Furnace Tripped the Circuit Breaker Again? Check For These Causes

One of the most frustrating issues to deal with is a furnace that trips the circuit breaker every time you attempt to use it. It's an uncommon issue, but also one that demands your attention when it happens. A constantly tripped circuit breaker may be your furnace's way of warning you of an impending issue.

The following highlights a few reasons your furnace could trip the circuit breaker, along with a few remedies for each situation.

Furnace Restrictions

Your furnace works hard, but there are times when it can work too hard for its own good. The electrical circuits on an overworked furnace will eventually become overloaded, tripping the circuit breaker in a last-ditch effort to protect itself against further damage.

If you're wondering what could make your furnace work itself into tripping its circuit breaker, consider the following culprits:

  • A dirty air filter that blocks airflow to the furnace, causing the blower to work harder to push air through
  • Blocked off air registers or return air vents that restrict airflow and add stress to the unit
  • Duct leaks that cause the furnace to work harder to compensate for the lost heat
  • Dust and dirt buildup leading to blockages throughout the furnace

Most of these issues can be resolved through regularly scheduled maintenance from a heating repair service. Minor maintenance issues including air filter replacements can be handled on a seasonal basis.

Faulty Blower Motor

Your furnace can also trip the circuit breaker due to issues with the blower motor. A faulty blower motor can develop a number of issues during its failure, including electrical problems that eventually lead to a tripped circuit breaker. Worn wiring within the blower motor can lead to arcing and shorting, causing the circuit breaker to trip.

If you're dealing with a faulty blower motor, it's best to have your HVAC technician perform an in-depth inspection to pinpoint the cause and make the appropriate repairs.

Short Circuits and Ground Faults

Circuit breaker trips can also be caused by a furnace with a faulty ground wire or a short circuit. Here's a quick way to distinguish between the two:

  • Short circuits can happen when the bare hot wire comes into contact with the neutral wire
  • Ground faults can happen when the hot wire comes into contact with a ground wire or a grounded surface

Both issues immediately increase the amount of electrical current your furnace pulls, exceeding the safe limits of your furnace's circuit and, in turn, tripping the circuit breaker.

Dealing with short circuits and ground faults within your furnace can pose a number of safety hazards. You're better off having your HVAC technician inspect and diagnose any short circuits or ground faults your furnace experiences.