HVAC Repair Tips


Electric furnaces are not as common as gas furnaces, but in places where natural gas and oil access is limited, these furnaces are employed. An electric furnace not turning on can be a serious problem. So, you will want to know the reason behind the clicking sound the furnace is making and still not turning on. There are various causes of it so you should consult furnace repair services who can spot the problem quickly. Without further ado, let’s know the major causes of this issue.

This Is Why Your Electric Furnace Is Clicking But Not Heating

Limit Switch Problems

A thermostat is not the only component that signals the electric furnace in one way or the other. There is a limit switch inside furnaces that detects the temperature of the air inside the furnace and the temperature of the heat exchanger. When it becomes too hot, it signals the furnace to turn off the heating element. So, it protects a furnace from overheating. This overheating can crack the heat exchangers which is dangerous.

A limit switch also controls the blower fan and tells it when to turn on and off. Its signal is based on the heating of the heat exchanger. When the heat exchanger is hot, the blower fan must be turned on.

However, if the limit switch is faulty, it can stop the heating element from working leading to a clicking sound, but no response from the furnace regarding heat generation.

You can check the limit switch using a multimeter. Turn off the furnace and wait for 10 minutes. Locate the limit switch. Take a multimeter and set it to ohms. Connect each terminal of the multimeter to each end of the limit switch. If there is a lack of continuity, the limit switch is faulty.

There are limit switches of various settings and style limits. You should only get the one whose setting and style limit are identical to your existing limit switch.

Some other problems can trip the limit switch like closing most of the registers in your home or a clogged air filter.

Clogged Air Filter

An air filter keeps the air clean and blocks contaminants. They become dirty and need to be cleaned monthly in winter. When the furnace filter becomes clogged with dust and contaminants and is not cleaned or replaced, it will restrict the airflow.

This restriction in airflow can cause overheating of the furnace so the limit switch can signal the furnace to turn off. So, you may hear a clicking sound but the furnace doesn’t turn on.

Therefore, clean your furnace filter once a month if it’s washable. If you have a disposable filter, replace it every time it becomes clogged. It can be within a month.

Blower Assembly Issues

The blower assembly of an electric furnace consists of a blower motor and a blower fan. It enables the furnace to distribute warm air produced to the house through air ducts.

The blower fan itself is a simple component. It will only stop if anything is obstructing it. However, if the blower motor that gives the fan power malfunctions, the fan can’t run. So, the main thing in the blower assembly is the blower motor.

If the blower motor doesn’t run for any reason, you won’t feel warm air blowing out of the vents. This can happen due to various reasons like age. A blower motor older than 15 years should be replaced if showing problems. Apart from age, other factors like overheating, manufacturing errors, excessive moisture, and dust/dirt buildup on the motor can damage the motor and it may malfunction sooner than 15 years.

An easy way to determine if the blower motor is faulty is by checking the vents. No airflow means the blower fan is not working. It can be due to many reasons, but one is a broken blower motor. Couple this finding with other signs like loud noises coming from the furnace, a burning smell from the furnace, and high energy bills.

Electrical Problems

If your electric furnace clicks, but doesn’t turn on, inconsistent electricity may be causing it. This can happen due to wiring issues, so check the internal wiring and power cord of the furnace after turning off the furnace because it’s a dangerous task.

An electrical problem doesn’t need to be visible like a burnt or damaged wire. So, consult an expert who can properly and carefully inspect the furnace.

The one thing you can check is the circuit breaker. Electrical problems can cause the circuit breaker to trip. So, if the circuit breaker is tripped, turn it on once. If it trips again, don’t flip it on again and call in a professional. But if there is a burning smell, don’t even turn it on once.

Heating Element

Electric furnaces have a heating element. It performs the same job which is performed by burners in gas furnaces. Wiring problems can lead to insufficient power for the heating element to work and heat the heat exchanger.

Another issue that can affect the heating element is corrosion. It works slowly, but after years, it can cause it to burn out. Moreover, setting your thermostat at too high temperatures regularly can also put a strain on the heating element and it will burn out sooner.

You can visually check the heating element for cracks or breaks. Additionally, use a multimeter to test it for continuity. This will reveal the condition of the heating element.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

It’s the component that detects the temperature of the home and tells your furnace when to turn on for heating the home and when to turn off. So, any problem with the thermostat can cause your electric furnace to stop heating your home like calibration issues and a broken thermostat. You can try these things to fix your thermoset if it’s not completely broken.

Thermostat Settings

You will need to inspect your thermostat to know which problem is causing it to not work properly. Firstly, you should check the settings and make sure it’s on the “heat” mode. Then, check the temperature. It must be above the current room temperature.

Resetting The Thermostat

If there was a power outage or something similar, you should reset the thermostat and see if it signals the furnace to turn on. There are different methods of resetting a thermostat depending on its model so check the user manual of the thermostat or the HVAC system to learn how to reset it.

Battery Replacement

Drained batteries won’t power up the thermostat and it won’t properly signal the furnace to heat the home. When the batteries are almost drained, the thermostat may behave inconsistently and this may be the cause of your furnace clicking but not turning on. Simply replace the batteries.

Clean The Thermostat

Typically, thermostats are ignored during cleaning. This allows dust buildup on the thermostat. When enough dust is layered upon the thermostat, it can disrupt its temperature-sensing functionality. This impacts the furnace. So, clean the thermostat regularly.

Calibrate It

Thermostats can become uncalibrated where they can’t detect the temperature correctly. You should have your thermostat recalibrated annually during annual maintenance to prevent this problem.


An electric furnace can click but not heat due to several reasons. Many of them are mentioned above. When checking your electric furnace, make sure to turn it off first to avoid any accidents. However, the best thing for your furnace would be an inspection by an HVAC repair service Falls Church. An expert will thoroughly check the furnace and carry out repairs accordingly.


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