Troubleshooting Furnace Electrical Issues

Construction & Contractors Blog

Not all furnace trouble is created equal. Most homeowners are equipped to change a filter or figure out and repair minor issues with the thermostat. The problem is when an electric furnace begins blowing fuses in your breaker box. The following can help you diagnose the cause of the electrical problem and decide whether it's time to bring out a professional.

Issue #1: Overheating

A clogged filter is the most common cause for overheating in your furnace. If the fuse tends to blow or the breaker trips after the furnace has been on for awhile, it's time to shut it off and check the filter. Don't just simply change the filter. Instead, use a shop vacuum to vacuum out the filter slot in case there is any loose dirt clogging the works. Once cleaned out, put in a new filter and flip the breaker back to the on position. If overheating was the cause, you shouldn't have any more issues.

Issue #2: Water Shorts

Furnaces are often tucked away, such as in a basement, a crawl space, or out in a garage. While most garages are relatively dry, basements and crawlspaces can be prone to moisture and leaks. This can lead to dangerous shorts in the furnace. If you notice dampness near the furnace and if the breaker trips or fuse blows whenever the furnace tries to cycle on, disconnect it until you can have a trained electrician out for repairs. A water short can create a fire hazard and an electrocution hazard, so don't attempt to fix it yourself.

Issue #3: Faulty Wiring

Furnaces have blowers and motors running, which means there are some vibrations within the unit. This can result in loose or frayed wires over time. When this happens, there can be shorts that occur at any time when the furnace is running, or the furnace may simply refuse to turn on. Having the furnace inspected annually by a technician can help catch issues with the wiring before the furnace breaks down or becomes a hazard. If you suspect loose wiring, shut down the furnace until you can have it inspected.

Issue #4: Blow Motor

The blower motor is the hardest working part of your furnace. A failing motor will cause the fuse to blow or the breaker to trip each time it cycles on. This is another problem that can be caught and repaired early if you schedule regular inspections. Otherwise, you will need to power down the furnace until you can get an electrical service technician out to replace the motor.

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20 April 2016

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