Why Your Furnace Keeps Tripping The Circuit Breaker

If you’re trying to start your furnace to warm up your home for the winter, but it trips every time you try to turn it on, it can get annoying, to say the least. 

In our years in the air care business, we’ve seen this issue numerous times with our clients, so we’re creating a quick guide to help you keep your furnace running like it should. 

Spoiler alert — fixing your system usually just requires a bit of know-how and elbow grease. Join us as we shed some light on this common household hiccup, and read below how you can keep your Arizona home warm in the winter. 

Why is my breaker tripping? 

If you’re noticing that your furnace breaker is continuously tripping, you may be wondering why. Here’s a list of common reasons that could cause the breaker to trip up. 

Reason #1 – An overworked furnace

When a furnace strains to circulate the air properly, it can suddenly draw more electrical energy that can trip your circuit breaker as a safety measure. 

If you’re noticing higher utility bills and less heating, your furnace is not a happy camper and is likely calling for help. Here are some of the potential driving forces behind an overloaded heating unit:

  • Dirty Air Filters: A clogged filter seems simple, but it can actually cause several furnace issues. It restricts airflow, making your furnace work overtime. Just like a clog in your pipes and plumbing system, it’s easy to overlook. Change your filters regularly to ensure you and your system can breathe easy.
  • Closed or Blocked Return Vents: Vents that are closed or blocked by furniture can increase the pressure inside your ducts. Periodically check to ensure all vents (kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.) are open and unobstructed.
  • Restricted Airflow in Ductwork: Your ductwork deposits air to each room of your house. Twisted ductwork or blockages like pests can hinder air in its journey around your home. Inspect your ductwork or, better yet, call a professional to take a look.
  • Malfunctioning Internal Component: A faulty valve or heating element could be the final straw for an already burdened system. If you hear unusual noises or sense your furnace struggling, get a professional inspection.

These issues don’t necessarily mean your furnace has run its course. To prevent damage, give us a call at the first sign of trouble. Our team at River Valley Air Conditioning can help restore comfort to you and your system.  

Reason #2 – Overloaded circuit 

An overloaded circuit is when the electrical load exceeds the circuit’s capacity, leading to a trip in the breaker. Just as plugging in too many devices at once can overwhelm a single outlet, an overloaded circuit can’t handle the demand, causing a security measure that interrupts the circuit.

It’s like when the dinner table has too many dishes – if there’s not enough room, plates and food must be removed and shifted to another table to make it manageable. In circuits, the trip occurs to prevent overheating and potential hazards. 

Flames are only welcome around a campfire, not on your circuit panel. Ignoring circuit issues could lead to an explosion or fire in your home. 

Your circuit can be overwhelmed for several reasons:

  • Too many heavy appliances camping out on one circuit 
  • Your electrical system is outdated or too small for your newer units 

Fixing or preventing an overloaded circuit can be as straightforward as redistributing your appliances across different circuits, or it may require a professional upgrade of your electrical system. In any case, it’s always best to consult a professional for your electrical needs.

Reason #3 – Short-circuiting or a wiring issue in your furnace

When your furnace starts acting a little rebellious, it could be due to a short circuit or electrical issue in the unit itself. This isn’t usually something to take lightly. 

The electrical components are crucial, but easy to overlook when everything is running smoothly. However, if wires become frayed or connections loosen, it can result in a short circuit — a direct hit to your circuit breaker that prompts an immediate shutdown as a safety precaution.

A short circuit signifies a path of least resistance has been created where electricity can unintentionally flow, causing more power to surge through the system than it can handle.

Reason #4 – The problem is at the breaker 

Sometimes, the culprit behind a tripping breaker is the circuit breaker itself. A circuit breaker’s job is twofold — it regulates the flow of electricity to an area, such as a home’s heating system, and it protects the wiring from becoming overloaded. 

Over time, age and typical wear and tear can weaken a circuit breaker, impeding its ability to function and receive communications effectively. It may become overly sensitive and prone to tripping which can disconnect the electricity flow even under normal conditions.

  • Circuit Breaker Fatigue: Circuit breakers can suffer from fatigue like any other system. (We all want a vacation at some point!) This deterioration can result in a breaker that trips incessantly, failing to stay in the “on” position.
  • Heating System Load: During colder months, your heater works overtime, potentially putting extra strain on the breaker. To add more fuel to that issue, if the breaker connected to the system is old or damaged, the regular heating cycle may cause trips.

If your breaker is being troublesome, let our experts help restore the balance and warmth to your home. They will inspect and troubleshoot the tripping issue for you.  

Importance of regular maintenance

Maintenance is a vital part of a healthy system. By keeping your unit in order, you can prevent things that could cause issues in the future and avoid sending your money down the drain on repairs. 

It’s like servicing our gas or diesel vehicles to prevent future breakdowns. Consistent maintenance and regular checks by professionals can ensure that small problems don’t escalate. Things like cleaning filters, checking wiring, and testing the thermostat can prevent electrical mishaps. 

Maintaining your system can also increase the overall market value of your property. Buyers want to be confident that they’re purchasing a comfortable home. By keeping your HVAC unit in good shape, you can increase your asking price if and when you plan to sell. 

When to call a professional

While homeowners can perform basic upkeep, such as filter replacement, we recommend leaving more complex tasks to a professional electrician or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician. 

Experts, like our team at River Valley, have the tools and knowledge to conduct thorough inspections and repairs, guaranteeing that the system operates both safely and efficiently.

For furnace repair and troubleshooting help, call River Valley.  

Safeguarding the warmth and safety of your home through regular maintenance is not just a convenience — it’s a necessity. With half a century of experience, River Valley Air Conditioning stands as a testament to expertise and trustworthiness in caring for your heating systems. 

Our services are accessible, affordable and reliable – when you choose us, you’ve struck gold. Don’t leave your comfort to chance; trust our legacy of excellence to ensure your furnace operates smoothly, season after season.