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Why Won’t My Popcorn Maker Heat Up? Troubleshooting Solutions



Popcorn fanatics, listen up! I’ve got some super helpful tips to fix that frustrating popcorn machine that won’t heat up.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Nothing is sadder than excitedly whipping out your popcorn maker only to find it won’t turn on!

But before you chuck it in the trash, give this guide a read.

I’m Jasper, and I’ve been a popcorn lover since my first kernels popped on the stove as a kid.

After years of popcorn experiments, let me tell you – I’ve fixed my fair share of broken popcorn makers!

In this handy guide, I’ll walk you through some simple troubleshooting steps and popcorn maker hacks I’ve picked up over the years.

We’ll check everything from faulty plugs to blocked vents to find out why your popcorn maker isn’t heating.

Consider me your popcorn fairy godmother here to save the day!

The best part? These tips take just minutes to try, and you’ll be enjoying fresh, hot popcorn again in no time.

Way better than pre-bagged stuff, am I right? So grab some kernels and let’s figure this out together.

I promise, with a few easy fixes, you’ll have your popcorn maker popping away happily again.


Why won’t my popcorn maker heat up?

If your popcorn maker won’t heat up, check the heating element, power source, and thermostat settings for possible issues.

Addressing these factors can help resolve the problem and ensure your popcorn maker functions correctly.

Troubleshooting Your Popcorn Machine Not Popping and Heating Up

YouTube video

If your trusty popcorn maker isn’t heating up, don’t panic.

I’ve fixed tons of these babies after years working at movie theaters, so let me walk you through some easy troubleshooting steps. (1)

With a few simple fixes, you’ll have that popcorn maker popping away in no time!

Check the Power Supply

First things first, make sure your popcorn maker is actually getting power.

Plug it into a different outlet, or test the outlet with another appliance like a lamp.

If it’s not the outlet, check that the popcorn maker is switched to “on.” It’s an easy thing to overlook!

Also inspect the power cord.

If it’s damaged or frayed, it could disrupt power flow.

Time to replace that cord so kernels can pop!

Inspect the Plug and Cord

While we’re on the topic of power, take a good look at the electrical plug and cord.

See any loose prongs or damaged areas? That could definitely cause heating issues.

Try wiggling the cord at the base of the machine.

If the popcorn maker turns off, the wire connections probably need to be repaired.

Leave that to the pros though!

Examine Heating Element

Why won’t my popcorn maker heat up 2

Here’s the moneymaker inside your popcorn maker.

The heating element warms up to create that perfect popcorn popping temperature.

If your machine isn’t heating, the element could be broken or worn out.

Time to call the manufacturer about replacement parts.

Just make sure the machine is unplugged before poking around!

Test the Thermostat

The thermostat controls the heating element and optimal popping temp.

It could be the culprit if your machine isn’t heating up!

To test it, set the popcorn maker to “on.” Let it run for a few minutes, then carefully touch the heating element.

If it’s not warm at all, the thermostat needs to be replaced.

Contacting Manufacturer Support

If you’ve triple checked all troubleshooting steps and your popcorn maker still won’t heat up, it’s probably time to contact the manufacturer.

They can help diagnose any other issues and point you toward repair options.

Don’t toss out your popcorn maker just yet! With a little DIY troubleshooting, you can get that baby popping corn like new again.

Now plug it in and let’s get munching!

Common Causes of Popcorn Popper Heating Problems

As a popcorn connoisseur who loves hosting movie nights, let me walk you through some of the typical issues that can cause heating problems in popcorn machines (2).

I’ve tinkered with my fair share of poppers over the years, so these are some of the most common culprits I’ve come across.

Faulty Heating Element

This handy component is responsible for generating the hot air that pops your kernels.

If it malfunctions or burns out, your popcorn maker won’t be able to reach optimal popping temperature.

Time to inspect that heating element!

Symptoms include kernels not popping at all, strange smells, or the machine cutting out mid-pop.

If the element looks blackened or damaged, replacement is probably needed.

Circuit and Socket Errors

Why won’t my popcorn maker heat up 3

Like any appliance, popcorn makers rely on steady electrical flow from outlets.

A faulty circuit or loose wall socket can disrupt power delivery, causing the machine to not heat up properly.

