If the furnace circuit breaker keeps tripping or the fuse is blowing regularly, this is a sure sign that something is wrong. During the holidays, it’s all too easy to blame the problems on string lights. But, when they come down, and the problems persist, it’s natural to wonder what to do next. An electrical furnace problem is hard to solve because there are many possible causes to investigate. To exacerbate this situation the problems can be intermittent, and it can take some time to isolate the problem. In this article, we will take a look at ten furnace electrical problems in more detail.
1. A Clogged Air Filter
A furnace relies on a steady supply of air to perform efficiently, and if the air filter is clogged, it can cause a host of problems. A gradual loss in performance leads to higher energy bills as the equipment is overworked to force the air through the filter. The dust will eventually reach the blower motor, and this can cause the part to overheat. This can lead to a tripped breaker or burnt fuse and even a fire. The easiest way to prevent these problems is to replace the fuse and filter and get the system professionally cleaned.
2. Water Leaks
If you’ve noticed water leaks in the vicinity of the furnace, the water could be the cause of an electrical short. This is common if the furnace is tucked out of sight in a crawl space and a water leak can go unnoticed for a long time. Check around the furnace for damp spots and standing water and contact your local HVAC specialist if you find a leak.
3. Incorrect Fuses
When you schedule some essential maintenance for your furnace it’s important to hire a professional HVAC contractor. A heating and cooling system represents a significant investment, and it makes good sense to protect it. If you attempt a DIY service or hire a handyman with no training or experience, they may install a fuse that’s too small.
4. Dirty Fuses
It’s advisable to get the furnace maintained every year before the start of the heating season. If you’ve overlooked maintenance for a few years, the components are probably coated with dirt and grime. If an HVAC fuse is dirty, it cannot make a good connection, and the heating system fails.
5. Loose Wires
When the furnace runs, there are significant vibrations, and these can cause a wire to become loose. If the wire is too loose, it can come into contact with other wires and cause a short. Without any power, the furnace will not operate, and you get no heating for your home. It can take a while to find a loose wire if you don’t have any formal training or experience with heating and cooling systems. But, if you can locate the loose wire, it can be repaired or replaced, and this should fix the problem. To prevent a recurrence in the future, get the furnace maintained every year to keep the wires tight and safe.
6. A Failing Blower Motor
An HVAC system works hard for most of the months of the year, and the cooled or heated air must be delivered throughout the home. To push the air through the ducts the system needs a fan that is driven by a blower motor. This makes the blower motor one of the more important components in the entire system.
If the blower motor is bad or failing, you may not feel any air coming from the vents. This part is badly affected by a clogged air filter because it has to work harder to force the air through the filter. This strain may draw too much power causing an electrical short, or it may fail entirely. If your blower motor has failed, it should be replaced by a local HVAC specialist.
7. Failing Gas Valve
If you have a gas furnace, you still need electrical power for critical systems. But, one of the more common problems is a failing gas valve that cannot open and close properly. When this occurs, it can cause overheating issues, and this may lead to an electrical short. If you’re not a trained and experienced HVAC technician, this is easy to miss, and it can lead to recurring blown fuse problems.
8. A Faulty Capacitor
The furnace has a capacitor, which stores the charge to start the heating system. If the starter capacitor is failing, you can expect some intermittent electrical system problems. The only way to fix this problem is to replace the capacitor.
9. Transformer Failures
If you live in a building that has an electrical system that can support 120v, you will need a transformer. This will convert the furnace to the proper voltage to run the ignition, controls, and timing systems. If an electrical transformer fails, the system will suffer electrical shorts, and it must be replaced to restore normal functionality.
10. The Thermostat Control Wire
The control board for your furnace has a separate fuse to protect the sensitive components from overheating. If an unqualified person is working on the system, they can come into contact with the furnace wire frame. This can cause a short, and the fuse on the furnace board may blow. To fix this problem, the fuse must be replaced to ensure that this safety feature works as intended.
Identifying and fixing an electric furnace problem can be a frustrating experience for most people. This can be a time consuming troubleshooting exercise, and it can be difficult to find the right solution for the problem. But, the good news is that the risks of these problems developing can be mitigated or avoided entirely with regular maintenance. If you cannot remember when your furnace was serviced, it’s time to schedule a visit now. A well maintained furnace will perform better, and the energy efficiency improvements can save you money on your utility bills.
If you need some essential maintenance for your furnace, contact your local heating and cooling specialist today.