If you do this, every time the door opens, some of the generated heat gets wasted.

As such, your heater will work harder to cool the space, effectively reducing its lifespan. If you intend to install an oil-filled heater in an open space, maybe a church hall, you’re going to need multiple devices.

You can also consider other efficient heating systems that are made to cater multiple rooms.

Fuel Type

If you try putting regular fuel in your oil heater, then you may not need to bother asking the question, how long do oil-filled radiators last. Regular fuel will only damage your heater faster than normal.

Instead of using regular fuel, an oil-filled heater runs on diathermal oil. Diathermal oil has a high boiling point around 300°C.

Therefore, it can absorb heat without an increase in its temperature. This way, you won’t be in any danger while your oil-filled heater works properly.


An oil-filled heater is a heating machine, but it’s also a mechanical device. Certain components of the heater are in constant motion to produce the heat you need.

The answer to how long oil-filled heaters last depends on how these mechanical components do. Once the movements become noisy and the components hit themselves, damage can happen. Although calling a professional can help fix the damages, some parts may damage beyond repair.

The best way to break free from unnecessary component damage is through regular lubrication. By lubricating each mechanical component, they’ll move freely and work without suffering damage.

How Many Years Should an Oil-Filled Heater Last?

An oil-filled heater or electric portable radiating heater does have a long lifespan, depending on how you use it. For example, an oil-filled heater with mid-range materials can last for a decade with proper care. Similarly, if the heater has high-quality materials, it can last for up to fifteen years.

The way you use the oil-filled heater also affects its lifespan. If you use the device only when necessary and without any mishandling, an oil heater may last up to twenty years or more!

How To Tell That Your Oil-Filled Heater Is Failing?

Regardless of how hard you try and what you do to make your oil-filled heaters last long, they will eventually stop working. It’s the inevitable nature of machines.

Here are signs your oil-filled heater is nearing the end of its effective lifespan:

Energy Bills Going Up

The longer you use an oil-filled heater, the more its effective operation declines. As a result, the oil-filled heater will require more time to generate heat. It’s a scenario that translates to higher energy bills. Learn more on how much a working oil-filled heater costs to run as a basis for this.

Thermostat Not Working Properly

Girl Configuring ThermostatWhen you first install oil-filled heaters in your home, it warms the space evenly.

The moment you need to adjust and readjust your thermostat to regulate room temperature, your heater is gradually failing.

Heater Is Making Strange Noises

The longer you use the machine, the more the noises begin to change.

Loud, annoying noises from your heater may be due to a faulty component. But if the noise persists after repairs, your oil-filled heater is most likely failing.

How To Make Your Oil-Filled Heater Last Longer?

How you use your oil-filled heaters goes a long way to determine how long it will last. While it won’t last forever, here are some tips to make your oil-filled heater a longer investment;

  • An oil-filled heater doesn’t take time to heat, so you should only use it when the cold comes kicking in.
  • Handle the device with care
  • Regular maintenance and lubrication
  • Protect it from external factors like moisture
  • Position it centrally within the space

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Do oil-filled heaters need to be refilled?

No, you don’t need to refill oil-filled heaters. Electricity powers the heater. The diathermic oil only acts as a vessel for heat transfer. It doesn’t burn or evaporate.

Do oil-filled radiator heaters use much electricity?

Oil-filled heaters may seem to consume a lot of electricity at the initial stage. But when you consider the room will stay warm for a more extended period than other heaters, you’ll notice that it’s more cost-effective.

Are oil-filled heaters expensive to run?

It depends on how you use the oil-filled heaters. If you’re running oil-filled heaters 24/7, you’ll need higher investments in electricity and maintenance costs.

Can you leave an oil-filled heater on all the time?

Of course, you can leave your oil-filled heaters on all the time. However, I won’t advise this action. Leaving the machine on all the time may cause overheating and extra electricity bills.

How long do oil-filled radiators take to heat up?

The heating up process of an oil-filled radiator should take between 7–15 minutes.


With the information in this guide, I believe I’ve answered your question—how long do oil-filled heaters last. While the average period is between 10–25 years, you can always increase the lifespan with the tips provided in this guide.

Last Updated on November 25, 2021

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.