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Why Does My Furnace Trip My Circuit Breaker?

Posted: March 4, 2019

Circuit breaker switches

From time to time, you may notice that your furnace trips your circuit breaker.

More often than not, this is caused by a temporary condition such as a power surge; the circuit breaker is doing its job by limiting the current that flows through your home’s electrical system. If you reset the breaker and it doesn’t trip again, your equipment is probably fine.

But what if the furnace trips your circuit regularly? If that’s the case, you probably have one of these four possible problems:

  1. An overworked furnace – A furnace that’s working too hard draws more electrical current than it would under normal conditions; if your furnace turns on and works for a while before tripping the breaker, it is probably overworking.

    Several factors can cause your furnace to overwork, including a dirty air filter, closed or blocked air vents, restricted ductwork, or a malfunctioning part. Check and change your air filter, free blocked air vents, and inspect visible ductwork for obvious kinks and blockages; if doing all this does not stop your circuit breaker problem, contact us.

  2. An overloaded circuit – A furnace should be on its own circuit, but sometimes – especially in older homes here in Massachusetts – this is not the case. Running your furnace and another appliance on the same circuit can easily overload it; try removing the other appliance from the circuit and see if the problem stops.
  3. A short circuit or ground fault inside your furnace – A furnace that starts up but immediately trips the breaker could be experiencing an electrical short circuit or a ground fault inside of the equipment itself (both are caused by a live wire that is exposed somewhere in your equipment). Both problems increase the amount of electrical current drawn by your furnace, which trips the breaker. Fixing a short circuit or ground fault is a job for a heating repair professional.
  4. A faulty circuit breaker or panel – A fourth possibility is that the problem could be with the circuit breaker or electrical panel itself. Consult a professional electrician to make sure repairs are made and managed safely and correctly.

As with any heating equipment problem, your best bet once you have tried all your basic troubleshooting techniques is to call in the pros at Pioneer. We will get to the bottom of the issue and restore your heating system quickly so you can get back to enjoying your warm, cozy Massachusetts home.

Got furnace problems? Our heating pros can help. Contact Pioneer Oil and Propane today to learn more, or to schedule a service call for your heating system.