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Collier's Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Why Your Furnace Is Tripping the Circuit Breaker


This time of year can be a troublesome one for home heating systems like furnaces. The major cold weather is almost over, but furnaces have run for so many months that they’re more likely to encounter trouble at this point. We can’t emphasize this enough: no matter when you notice trouble with your furnace, or how deep into spring you notice it, always schedule furnace repair in Plymouth, IN right away. Delaying on repairs or letting them wait until fall can mean a worse repair—or a furnace that breaks down right when you need it.

We’re going to look at a specific furnace problem you might run into this time of year, and it’s one you shouldn’t ignore—when the furnace causes a circuit breaker to trip when it comes. Please don’t keep resetting your breaker if this problem is happening! Something is overloading the circuit and it needs to be dealt with.

Reasons This Might Be Happening

Like most HVAC troubles, there are multiple potential reasons for a tripped circuit breaker:

  • Clogged air filter: If you haven’t regularly swapped out the furnace’s air filter for a clean one (we recommend every 1 to 3 months), the filter may be so clogged up that it’s forcing the blower to work extra hard. If the blower motor puts too much demand on the electrical circuit, the breaker will trip. Change the filter for a new one and see if this helps.
  • Malfunctioning electrical component: Even a gas furnace must rely on electrical components, such as the blower motor. If one of the electrical components has a fault, it can lead to the electrical overload that trips a breaker.
  • Short-circuit or ground fault: A short-circuit can occur in a furnace because of contact between two wires. A ground fault is when a loose hot wire touches the ground or another part of the furnace that can conduct the current into the ground, such as a metal section. Both short-circuits and ground faults cause electrical surges. Please don’t try to look into the furnace and rewire it yourself—only a qualified HVAC technician can do this work.
  • Duct and vent problems: Blocked vents and ducts that are damaged squeeze off airflow will put the extra strain on the blower fan that causes a tripped circuit breaker. Check to see that all the vents in the house are open and unobstructed. If the problem is from damaged ducts, you’ll need ventilation professionals to replace and repair the ducts.
  • Fault in the electrical panel: Finally, the issue may not be with the furnace, but the electrical panel itself. If other circuit breakers have been tripping recently, we recommend calling on an electrician to see if you need an upgraded panel.

Unless the issue is something you can easily remedy (such as putting in a new filter or unblocking vents), always rely on a licensed HVAC professional to take care of the repair. A pro will know what to look for, how to fix it once the problem is found, and how to keep safe when working with electrical components.

Call us anytime for furnace repairs. Collier’s Heating & Air Conditioning—For Over 30 Years, A Company You’ve Come to Trust!

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