The Internet is awash with super cheap air heaters that are sold via Ebay, Amazon, etc. These heaters are generally manufactured via smaller assembly companies (there are approx. 100) in China, which source parts from primary manufacturers and assemble them with varying regard for quality control or after sales service/support/warranty. There are numerous forums on how to repair these heaters, as generally speaking their lifespan is fairly short. It is more a case of when, not if, you will need to fix it. We think of these heaters as being a bit of a lottery. Some may run well and last for quite some time, while others are dead out of the box and will never run. Rest assured that when they fail, it will always be on the coldest night or at the most inconvenient moment. The main issues we find with these heaters are as follows:
- Parts are generally low quality. Glow plugs, fan motor bearings and brushes, electronics, etc., are all very cheaply made. This contributes to poor reliability overall.
- Combustion mixtures are often not optimised, so they carbon up quickly.
- Outputs are often well below the advertised levels, ie. outlet air temperature is often well below 85 to 90deg and air flow can be lower.
- Ducting and vents can be non-standard sizes, making installation tricky.
- Identifying faulty parts can be tricky (it can be hard enough on reputable brands). Error codes on ECUs are often misleading and finding issues via an elimination process is difficult without additional compatible parts.
- Accessories, like ducting, fuel tanks, etc., are all very cheap and don’t tend to last. They are not UV stable or made of good materials.
- The cheap plastics tend to smell more when hot and give off a lot more VOC.
- When you contact the seller (if you can) they are often not equipped to do servicing. Parts are either not available or take four weeks to arrive from China.
Getting parts for these heaters is a challenge because they are never numbered and are often hard to get from the original seller. At Dieselheat, we do offer some parts which might be compatible with these heaters. However, it is up to you to visually match them as we cannot guarantee compatibility. If you want to read more, check out what Heatspace in NZ have to say about the super cheap Chinese heaters.
What Dieselheat Can Do
- Check our list of Chinese heater spare parts for compatible spares. We have large photos of all our spares to help you visually match components. Things to keep in mind are the size of the heater and the voltage. Controllers are difficult to match because even if the pins match, the onboard ECU might not be compatible.
- If you are sick of fixing your cheap heater and want to upgrade to a decent heater with warranty, service, parts etc., then call us. We can make up kits to retrofit a good quality heater into your existing install, keeping as much of the existing install kit as possible to minimise the cost.
- Check our glow plug service. If you post us your failed glow plug, we will try and match it for you, including replacing the ECU connector by cutting and joining the wires if they are a different shape.
What We Can’t Do
- We cannot install your cheap heater. We won’t let you throw good money after bad and we can’t guarantee it will work when the install is done.
- We cannot service your cheap heater. We can provide parts but we cannot actually service your heater because we won’t have the necessary controllers, wiring looms or diagnostic gear to efficiently identify issues. In many cases, service costs would exceed the cost of the heater.
- We cannot offer phone advice or support for these cheap heaters. Please read the forums, go to YouTube or contact the seller for support.