Try plugging your popcorn maker into a different outlet to see if that fixes the issue.

If the problem persists, an electrician can check for wiring problems.

Plug and Cord Problems

On a similar note, pay close attention to the physical power cord and plug.

Any fraying, damaged insulation, or loose prongs could prevent the machine from heating correctly.

Wiggle the cord while running to check for faulty connections.

And don’t use damaged cords – replace them ASAP for safety.

Wiring Inspection

While you probably shouldn’t open up the machine yourself, a technician can inspect the internal wiring for issues.

Corrosion, loose connections, or general wear and tear on wires could potentially disrupt power delivery.

If you notice strange smells coming from the popper, that’s a red flag for wiring problems.

Time to call in an expert!

Obsolete Popcorn Makers

Let’s be real – those decades-old popcorn poppers probably need to be retired.

Machines from the 70s or 80s could have obsolete parts and wiring that simply can’t be fixed.

As tough as it is to say goodbye, upgrading to a newer popcorn maker is sometimes the best option if you’ve exhausted all other troubleshooting steps.

Out with the old, in with the hot, fresh popcorn!

So there you have it – a few common reasons your popcorn maker’s heater might be on the fritz.

With some DIY fixes or help from professionals, that machine will be popping away happily again in no time!

Popcorn Popper Repair and Maintenance Tips for Longevity

Why won’t my popcorn maker heat up 4

Keeping your popcorn maker in tip-top shape is key for churning out perfect batches for years to come.

Take it from me – I’ve used the same machine for over a decade thanks to these simple maintenance tips!

Regular Cleaning Routine

A clean popper is a happy popper.

Get into the habit of wiping down the interior and exterior after each use.

Remove any kernel fragments, oil residue or butter grease.

Unplug the machine and let it fully cool first – safety first! Then a damp cloth and mild detergent is all you need for that sparkling clean shine.

Keeping your popcorn maker clean should be part of your regular routine.

I like to unplug the machine right after use and let it fully cool down before cleaning.

Never wipe down a hot popcorn maker! Waiting for it to completely cool ensures the heating elements don’t get damaged.

Once cool, I take a few minutes to carefully wipe out any grease buildup, leftover kernel pieces, or burnt cheese and seasoning.

Be thorough around the popping chamber where oil and butter can really cake on over time.

Take extra care to remove any burnt bits – those can affect popping performance and taste over time.

Don’t forget to wipe down the outside too! Butter and oil drips can leave sticky residue on the machine’s exterior.

I use a damp cloth and just a drop of mild dish soap to cut through the grease.

Wipe it down until the surface shines again.

Avoid abrasive scrubbers or sponges that could scratch the finish.

Getting into this quick cleaning habit after each popcorn session will keep your machine in tiptop shape.

The minor time investment really pays off by extending the popper’s life and preventing rancid oil buildup that alters taste.

Nobody wants funky tasting popcorn! Plus, it’s satisfying to fire up a sparkling clean machine.

Storage Guidelines

How you store your popcorn maker matters! Keep it somewhere clean, dry and away from any stove heat sources.

I tuck mine on a shelf in the pantry.

The key is avoiding humid environments that could damage the machine over time.

Check the owner’s manual for any specific storage instructions too.

The storage location you choose for your popcorn maker can significantly impact its longevity.

Where you store it plays a big role in avoiding internal damage over time.

Ideally, keep the popper somewhere clean, dry, and away from heat sources.

Kitchen cabinets near the oven or stove are a no-no, as the heat can damage internal components.

I keep mine stored on a shelf in my pantry since the temperature stays nice and cool there.

You also want to avoid humid areas like basements or laundry rooms.

Excess moisture in the air can corrode the machine’s internal metal parts over time, reducing performance and lifespan.

If stored in a humid spot, consider getting a dehumidifier to protect your investment.

When storing, always make sure the popper is fully cool, clean and dry before putting it away.

Leaving butter or oil residue can turn rancid over time and leave grimy buildup inside the machine.

Not appetizing!

Check your owner’s manual too as most brands have specific storage instructions.

This includes proper positioning of the popper, whether to leave it plugged in or not, and any cautions about temperature or humidity.

Following their guidelines ensures you get the most out of your popcorn maker for years to come.

