A man fixing an electric furnace with the words "Electric Furnace Troubleshooting"

When your electric furnace stops working in the dead of winter, it can be rather inconvenient. The issue may be major and costly, or it could be something simple that you may be able to fix yourself. Here are some troubleshooting tips that can help you figure out what’s wrong with your electric furnace:

1. Electric Furnace Won’t Turn On

When it is cold outside and your electric furnace refuses to turn on, it can bring on a sense of overwhelming panic. Your house will quickly get cold, leaving you shivering, increasing the risk of illness, and making you and your family downright miserable. Often, the issue is as simple as the unit is turned off, the breaker tripped, or a fuse has blown..

Troubleshooting Step 1: Make Sure the Unit Is Turned On

Whether you were taking a short vacation and turned your furnace off before you left and you forgot to turn it back on, or there was a power outage that turned it off, checking whether it is turned on should always be the first step. Check your furnace for a reset button and press it. If it comes on, problem solved, if not, move on to step two.

Troubleshooting Step 2: Check for Tripped Breakers

Power outages or a power surge can trip your circuit breaker causing your furnace to turn off. So, make sure you check the circuit breaker to see if it is tripped and turn it back on. If your electric furnace continues to trip the breaker, it might be a sign of a larger issue. Contact your trusted HVAC specialist as soon as possible if the problem persists.

Troubleshooting Step 3: Look for Blown Fuses

Your electric furnace’s fuses will eventually burn out. You can examine for blown fuses yourself by looking at the furnace’s owner manual to find where your circuit boxes are located. Keep in mind that different brands have different locations. If during your examination you find that one or more fuses are burnt or broken, replacing them is what you need to do to fix the issue. 

If you have completed these troubleshooting steps and your furnace still refuses to turn on, then it is time to call in an experienced HVAC technician.

2. Your Furnace Is Producing Little to No Heat

If your electric furnace is running hard but it isn’t producing enough heat to chase off the cold, this could be caused by a number of different issues. The most common issues include a faulty thermostat but these issues could also be a sign of a clogged filter, dirty air ducts, or a serious problem with your furnace.

Troubleshooting Step 1: Try Adjusting the Thermostat

A technician looks at the thermostat in a Lewisville home

Electric furnaces have a thermostat that tells them how much heat they need to be producing to keep your home at the right temperature. Sometimes, the thermostat could be set too low and unable to maintain an ambient room temperature.

Check your thermostat first and try raising it 3-5 degrees (Fahrenheit). Wait about twenty minutes to see if your heater begins to produce more heat. 

If it does, great! Problem solved. If it doesn’t, you will need to move on to further troubleshoot with step 2.

Troubleshooting Step 2: Check the Filter

Your furnace’s filter needs to be cleaned at least once every 90 days. This may need to be done more often, such as once a month, for individuals who have pets or higher allergy needs.

If the filter is clogged with dust and debris then simply cleaning or replacing the filter should do the trick.

Troubleshooting Step 3: Examine the Fan and Blower

If the filter wasn’t the problem, it means that there is something wrong with either the fan or the blower, or you have dirty air ducts.

Generally, if you are facing a fan or blower issue, there are some telltale signs. These are as follows:

  • There is poor airflow from the vents
  • Your energy bills are mounting up despite the lesser airflow
  • There are strange noises when you turn the heat on
  • There are weird smells, such as burning, coming from your furnace.

If it is not the blower or the fan of your furnace, then dirty air ducts may be causing warm air to be unevenly distributed or even trapped.

It is important to note that these types of issues can only be handled by an experienced HVAC technician. Trying to fix a blower, a fan, or cleaning out the air ducts yourself can lead to more issues than it solves. An experienced HVAC technician can get to the heart of the problem and provide solutions that keep your furnace safe and help it run stronger.

3. The Blower Won’t Stop Running

Sometimes, the blower runs too much, leading to higher energy bills and weakening your unit. Blowers that have trouble stopping are generally caused by thermostats that are set to the wrong setting or have a faulty relay. Here is what you can do to get to the bottom of the issue:

Troubleshooting Step 1: Make Sure the Thermostat Is on the Right Setting

If the blower doesn’t turn off, it could simply be that your thermostat is set to ON instead of AUTO. Check the setting on your thermostat and see if you need to adjust it. 

Troubleshooting Step 2: Call In a Professional If That Doesn’t Work

The other issue that can result in your blower not turning off is a faulty relay. Unfortunately, this is a fix that cannot be DIY’ed. You will need to contact your trusted HVAC technician to help you fix the blower.

An Air Conditioning installer discusses options with a Coppell Homeowner

4. Your Electric Furnace Is Noisy

A noisy furnace may be due to something as simple as a loose access panel or something more complex such as a faulty belt.

Troubleshooting Step 1: Check the Access Panel

Over time, your electric furnace’s access panel may come loose. If it makes a banging noise, it is likely due to this issue. Try tightening the bolts on it and see if that works.

Troubleshooting Step 2: Examine the Belt

Your furnace has a belt that helps it run. Oftentimes, a noisy electric furnace is caused by a belt that is loose, unhinged, unlubricated, or broken. You may be able to fix the issue yourself by simply re-adjusting the belt. Just make sure to turn your furnace off first.

Is Your Electric Furnace Still Causing You Trouble?

If you’ve tried the simple steps outlined above and your electric furnace is still not working right, it’s time to call in Cote’s Mechanical. Their licensed and experienced heater technicians will discover the cause of the issue and help you get your electric furnace fixed promptly and effectively. 

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