Electric furnaces are clean – but homeowners pay for that cleanliness with high utility bills. Depending on the area of the country, electric bills can rival those of gas, oil, or propane. So it is only natural to assume that an efficiently running electric furnace is a must for homeowners who are looking to keep their energy costs down.
Electric furnaces are fairly simple machines. They use heating elements to warm the air, which is then distributed through the ventilation system via a fan or blower. The heating element is made up of a metal wire that is heated by normal electrical current. The element is used to warm or heat something, much like the function of an oven or toaster. Their operation is fairly simple – either they work or they don’t.
When a heating element fails it is usually because it is broken, bend, or misshapen. When that happens, it is time to replace it. You can do some preventive maintenance with a visual inspection of your heating elements. If your inspection does not reveal any problems, you can test the element for continuity. You should know how to use an ohmmeter to test it or ask a professional heating technician to check the elements for you.
Speaking of visual inspection, you can do a quick check for any frayed or damaged wires, which can be a source for wasted electricity, too. Another way to ensure that your electric furnace is running efficiently is to replace or clean your furnace filters on a regular basis. A clogged filter can make a furnace work harder and lead to premature mechanical failure.
And obviously, if the furnace is not working it is best to check for any blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers in the main electrical panel box. If you find one, make sure you replace it with another of the correct amperage.
Lastly, check to make sure the blower motor is operating correctly. You can have perfectly working elements but if the blower can’t push the warm air through your ventilation system, then all of the steps to ensure the electricity is working are for naught. You can usually hear a noisy motor or smell one that isn’t working improperly. Check it on a regular basis and check the fan belt for any damage or slippage, too.
As you have read, an electric furnace is a very simple machine with simple working parts. Maintaining it is just as simple.