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Why Your Electric Furnace Is Tripping the Circuit Breaker


Electric furnaces are common for home heating in St Petersburg, FL. Although it often costs more to run an electric furnace than a gas furnace, in Florida this is less of a concern because we don’t rely on heating as much during the year. For all-electric homes, electric furnaces are a cost-effective way to provide warmth during the occasional cool days of winter.

Although electric furnaces are generally reliable, they can sometimes create issues. One problem you may run into with your electric furnace during the season is tripped circuit breakers. Your furnace is working great when suddenly it shuts off and doesn’t turn back on. You check the circuit breaker panel and discover the breaker for the furnace has tripped. You reset it, but the problem keeps recurring. What’s going on?

The first thing to know is that you shouldn’t keep resetting the breaker and ignoring the problem. If you reset it once and the issue doesn’t return, it was probably just a brief voltage surge. But if it keeps happening, the furnace may have a malfunction that will require calling us to repair it. Leave the furnace off until we’ve fixed the problem.

Reasons the Furnace May Trip the Breaker

Because an electric furnace is a powerful system that uses a large amount of electrical voltage, there are several ways for it to overload and trip a circuit. Anything that causes the furnace to run too hot can trip a breaker. One common source is an overheating blower motor.

The blower motor powers the blower fan that sends air through the furnace to pick up heat from the heating elements and then continue into the ductwork. If the motor is dirty or wearing down, it will overheat and trip the breaker. The motor will need to be repaired or replaced.

Another reason for an electric furnace creating too much electrical draw is a problem with a part called the sequencer. This is a critical component of the system that most people are unaware of. The sequencer is a device that controls the sequential starting of the heating elements in the furnace. The heating elements are the parts inside the furnace that create the heat that transfers to the air.

The furnace has multiple heating elements in it, but they cannot all turn on at the same time, otherwise they’ll overwhelm the circuit. The sequencer channels power to the heating elements separately, having them turn on one at a time until the furnace reaches the maximum heat level. 

The sequencer can break, like any other component. It might stop electricity from reaching the heating elements. Or it may allow all the heating elements to turn on at the same time, in which case the circuit breaker will trip and shut down the furnace. If heating technicians find that the sequencer is causing the problem, they can replace it. 

No matter what is troubling your electric furnace, you can trust our team to get to the bottom of it.

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