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Why Is My Furnace Causing a Tripped Circuit Breaker?

3-natural-gas-burnersWe’re still experiencing cold and rainy weather here in Oregon, and we can expect to have these conditions for a few weeks. (After all, that’s what we’ve come to expect in a state that gets this much rain.) We aren’t out of the woods yet when it comes to winter weather, so make sure that you are keeping a close watch on potential problems with your furnace or other heating system.

One problem that can occur with a furnace during this time of the year is that it starts to trip the circuit breaker when it turns on. This is something that you can’t ignore! If this happens, don’t simply keep resetting the circuit breaker and trying to carry on for as long as you can until the breaker trips once more. A circuit breaker trips for a reason—to protect the circuit from a large voltage surge—and whenever one trips, it’s a warning that something is wrong.

But… what’s wrong? We’ll take a look below.

Yes, This Happens to Gas Furnaces

This is a common misunderstanding about gas furnaces. Although these furnaces use natural gas combustion to generate heat, they still require electricity to power other components. The majority of natural gas furnaces use electronic ignition systems today rather than pilot lights. But the main electrical component is the blower motor—and as we’ll discuss below, this is the part that’s often responsible for a tripped circuit breaker. (Important reminder: ­never attempt to diagnose or work on a gas furnace yourself; it can be extremely hazardous.)

Leading Causes of a Furnace Tripping a Circuit Breaker

  • Clogged furnace filter: This is one of the most common causes of a variety of furnace problems, and fortunately it’s simply to prevent and to fix. The filter will become congested with dust, lint, and other debris over the months, and after 1 to 3 months it will begin to put extra strain on the blower motor. The motor is a powerful electric component, and the stress can cause it to overload the circuit. Replace the clogged filter and see if this solves the problem.
  • Leaking air ducts: The reason for the heightened stress on the blower motor could also come from damage to the ducts connected to furnace. The loss of air lowers air pressure in the ductwork, causing the blower fan to work harder. You’ll need to have professional duct sealing to fix this.
  • Damaged motor: The issue may be in the blower motor itself. Worn down insulation can lead to arcing in the motor, and this will almost immediately trigger a tripped circuit breaker. To fix this will require professionals replace the motors.

If there is no simple answer to the problem with the furnace and the circuit breaker, then call for heating repair in Eugene, OR or elsewhere in Oregon for prompt, professional service. Our expert technicians are here with 24-hour emergency service to see that your furnace (or other heating system) is back on track to keep your house warm.

Comfort Flow Heating Serves All of Oregon.

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