Safety And Troubleshooting For Electrical Furnaces

30 September 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

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Electric furnaces allow a warm, glowing heat source for homes looking for a more rustic appeal, but there's a level of technology that can create some interesting problems. Although the wiring for furnace units are covered in heat shielding, there are times when manufacturing error or normal wear and tear can expose the wiring or create heat leaks in certain part of the furnace. If your electric furnace is losing heat or powering off randomly, take the time to understand a few inspection and troubleshooting points.

How Can Wiring Be In Danger?

In normal conditions, wiring is in no danger of being melted. Electricity is a source of heat that dwarfs the heat generation of many furnace temperatures unless you bring direct flame exposure into the equation. Unfortunately, direct exposure is exactly what happens in some cases.

The wiring systems for electric furnaces are usually located on a separate wall panel or in a part of the furnace divided by multiple layers of metal. The temperature may be elevated, but it isn't anything that can melt a heat-resistant copper wire or its coating.

There are times where the protections for the wire could be incorrectly designed by the manufacturer. The furnace may work in most observable ways, but it allows open air to contact the furnace and the wiring. If you're wondering why it took so long for a problem to occur, keep in mind that such exposure isn't the end of the world.

Fire needs a path to travel, and the metal of your furnace isn't exactly fuel. For the fire to travel to a wiring compartment, there needs to be debris or some sort of fuel reaching from the furnace's flames to the wiring area. Unless liquid fuel is poured in, that condition won't be met until dust or other small, burnable debris makes it in.

Cleaning can be performed by turning off the furnace and making sure the heat has mostly faded away. A can of compressed air can be used to spray out some areas if the opening is small, but larger openings can be cleaned with a wet/dry vac.

Cleaning, Sealing And Repair

If you notice an electrical issue with the furnace, troubleshoot everything before the furnace first. Make sure that the house wiring is in good working order, and make sure that any switches needed to light the furnace are working. This may require an electrician, as wire testing in the walls is an involved process.

If the house wiring is fine, you'll need to check the wiring of the furnace. Burned wires may lose some color, but you may be able to clean off the wire to find the original color. This matters because it's easier to purchase new heat-resistant wire while following the color codes so that you won't have to figure out which contacts need to be connected. 

For more information, contact Thompson Heating & Air Conditioning Inc or a similar company.