How to Repair Electric Furnaces
How to Repair Electric Furnaces

Although an electric heating system does have advantages, its operating cost generally makes it less desirable than any of the other furnace systems available today. The high cost means that minimizing heat loss caused by improperly installed ducts or inadequate insulation is even more important than with other types of systems.

For maximum energy efficiency, have a professional service person clean and adjust your electric furnace every year before the beginning of the heating season. Do not attempt any repairs to the heating elements, electrical connections, relays, transformers, or similar components of an electric furnace; repairs to these components must be made by a professional service person.

The controls of an electric furnace may be mounted on the surface of the housing or installed behind an access panel on the front of the furnace. The access panel may be slip-fit on hooks fastened to the furnace housing with a series of sheet-metal screws. To remove the access panel to the blower, filter, and blower motor, slip the panel up off hooks or remove a series of sheet-metal screws.

Before you begin working on your furnace, try to determine exactly what the problem is. Look for your problem, and possible solution, on the handy chart on the next page.

Troubleshooting Electric Furnaces and Electric Heaters
Although major problems will require professional help, there are many quick-fix jobs that a homeowner can do to get his or her electric furnace operating properly again. Use this chart if your furnance is not working properly.


Problem Possible cause Solution
Furnace won't run

1. No power.

1. Check for blown fuses or tripped
circuit breakers at main entrance
panel, at separate entrance panel,
and on or in furnace; restore circuit.

2. Switch off.
2. Turn on separate power switch
on or near furnace.

3. Motor overload.
3. Wait 30 minutes; press reset
button. Repeat if necessary.
Not enough heat

1. Thermostat set
too low. 1. Raise thermostat setting 5°.

2. Filter dirty. 2. Clean or replace filter.

3. Blower clogged. 3. Clean blower assembly.

4. Registers closed
or blocked.
4. Make sure all registers are open;
make sure they are not blocked
by rugs, drapes, or furniture.

5. System out of
balance. 5. Balance system.

6. Blower belt loose
or broken. 6. Adjust or replace belt.

7. Element faulty. 7. Call a professional.
Furnace turns
on and off
repeatedly 1. Filter dirty.
2. Motor and/or
blower needs
1. Clean or replace filter.
2. If motor and blower have oil
ports, lubricate.


3. Blower clogged. 3. Clean blower assembly.
Blower won't
stop running 1. Blower control
set wrong. 1. Reset thermostat from ON
to AUTO.

2. Relays faulty. 2. Call a professional.
Furnace noisy
1. Access panels
1. Mount and fasten access
panels correctly.

2. Belts sticking, worn,
or damaged.
2. Spray squeaking belts with
fan belt dressing; replace worn
or damaged belts.

3. Blower belt too
loose or too tight. 3. Adjust belt.

4. Motor and/or blower
needs lubrication. 4. If motor and blower have oil
ports, lubricate.

Many electric furnaces are fused separately from the rest of the home. Learn where to find the fuses for the electric furnace on the next page.

For more articles on home repair, check out the following links.

Furnace Maintenance: Save yourself time and money by learning the steps to keep youor furnace in prime condition.
Major Appliance Repair: If the furnace isn't the only thing in your house on the fritz, you can learn how to fix other machines in this article.
Small Appliance Repair: Once you've tackled the furnace, a toaster or blender seems like child's play. Find out how to fix them here.
Thermostat Maintenance: To make sure there's actually a problem with your heating system, you may want to check the thermostat, too. Learn how to calibrate a thermostat.

Electric furnaces are fused at a building's main electrical service entrance. Many electric furnaces are on separate circuits, sometimes located in a separate fuse box away from the main panel. The heating elements of the furnace are also fused, and these fuses are located on a panel that is on or inside the furnace housing.

If changing the fuses or resetting the breakers does not restore power to the furnace, call a professional service person. Do not attempt to repair heating elements, the transformer, heating relays, or power relays. Repairs to these components must be made by a professional service person.

Now that you know how to work on your electric furnance, you'll be able to do some jobs yourself. Use the tips in this article to stay warm.

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