Clogged air filters, freezing refrigerant lines, dirty evaporator coils: all are examples of HVAC problems that are easy to spot if you know where
to look. But sometimes an electrical issue inside your furnace or air conditioner can present a problem that is harder to track down. Here is an
overview of four electrical problems that can affect your heating and air conditioning.
When your furnace or air conditioner trips the breaker, flipping the breaker back to the “on” position isn’t a fix. While this will get your HVAC system working again in the short term, you need to find out what caused the breaker to flip in the first place. This will keep the problem from recurring and ensure that your system isn’t creating a fire hazard in your home.
Your furnace or air conditioner will trip the breaker when it is pulling in more power than the circuit is designed to handle. This means that any usage changes or airflow blockages that place extra strain on the system can lead to a flipped breaker. Common causes of this increased strain include a clogged air filter, blocked airflow around the outdoor condenser, or a faulty thermostat.
2. Wiring Issues
The wiring in your furnace and air conditioner can experience wear and tear like the rest of the unit. If there is exposed wiring inside these appliances, it can lead to a short that shuts down the entire system. It is also possible for the vibrations caused by the blower motor running can shake wires loose from their connections. This can cause the blower to shut off or disrupt power flow to other important electrical components. Same goes for the wiring in your air conditioner, due to the vibrations generated by the compressor wiring can eventually jostle loose.
Your furnace and air conditioner experience a surge of power when they start up. This surge, as well as surges that can occur during a power outage, can create an overflow of current in your system’s wiring. This can lead to shorts and may even create a fire hazard inside the unit. If your furnace or air conditioner starts shutting off on its own after a power outage, call a technician for inspection.
3. Malfunctioning Capacitors
Your furnace and central air conditioner rely on two types of capacitors for proper function: start capacitors, and run capacitors. The start capacitors provide the jolt of energy needed to start the blower motor and run capacitors store energy to ensure that the system receives a steady supply of voltage for the entire time that it’s running.
If the start capacitor is going bad in your HVAC system, you will often notice a symptom called “hard starting.” Hard starting is when the system has trouble starting up, often stuttering as the blower motor tries to spin up. A furnace and air conditioner with a bad run capacitor may make an electrical humming noise while barely running or shut off a short time after the blower motor starts.
4. Burnt Out Blower Motor
Over time the blower motor in your furnace will experience wear that could cause it to burn out. The key is to maintain your furnace to reduce the likelihood of a burnout and extend the life of your heater. A blower motor burnout is more likely if dust buildup, bad capacitors, or other problems are causing the motor to overheat as it runs.
A blower motor that is burnt out or overheating will create a number of symptoms while your furnace or air conditioner is running. You may notice a burning smell from your vents, or your system may shut itself off frequently as a safety measure.
Electrical issues are one aspect of furnace and air conditioner repair that can be difficult to diagnose, but knowing the symptoms will help you call for repairs when your system needs it. Contact us at Bryant Air Conditioning & Heating Electrical & Plumbing Company for all of your HVAC repair needs.