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Old 11-18-2006, 10:41 AM   #1
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I'm a fairly recent graduate in the HVAC field and am going through only my second season of heating. I'm working for a property rental company and just got a no heat call. It's a Rheem Electric forced air furnace. The problem I'm having is that when I call for heat, it comes on and runs for about 2 minutes and then the 30 amp breaker for the furnace trips. I've ohmed out all 3 elements, the limit switches, the fusible links, and replaced the sequencer and still having the same problem. I've taken some amp readings and all seems okay. I was told by others that it could be grounding out somewhere, or that one of the elements is touching something( although I checked these and they were okay). Any suggestions???

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Old 11-18-2006, 01:21 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by nikko4 View Post
I'm a fairly recent graduate in the HVAC field and am going through only my second season of heating. I'm working for a property rental company and just got a no heat call. It's a Rheem Electric forced air furnace. The problem I'm having is that when I call for heat, it comes on and runs for about 2 minutes and then the 30 amp breaker for the furnace trips. I've ohmed out all 3 elements, the limit switches, the fusible links, and replaced the sequencer and still having the same problem. I've taken some amp readings and all seems okay. I was told by others that it could be grounding out somewhere, or that one of the elements is touching something( although I checked these and they were okay). Any suggestions???
well follow the startup steps. it trips the breaker 2 minutes in right? what do you hear before it trips, do the elements come on? are all 3 running at the same volt/amp readings. its gonna take alot to trip a 30 amp breaker,so i wouldnt even think to check the smaller things. id start with your main lines, check for corrosion, make sure all the legs are seated in the terminals properly.

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Old 11-18-2006, 04:30 PM   #3
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Luckily, you have an easy problem to troubleshoot since it only takes two minutes to trip the breaker. Take your amprobe readings on the branch circuit for the entire time until the breaker trips. If it does not reach 30, you may have a bad breaker. Check each phase.

More often, it is a bad connection (loose, high resistance connection) inside the furnace. Those crimp connectors get heated up and fail.
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Old 11-18-2006, 04:49 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I went back and ended up taking out the whole third element all together and now it works. The breaker isn't popping anymore, but it's missing that third element right now. I guess it is the element itself. I didn't think it was cause it ohmed out okay, but apparently it is. I'm going to re-string it and see how that does then. Thanks for your help.
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Old 11-18-2006, 06:59 PM   #5
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Nikko... forgive me, but you have not found the problem. You're troubleshooting all bass ackwards. You have a genuine overcurrent problem, apparently. You could have taken out any of the elements, and your problem would have disappeared. You need to do systematic amprobe readings of each component to find the offender. You have a connection (or connections) heating someplace. I have had to replace most of the crimp connectors in electric furnaces already (because they were burned) to get the amp draw down. You might also have a blower motor drawing unusual current. You need to do a better job than this. Your employer is paying you, after all, and you're still spinning your wheels. Just because you took out that third element doesn't mean you found your problem. You might have guessed right, but at this point, you're still only guessing. You'll have a tough row to hoe in the future if you don't start taking a more logical, systematic approach to troubleshooting. I wouldn't be so harsh if you were a DIY, but it appears you're on someone's payroll.

Ohm readings on a cold system will not always probe out a connection that becomes resistive during current flow. Only an amprobe reading will do that for you.
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:50 AM   #6
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MDschnuck.......you AREN'T very smart...are you??

First off....I restrung the new element...hooked it all back up and it's working fine now. No more blowing the breaker. So obviously...you have no idea what the situation was or how to repeir it.

Secondly....If you knew anything about the HVAC field, you'd know you can't walk into a company and start working....they all want experience and the compnay I work for are slum lords and pay like crap, so I really don't care what I do or don't do for them. They knew when they hired me, I was fresh out of school. I've done a lot for not getting any help from anyone and being fresh out of school and have done everything I've done for them. Most people can't say that.

Anyway...thanks to the smarter people that actually said it was the heating element, cause they were correct!!!
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Old 11-19-2006, 10:59 AM   #7
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I'm glad you guessed right. There was nothing in any of your posts that would have indicated any logical troubleshooting procedure that pinned down the third element as your problem. You're right.... I'm pretty dumb. Silly me. Best of luck to you. I'll go back to cooking french fries at McDonald's.
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:44 PM   #8
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Hi nikko4

I do not know mdshunk other than off of this site and the responses he's made. What he was trying to get you to do is find out where your overcurrent was coming from. If you would have taken the time to read his response you would have found the shorted element alot quicker. I have hired people straight out of tech school. The only ones I will never higher again are the ones in their twentys, They don't listen they are lazy and for the most part unreliable. So you can take this however you want, but my reccomendation to you is before you patronize someone of his or my stature in this field. Remember you just started and we have already seen more than you will ever see. Good luck for the furture, learn to listen to those who know.

Good luck
Rusty
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:17 AM   #9
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Okay...well...if you both think you'll always know more than me( even though I've basically just started in this field and you should) than why is MDShnuck saying that I still haven't fixed the problem and now Carrierman is saying that I would've found the problem sooner had I went by Shnucks instructions. One of you is saying I found the problem and fixed it and the other is saying it still isn't fixed. So....who do I believe? Sounds like both of you still aren't quite sure about the problem I had. AS far as knowing more than me...well...you should since you've been in the business for a while apparently. Most people get out of school and go to work for companies like yours if they will hire them, but I'm like a goldfish in a shark tank out there. You probably had people to call to help you out when you needed it...I don't. I've had many people want to hire me, because of basically being on my own. It takes a lot of guts to walk out of school and work for a company that noone there can help you. Not sure how it is where you live Carrierman, but here where I live....a majority of companies will NOT hire you without experience and that's all I'm doing right now...getting experience. Anyway....since you both are telling me two different things....I think I'll check elsewhere and find other professionals for better advice in the future.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:08 AM   #10
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Hi nikko4

Im not going to say much, just going to let you know some facts. Number one you had the benifit of going to school for this field, I had neither the money or the time to do so. I have had to work for everything I have, and have been doing so since I was 13 years old. I was trying to help you understand nicely how to become a good tech. I am the person that people call for HELP, I am one of the best in my area, all you have to do is learn to listen and use the information to your advantage. When you get this part of the buisness down, you will no longer have to work for slum lords, you will be desirable to the HVAC company's. Good luck for the future, remember not everyone in this feild is given golden opportunitys, some of us are self made men.

Good luck
Rusty

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