Watching Those Filters

Why The Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping When The Furnace Is Running

Your furnace should run without tripping the circuit breaker all the time. You can reset the circuit breaker once if it trips after you turn on the furnace. You know something is wrong if the breaker trips again. Diagnose and fix the malfunction before running the furnace.  Below are the three major reasons a circuit breaker can keep tripping when the furnace is running.

Restricted Airflow

The main function of the furnace is to heat air and circulate it around the house. The furnace cannot do this if it has to deal with restricted airflow in the house. Here are the classic examples of airflow issues in a heating system:

  • Something is blocking the air ducts, and warm air cannot reach some parts of the house
  • Debris is clogging the air filter and restricting airflow
  • Something is blocking the air vents, and air cannot flow out
  • The furnace fan is damaged and cannot facilitate airflow

In short, anything that prevents the flow of warm air to different rooms and cool air back to the furnace interferes with airflow.

Restricted airflow means the furnace has to work harder than usual to keep the house warm. An overworked furnace is likely to overheat, malfunction, and trip the circuit breaker.

Furnace Electrical Fault

A typical furnace, even a gas-powered surface, uses electricity. Your gas furnace needs electricity to run the thermostat, ignite the burners (unless you have an older furnace with a pilot light), and to drive the furnace motor. An electrical malfunction in any of these parts can trip the circuit breaker.

Consider the example of a worn motor whose windings have lost their insulation. A short circuit ensures if two or more naked windings get into contact. Damage from a short circuit is one of the things the circuit breaker prevents. Thus, the circuit breaker will trip to prevent electrical damage.

House Electrical Fault

Lastly, the circuit breaker can also keep tripping due to other problems unrelated to the furnace. Here are examples of such problems:

  • A corroded and damaged electrical panel or malfunctioning circuit breaker
  • An overloaded electrical circuit
  • A temporary drop in the electrical supply to your house

Anything that prevents your furnace from getting the electrical power it needs can keep tripping the breaker.

Furnace electrical problems are not good candidates for DIY repair. The risk of damage or injury is just too great. Consult a professional technician to diagnose and fix the issue.

For more information on heating repair, contact a local HVAC service.


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