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Learn About Your Electric Furnace: The Sequencer

electric-wiring-furanceWhen it comes to supplying a home with heat during the winter, the gas furnace is the most common option. In fact, more than 64 million homes around the country use natural gas power to stay warm. However, not every home has this choice. If you live in a house without a connection to a natural gas pipeline, you’ll need to rely on electricity to supply your heating. In most cases, this means using an electric furnace.

Electric furnaces do have a number of advantages, however. One of the key ones is the lower amount of repairs they tend to need compared to natural gas furnaces. This is because electric furnaces have a simpler operation that doesn’t wear them down as fast. But electric furnaces still aren’t simple. In this post, we’re going to look at a critical component that allows an electric furnace to work accurately: the sequencer.

What the Sequencer Does

To understand what purpose the sequencer serves in a furnace, you first have to know the basics of how an electric furnace generates heat for a home. The interior of the furnace contains a series of heating elements, which house electric coils. As electricity moves through the coils, the coils heat up. This is called electrical resistance heating, and it’s the same principle as used in a toaster or an electric oven. Air passes through the furnace and picks up the heat from the heating elements, then goes into the ventilation system to the rest of the house.

An electric furnace uses multiple heating elements, but they can’t all turn on at the same time. If they did, the electrical demand on the circuit would cause a circuit breaker to trip. Therefore, the sequencer staggers how the elements turn on so the furnace can supply the heat it needs to without causing a circuitry overload.

How the Sequencer Works

The sequencer is positioned between the heating elements and the thermostat. The thermostat sends a current through the sequencer first whenever it makes a request for heating. Inside the sequencer is a series of circuits that react to heat: they won’t allow electricity to pass through them until a certain amount of heat radiates from them. The voltage will route to the first heating element until the heat reactive circuit opens and allows the voltage to move to the next heating element. The elements turn on gradually (while others turn off) and prevent a circuit overload.

If your furnace starts to trip a circuit breaker when it attempts to come on, you may have a broken sequencer. A broken sequencer can also prevent any of the heating elements from turning on, leaving you with no heat at all. Call for HVAC technicians to investigate this problem: only they are qualified to handle repairs or replacements for a sequencer.

For the best home heating in Apex, NC or elsewhere in the Triangle Area, you can trust to our service professionals. We install and work with both natural gas and electric furnaces in addition to other great options for comfort.

Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. services the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

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