Understanding And Troubleshooting Electric Forced-Air Heaters For New Homeowners

Posted on: 9 December 2018


As a new homeowner, you have a lot to learn about the various systems working behind the scenes to keep your family comfortable and safe. In addition to learning about plumbing and electrical systems, you must also have a basic understanding of the HVAC system.

Though an electric forced-air furnace looks like a scary mystery to many new homeowners, they really are fairly simple appliances. Even though you may not want to tackle working on your own furnace when it has issues, having some basic knowledge about its parts and how they work is advisable. Armed with this knowledge, you can sometimes fix basic problems yourself and you can speak with HVAC repair technicians with more knowledge. This helps you to be an informed consumer and make better decisions about future repairs.

The Wall Thermostat Manages the HVAC System

The wall thermostat is used to safely start and stop the HVAC system. Thermostats often run on batteries that require regular changing. If the thermostat isn't working, you should try changing the batteries.

The Power Source for the HVAC System

Your home's furnace doesn't use a plug in an electrical outlet to obtain its power. Instead, it is hard-wired to a breaker inside of the main power panel. 

If the wall thermostat appears to be working, but the HVAC system makes no noises or effort to start, check the breaker to make sure the system has power. 

The Other Parts of the Forced-Air Furnace 

All electric forced-air furnaces have the same basic parts:

  • a contactor/sequencer

  • a blower

  • a blower motor

  • heating elements

  • heat exchanger

When you use the wall thermostat to turn on the furnace, it sends an electrical signal to the contactor/sequencer to turn on the heat exchanger and blower motor. The blower motor comes on and the blower sucks in air from near the unit. The cold air passes over the heating elements inside of the heat exchanger. Once hot, the air is then blown with the blower through the duct system and out through the room registers. 

Contact a Licensed HVAC Contractor if You Notice Something Isn't Working as Expected

Hopefully, you are now better informed about your new home's electric forced-air heating system, it's main parts, and how to perform some very basic troubleshooting. If you notice something isn't working correctly or hear a new noise coming from the furnace that requires professional heating services, contact a licensed HVAC contractor in your area for assistance.