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ServiceMax Blog

Troubleshooting an Electric Furnace


We’d like to make it very clear that an untrained homeowner should never attempt DIY repairs on an electric furnace. There’s immediate risk, like electrocution, that can be fatal. And there’s delayed risk, like leaving the furnace with a wiring problem that creates a fire hazard. Every time actual repairs are required, your electric furnace needs the help of a qualified professional.

Does that mean there’s nothing you can do when you’ve got a heating system issue? No! There are definitely things you can do. The problem might not be one that requires actual repair. A bit of electric furnace troubleshooting could get your issue resolved in just a few minutes.

Step 1: The Electrical Panel

If your furnace is completely shut down and won’t come on, your first step in troubleshooting is the electrical panel. It’s possible that a circuit breaker has tripped, and the furnace isn’t receiving any power. If you see a breaker out of position, reset it. If that solves your problem, great! Keep in mind, though, that a furnace which keeps tripping the circuit breaker has an issue that does need professional repair. 

Step 2: The Thermostat

It would be a shame to wait for a highly-trained furnace technician and find out that all they needed to do was flip a switch on your thermostat. Check it yourself before deciding you need electric furnace repair in Winnetka, IL. What could be wrong with your thermostat? It might be something simple.

Accidentally bumping into the controls could be enough to switch your thermostat from heat mode to off or cool. A mischievous child or even a pet might be able to enable a vacation setting that keeps your home at a much cooler temperature, so the thermostat simply hasn’t signaled for the furnace to come on yet. With luck, your problem is as simple as turning the heat on or changing the programming.

Step 3: The Air Filter

If your furnace is coming on but shutting down again immediately, or is running in much shorter cycles than usual, it could be a problem with air circulation. This would cause components to overheat, which would trigger the limit switch to shut down the system to prevent a fire. What’s obstructing the airflow? It could be a dust-clogged air filter.

The air filter should be changed monthly all winter. During spring and fall, the air filter should be changed every three months. Reusable filters can be washed, dried, and reinstalled. Disposable filters can be thrown away and replaced with new ones. If you’re not sure how to do this, consult your owner’s manual or reach out to us.

Step 4: Professional Repair

If you’ve tried all these steps and your problem either hasn’t been resolved or has re-occurred, it’s time for professional repair. At this point, don’t delay in getting the help your furnace needs. When a problem is allowed to continue, it can cause additional damage to the system as well as driving up your energy bills, because the furnace must work harder as it attempts to get the job done. 

Whether you’ve got a question about air filters or a complex problem that requires repair, we’re ready to help you get your furnace running and your home cozy again.

Contact ServiceMax with any questions about your furnace.

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