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Atlantic Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

Possible Reasons Your Electric Furnace Isn’t Working


Natural gas furnaces are the most common type of home heating system in our area, but not all homes have access to natural gas. For all-electric homes, the most popular option for central heating is an electric furnace. These furnaces are safer than gas-burning appliances and they can also last for five years long on average. They also need fewer repairs in general because they have a simpler design and don’t suffer from the strain of combusting gas.

But a gas furnace can still malfunction, and this winter you might need the help of our professionals for furnace repair in Dover. We’ve put together a list of several reasons for your electric furnace to quit working. Some won’t require a professional repair, only an adjustment. Anything more complex, however, needs trained experts.

A tripped circuit breaker

This is a common reason for an electric furnace refusing to turn on. The furnace makes large demands on the home’s electrical system, and sometimes this can cause the furnace to overload its circuit and trip it. Check your household electrical panel to see if the furnace’s breaker has tripped and reset it if it has. If the furnace continues to trip the breaker, there’s a more serious electrical problem occurring that’s causing a short, and we recommend calling professionals. 

A broken sequencer

The sequencer is a key component of an electric furnace that allows it to gradually turn on without creating a power overload. The sequencer arranges for the different heating elements in the furnace to come on one at a time, rather than all at once. If the sequencer breaks, it could fail to turn on any of the heating elements, or it could cause them to come on simultaneously and trip the circuit breaker.

Failed heating elements

The basic component of an electric furnace that heats the air is the heating element, which contains electric coils that turn hot when an electric current runs through them. Most electric furnaces have more than one heating element. If your furnace is coming on, but you aren’t getting as much heat from it as you expect, it may be a failed heating element. Repair technicians can replace any failed elements.

Loose wires in the control board

Any wiring in the furnace can come loose over time due to vibrations or corrosion. A loose wire in the control board can cause a short, and this is one of the reasons the furnace may cause a circuit breaker to trip. It’s also one of the reasons we don’t recommend you try to tinker with the furnace on your own, as these loose wires can pose an electrocution hazard. 

The furnace is overheating

The control board has a dedicated fuse that will trip if the heat inside the furnace rises too high. A fault in this fuse can cause the furnace to refuse to come on at all.

There are several other possibilities, and you can trust our team to locate the specific repair necessary to get your home warm again. 

At Atlantic Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Inc., “We Take Pride in Your Comfort!” Call us when you need any heating repair in Delaware or the Maryland Eastern Shore.

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