How to Convert a Space Heater to Oil: A Comprehensive DIY Guide

Converting a space heater to an oil-filled radiator can be a cost-effective and efficient way to heat your living space. By replacing the heating element with an oil-filled radiator, you can enjoy the benefits of slow, radiant heat that can effectively warm a room for an extended period. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of converting your space heater to an oil-filled system, providing technical details and safety considerations to ensure a successful and safe project.

Disassembling the Space Heater

The first step in the conversion process is to disassemble the space heater. Begin by unplugging the device and locating the screws or clips that hold the housing together. Carefully remove the screws or clips, taking note of their placement to ensure proper reassembly later. Once the housing is open, you will need to identify and remove the heating element.

Heating Element Removal

The heating element is typically secured to the circuit board or other internal components using screws or soldered connections. Use the appropriate tools, such as a screwdriver or soldering iron, to carefully remove the heating element. Be mindful of any wiring or connections that may need to be disconnected during this process.

Installing the Oil-Filled Radiator

how to convert a space heater to oil

With the heating element removed, you can now install the oil-filled radiator. When selecting an oil-filled radiator, ensure that it is the appropriate size and shape to fit the space previously occupied by the heating element. Consider the wattage and voltage requirements of the radiator to ensure compatibility with your space heater’s electrical system.

Mounting the Radiator

Secure the oil-filled radiator in the space where the heating element was located. This may involve using brackets, screws, or other mounting hardware to ensure a secure and stable installation. Pay close attention to the orientation and positioning of the radiator to optimize heat distribution within the space heater’s housing.

Electrical Connections

Once the radiator is in place, you will need to connect it to the power source. This may involve directly wiring the radiator to the circuit board or using a plug-in adapter. Ensure that all electrical connections are properly insulated and secured to prevent any potential safety hazards.

Reassembly and Testing

After the oil-filled radiator is installed and connected, it’s time to reassemble the space heater. Carefully replace the housing, ensuring that all screws or clips are properly secured. Once the reassembly is complete, plug in the space heater and test it to ensure that the oil-filled radiator is functioning correctly.

Thermal Mass and Heat Output

The diathermic oil used in the oil-filled radiator has a large thermal mass and a high specific heat capacity, allowing it to retain heat and radiate it slowly over time. A typical oil-filled radiator has a wattage of 1500 watts and a voltage of 120 volts, producing 12.5 amps of current. This heat output can effectively warm a room, providing a comfortable and efficient heating solution.

Safety Considerations

It’s important to note that converting a space heater to an oil-filled radiator may void the manufacturer’s warranty and could pose safety risks if not done properly. Consult with a professional electrician before attempting this conversion to ensure that all electrical connections are secure and that the oil-filled radiator is properly insulated to prevent burns or fires.


Converting a space heater to an oil-filled radiator can be a practical and cost-effective way to heat your living space. By following the step-by-step instructions and technical specifications outlined in this guide, you can successfully complete this project and enjoy the benefits of slow, radiant heat. Remember to prioritize safety and consult with a professional if you have any doubts or concerns during the conversion process.


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