Electrical Problems with Furnace - Wire Craft ElectricIf you find your furnace isn’t producing enough heat, or is just not even turning on at all, what do you do? You could call an electrician or a heating and air company, but fear not! There might be a quick fix available. Before doing anything, it’s best to check if the system even turns on. By turning your thermostat three-to-five degrees above your room temperature in the heat setting, you should hear it turn on within 10-30 seconds. If nothing happens, or you don’t feel much heat coming from the vent, it’s time to go down the list of potential causes.

Change Out Your Filter

First things first – check your filter. The air filter on a furnace is located on the same side as the cold air return. This is used to stop any dust or debris from getting inside your furnace which would potentially make maintenance more frequent. An air filter should be replaced every month or every other month. If an air filter is clogged, it will put more stress on the furnace inductor and reduce your energy savings. If left alone too long, it could potentially overheat the system and reduce the lifespan of the motor.

Reset Button

Sometimes in power outrages, an electric furnace can malfunction and just needs to be reset. This is an easier process than it may sound like. Just follow these three steps:

  1. Turn down the room thermostat to it’s lowest setting
  2. Turn off the power to your furnace at the circuit breaker or fuse box
  3. Locate the reset button. It is typically labeled in red. Press and hold the reset button for 30 seconds.

Clean The Flame Sensor

If your furnace is cycling on and off and not getting hot enough, this could be due to a dirty flame sensor. The flame sensor’s purpose is to confirm to the system that whenever the gas valve is open, a fire is actually present. This sensor rod is either straight or angled and typically held by one screw. Make sure to turn off the electricity before working on your furnace.

Once you unscrew the flame sensor bolt, make sure not to touch the actual sensor with your fingers. This will leave oil on it and keep it from functioning properly. If it’s an angled flame sensor, make sure to remember the positioning of the rod for reinsertion.

With an abrasive pad like a paper bill or a fine grit sandpaper; start to scrub the excess soot off the rod with friction. Once it seems like no more debris is coming off the rod, you can place the flame sensor rod back into the furnace in it’s original position. Try to turn furnace back on and it shouldn’t cycle anymore.

Other Electric Problems on Your Furnace

That’s just scratching the surface of potential issues. Below you’ll find some more common electrical problems people experience with their furnaces. These typically need a multimeter to check and if the part is not working properly, it will need to be placed.

Fault Igniter

HVAC systems use an ignitor versus a pilot-light system. These ignitors glow bright orange and get heavy hot until they light the gas and start the furnace burners. Sometimes these become faulty and will need to be inspected for any cracks. You can also use a multimeter to check if there is a path of conductivity. If not, then the part is failed and will need to be replaced.

Faulty Draft Inducer Motor

The draft inducer motor draws air into the heat exchanger and then exhausts it out of the flue. A defective draft inducer motor may not be able to maintain the proper air-flow, stalling the ignition process. Be aware of poor airflow via the exhaust fan. Make sure your furnace is in a properly ventilated space and the exhaust fan is clear of obstructions.

Failed Control Board

The control board regulates the power supply to all of the furnace components. If the control board fails, it might not send voltage to the ignition system.

Defective Flame Rollout Switch

A defective flame rollout switch may be open even if proper airflow is present. Pressing the reset button first to test if this fixes it. You can also use a multi meter to test with conductivity.

Malfunction Gas Valve Assembly

The gas valve opens to allow gas into the burner. Much like the flame rollout switch, you can use a multi meter is to test for conductivity. If not, the valve assembly needs replacement.

Defective Pressure Switch

A defective pressure switch may not be able to close. Access to proper airflow will cause the pressure switch to close. Again, you should use a multi meter to test. Make sure that the switch has a connection to the furnace and the draft inducer motor is running.

Wire Craft can come out to inspect your furnace and get it running. Call us at 206.855.5061 today!