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Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC Blog

How Electric Furnaces Can Go Bad

heating-element

One of the reasons furnaces are so common in homes across the country is their flexibility. Furnaces can run from a range of energy sources. Natural gas, propane, oil, and electricity. There’s a furnace to fit any home with ductwork in it, and when you rely on us as your Concord, MA, HVAC contractor, we’ll make sure you have the ideal furnace when it’s time for an installation.

Electric furnaces are common for houses without any connection to natural gas. They’re inexpensive to install, have a reliable energy source, and encounter few repair issues compared to gas and heating oil furnaces. But electric furnaces still malfunction at times—and if this happens to your electric furnace, you’ll want our technicians on the job fast to have it fixed. We have emergency service for whenever you have one these electric furnace problems strike …

Loose wiring

A fact about furnaces in general: electric failures are the #1 cause of furnaces shutting down. Yes, gas and propane furnaces have electric components as well. With an electric furnace, trouble with loose or frayed wiring can lead to the heating system shutting down. Wires can loosen because of the vibrations from the blower fan over time. When a wire becomes loose, it will cause an electrical short and the circuit breaker in the breaker panel will trip. Don’t keep trying to reset the breaker if it continues to trip—get a professional to inspect the furnace and repair it.

Broken sequencer

The sequencer is a part of an electric furnace that turns on the heating elements one at a time whenever the thermostat calls for heat. A furnace can overload its circuit if all the heating elements were to draw on electrical power at once, so the sequencer staggers out their operation. If the sequencer breaks, it can cause one or more (possibly all) heating elements to fail to turn on. Or, it will cause all of them to come on at once and trip the circuit breaker. A technician must replace the sequencer.

Faulty starting capacitor

As with most electric appliances, an electric furnace uses a capacitor to store and transmit voltage. The starting capacitor is the capacitor that “fires up” the furnace when it comes on. If it’s faulty, the furnace may not turn on at all. Capacitors are temporary components, and usually, need to be replaced before the end of the furnace’s service life.

Damaged thermostat control wire

This is the wire that connects the thermostat to the control board of the furnace. If this wire is damaged (often a result of amateur tampering with the control board) the thermostat will not be able to communicate with the furnace.

Water leaks

Any water leaks or water spills near an electric furnace can cause the system to short out. This can happen to a furnace stored in an attic or other places where water may seep into the house.

Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC has been trusted for over 30 years. Call us whenever you need heating repairs in the MetroWest Area.

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