How to Drain Oil from a Space Heater: A Comprehensive Guide

Draining the oil from a space heater is a crucial step when disposing of or servicing the appliance. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of locating the oil reservoir, safely draining the oil, and properly disposing of it. Whether you’re scrapping an old heater or performing routine maintenance, this guide has you covered.

Identifying the Oil Reservoir

The first step in draining the oil from a space heater is to locate the oil reservoir. This is typically found at the bottom of the heater, often enclosed in a metal or plastic casing. The reservoir is where the heating oil is stored and circulated to provide warmth.

To access the reservoir, you may need to remove the outer casing or cover of the heater. This is usually done by unscrewing a few screws or clips that hold the cover in place. Once the cover is removed, you should be able to clearly see the oil reservoir.

Draining the Oil

how to drain oil from space heater

Once you’ve located the oil reservoir, the next step is to drain the oil. This process can vary depending on the specific model of the space heater, but generally, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Place a suitable container, such as a large bucket or oil pan, underneath the oil reservoir to catch the draining oil.
  2. Locate the drain plug or valve at the bottom of the reservoir. This may be a small screw or a dedicated drain valve.
  3. Using a wrench or pliers, carefully loosen and remove the drain plug or open the valve to allow the oil to start draining.
  4. Allow the oil to fully drain from the reservoir, which can take several minutes depending on the size of the heater.
  5. Once the reservoir is empty, replace the drain plug or close the valve to prevent any further oil leakage.

It’s important to note that the oil in a space heater can be hot, so exercise caution when draining it. Wear heat-resistant gloves and work in a well-ventilated area to avoid any potential burns or fumes.

Disposing of the Oil

After draining the oil from the space heater, you’ll need to properly dispose of it. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Carefully pour the drained oil into a suitable container, such as a clean, leak-proof plastic or metal container.
  2. Check with your local waste management authority or automotive parts store to find the nearest oil recycling or disposal facility. Many municipalities have designated drop-off points for used motor oil.
  3. Transport the container of used oil to the designated disposal or recycling facility and follow their instructions for proper disposal.

It’s crucial to never pour the used oil down the drain, into a storm sewer, or onto the ground, as it can be harmful to the environment. Proper disposal is essential to protect the local ecosystem and comply with environmental regulations.

Scrapping the Space Heater

If you’re planning to scrap the space heater after draining the oil, there are a few additional steps to consider:

  1. Disassemble the heater: Remove the outer casing, the heating element, the safety thermal switch, and the main switch. This will allow you to separate the various components for proper recycling.
  2. Recycle the metal components: The space heater is primarily made of steel, which can be recycled. Separate the metal parts and take them to a local scrapyard or metal recycling facility.
  3. Dispose of the remaining components: Any non-metal parts, such as the plastic casing or wiring, should be disposed of according to local waste management regulations.

By properly draining the oil and dismantling the space heater, you can ensure that all the components are disposed of or recycled in an environmentally responsible manner.


Draining the oil from a space heater is a crucial step when servicing or disposing of the appliance. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can safely and effectively drain the oil, dispose of it properly, and prepare the heater for scrapping or further maintenance. Remember to always prioritize safety and environmental responsibility when handling the oil and the heater itself.