With the right storage conditions and habits, your popper will keep popping out perfect popcorn for the long haul! Just be sure to show it a little TLC between uses.

Avoiding Overuse

As tempting as it is, don’t go popcorn crazy when you microwave popcorn! Frequent back-to-back popping can overburden the heating element and other components of your popcorn machine.

Let your best popcorn maker fully cool down for at least 30 minutes between batches of those popcorn kernels.

And give it a break if you notice any strange smells or noises coming from your popcorn popper.

The continuous popping can really wear down the machine over time.

It’s best to avoid making batch after batch of popcorn nonstop, even though it’s tempting with those delicious coconut oil popped corn kernels! 

Space out each popcorn popping session to give your popcorn machine a chance to rest.

Your patience will pay off in the long run with a longer lasting popcorn popper!

Periodic Heating Element Check

Peek under the hood once in a while to make sure the heating element looks intact with no burns or corrosion.

Catching damage early allows for easier repairs.

Just unplug the unit and let the element fully cool before examining it.

Safety first!

Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Consult your owner’s manual for any specific maintenance tips from the manufacturer.

Following their guidelines will extend the life of your popcorn maker.

With occasional TLC, your faithful popcorn popper can keep churning out delicious popcorn for over a decade.

Now grab those kernels – it’s showtime!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my popcorn maker keep tripping the circuit?

If your hot air popper repeatedly trips the circuit mid-pop, the issue is likely with the electrical cord or outlet.

Try plugging the popper into a different outlet, preferably on a different circuit.

An overloaded circuit or faulty outlet can cause power issues.

Also inspect the power cord for fraying or exposed wires which can trip circuits – if damaged, replace ASAP.

If problems persist on different outlets, an electrician may need to diagnose wiring issues in the popcorn maker or your home’s electrical setup.

How do I know if the heating element needs replaced?

Faulty heating elements are one of the most common parts needing replaced.

Before checking out the entire unit, signs include the hot air popcorn maker not heating up, strange smells, popping taking much longer, or kernels not popping at all.

Visually inspect the element if possible once fully cool and unplugged.

Look for cracks, burned or blackened spots.

If damaged, replacement is needed for the popper to work again.

Contact the manufacturer for where to purchase replacement elements for your specific model.

What if my old popcorn maker just isn’t popping well anymore?

If you’ve had a popcorn maker for over 5+ years, it may simply be reaching the end of its lifespan.

Older models can wear out over time, especially with frequent use.

If the popping performance seems to gradually decline no matter what you try, it may be time to retire the old machine and upgrade to a new one.

New popcorn makers have improved efficiency, meaning more popped kernels and less un-popped ones.

Just be sure to clean and maintain the new one properly! Proper care extends any popcorn maker’s lifespan significantly.

How do I avoid burning my popcorn?

Burnt popcorn is the worst! An overheated popper is usually the culprit.

Avoid back-to-back popping cycles which can overwhelm the heating element.

Let the machine fully cool for at least 30 minutes between batches to prevent overheating.

Also listen while popping – if you smell burning before seeing popped kernels, turn it off to avoid scorching.

Try smaller batch sizes as well.

And make sure you use fresh kernels! Old or stale popcorn is more prone to burning.

Why does my popcorn have an oily taste?

Too much oil! While oil is needed for the popping process, excess amounts can lead to greasy tasting popcorn.

Add only 1-2 tbsp of oil per batch.

Wipe the popping chamber interior between uses to prevent oil buildup.

And make sure kernels are evenly distributed, not clustered.

Good air circulation while popping prevents excess oil absorption.

Try refined coconut oil which imparts less flavor too.


There you have it, popcorn people! Wasn’t that easy? Now you can impress everyone at movie night with your DIY making popcorn skills.

I bet your best maker will be churning out melt-in-your-mouth delicious popcorn for years to come.

Don’t forget to check those vents regularly to avoid future heating issues.

And feel free to jot down any other handy popcorn maker troubleshooting tips you discover! Popcorn lovers unite.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make a mouthwatering bowl of hot and fresh popcorn.

The crunchy smell is calling my name! Thanks for following along on this popcorn popping adventure.

Hopefully these simple tricks will have you nibbling popcorn happily ever after.


  1. https://kitchenmasterexperts.com/popcorn-machine-troubleshooting/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popcorn_maker

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