When the circuit breaker for a furnace trips, no one should move the switch back into place until a heating contractor diagnoses the issue. Doing so could cause expensive damage to the blower motor or even a fire. A technician providing furnace repair services inspects the equipment and fixes the problem.
About Dedicated Circuits
These appliances demand a lot of power for the blower motor, also called the fan motor. For this reason, a furnace is wired to a dedicated circuit. The circuit is not hooked up to outlets or any other electrical devices in the home. This kind of wiring prevents overloading that could occur by plugging in another device. Since that cannot be done, something inside the furnace is causing the electrical overload.
Tripping During Operation
The breaker might trip while the furnace is operating. Someone in the household starts feeling a bit chilly and realizes the furnace has not turned back on in a while. In these cases, the motor may be overheating due to a malfunction, or it could be something simpler.
1. Clogged Air Filter: The first thing to check is whether the air filter is exceptionally dirty. The motor is overworking while trying to push air through that accumulation of dust, hair, and other debris. This is most likely to happen on very cold days. Even if a dirty filter appears to be the problem, the homeowners should still call a contractor to inspect the equipment. Overheating may have caused damage.
2. Motor Issues: If the air filter is reasonably free of debris, the motor itself could be the problem. The device works but the blower does not send warm air out through the ducts. If annual maintenance has not been performed as recommended, cleaning or lubricating may be required. The motor also could be failing and needing replacement.
Another possible reason for the breaker tripping is a wiring issue known as a short circuit. In this case, the breaker trips as soon as the appliance turns on. A short circuit is a hot bare wire in contact with another wire. Bare wires should never be hot. A fire could break out if the furnace continued to run, which is why the electrical system shuts the equipment down. A heating repair technician has the necessary skills to fix this issue.
Calling for Service
To stay safe and prevent damage to the furnace, it's important to leave the appliance off until a technician inspects the equipment. This worker can identify what is causing the problem and resolve it. If maintenance has not been performed in a while, those services should be done now as well.