Is Your Oil Diffuser Not Working? 7 Common Issues

In general, oil diffusers are pretty simple machines that are quite intuitive to use. But, just like any gadget, there are times where your oil diffuser might not work as it should, or it might entirely break down. It can be super frustrating when your oil diffuser stops working, which is why I sat down and did a ton of research to help you assess the problem and find out exactly why your diffuser is not working quite right.

When you find your oil diffuser not working properly, the first thing to do is safely assess whether you have plugged it correctly, and the outlet is giving off power. If the problem persists, check the fan motor, whether the diffuser is on an uneven surface, or if the water level is too low.

Trying to assess why a machine is not working can sometimes be quite tricky, and oil diffusers are no exception. There are hundreds of different problems and issues that could be stopping your oil diffuser from working right, and it sometimes takes time to identify the one that is causing your diffuser problems.

Before you can fix a broken oil diffuser, you have to find the source of the problem. Make sure to take your time to discover why your diffuser is not working before you open it up to fix it, return it to the store, or throw up your hands and claim that it is a lost cause.

Oil Diffuser Not Working

Why Your Oil Diffuser Might Not Be Working

There are thousands of different models of oil diffusers on the market. Without physically having the broken oil diffuser, it is nearly impossible to diagnose the problem. 

Because of this wide variety of oil diffusers, you have to take the time to fully assess and look at your oil diffuser carefully to find the issue that is prohibiting it from working as it should.

In the following sections, I’ll cover some of the most common causes for an oil diffuser to stop working. If you have a broken oil diffuser, I advise you to carefully look over all of these potential reasons to find out why your machine is not working correctly. Take your time and make sure you look at all the possibilities before moving on to the next possible issue.

However, there are some cases where the oil diffuser is just too old or broken, and you cannot fix it or identify the exact problem. When this is the case, check your product’s warranty, look for ways to fix your precise model online, or go and purchase a new oil diffuser.

1. Check the Water Level

Before you freak out about your oil diffuser not working, the first thing you should do is check the water level in your diffuser. There should be a clearly marked “fill line” that indicates how much water you should put into your diffuser on most models.

Many oil diffusers will automatically turn off when the water in them gets too low, so this should be one of the first things you check when you notice your diffuser is not working.

To remedy this simple problem, simply fill up your diffuser to the fill line with tap or bottled water. Once your diffuser is full of water again, you might need to turn off and then back on the machine before it starts working correctly again.

2. Make Sure You Plug It In Correctly

This problem is an absurdly simple one that could be stopping your oil diffuser from working, but it is more common than you might think. Many people falsely thing their diffusers are not working and completely broken, but they are simply not plugged in all the way or correctly.

An essential oil diffuser usually has two plugs: one where the power cord plugs into the power source (usually a power outlet in the wall of your house) and another where the cable plugs into the actual diffuser. 

Some oil diffusers are built differently and run off of batteries or don’t have a removable plug where the power cord connects to the diffuser. The point being, if your oil diffuser is not working and has plugs, MAKE SURE IT’S PLUGGED IN CORRECTLY.

3. The Power Source Could Not Be Working

Another surprisingly common reason why your oil diffuser appears not to be working right is the power source that it is relying on is not working. In most cases where a faulty power source is an issue, the diffuser is perfectly fine and works great once you plug it into a power outlet that works properly.

For most electric oil diffusers, you must plug them into a power source, such as a wall outlet in your house, to power them (besides battery-powered oil diffusers, of course). 

To test whether your power supply is at fault instead of your oil diffuser, try plugging your diffuser into a different outlet in your home. You can also plug another electric device, such as a kitchen appliance, into the outlet to see if it works or not. 

4. It Could Be On An Uneven Surface

A very easy-to-do thing that could cause your diffuser not to work is placing it on an uneven surface. While it might seem like such a small thing, it can actually break your entire diffuser.

If you notice your diffuser not working, have a good look at what it is sitting on and how flat the surface is because it might be the reason for the issue.

Without going too deep into it, an uneven or slanted surface can cause the internal parts of your diffuser to get all jumbled up and broken. All oil diffusers are designed and specifically built to stay completely flat, so tilting it could cause problems. 

Not to mention the added risk of your diffuser falling off an uneven or slanted surface.

5. The Fan Stopped Working

One of the essential parts of a standard oil diffuser is the fan. There are many moving and critical components of an oil diffuser, but the fan is the thing that moves the water mist out of the diffuser and throughout your home.

If your oil diffuser still turns on but cannot disperse the water vapor that it produces, it is probably because the fan is broken.

For some higher-end electric oil diffusers, you can purchase replacement fans, but it is easier to buy a new diffuser in most cases if you run into this problem. However, before you just give up on your diffuser, it is worth looking into it and seeing if the problem is not actually that the fan itself is not working, but only a fan blade is cracked or broken.

6. Water Got Into the Electronics

If water gets into contact with your essential oil diffuser’s electrical components, it will promptly stop working. There are many reasons why water would get into the electric parts of a diffuser. It happens most often if you place your diffuser on an uneven surface or something inside the diffuser breaks and lets water out.

If you don’t move your diffuser around a bunch, travel with it, or have it on an uneven surface, getting water in the diffuser’s electronic parts is quite rare. However, it sometimes happens, so it should be something that you look into when you are trying to determine why your oil diffuser is not working correctly.

One of the best ways to check for water damage in your diffuser is to take it apart and look for pooling in the bottom of the diffuser or moisture on the electrical components. It is usually relatively easy to tell when water gets into the electric parts and breaks the diffuser.

7. Debris Or Mineral Buildup Could Be Clogging It

And last but not least, debris, mineral buildup, and other objects can be lodged in your oil diffuser and cause it not to work properly.

Especially after you have used your oil diffuser for quite some time, dried essential oils can become a problem if you don’t clean your diffuser.

You can usually see if something is blocking your oil diffuser pretty quickly by looking closely at it or taking it apart. Objects like small bits of paper, cloth, dirt, or wood can sometimes get lodged in the hole where the diffuser releases vapor. 

Mineral buildup or dried essential oils (depending on what you use your diffuser for) can sometimes collect inside your diffuser. If nothing is visibly blocking the hole where the vapor is released, it’s a good idea to take your diffuser apart to check for buildups or blockage inside the machine.

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Grace Young

I love candles! I have personally tried over 100 brands of candles. The total burn time of these candles is over 5000 hours. I also talk about essential oil diffusers and reed diffusers. Essential oil diffusers and diffusers are also an important part of the scent in my home.

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