But, why does my furnace have two breakers? Circuit breakers are added as a safety feature, not just for switching on and off your furnace.
If you notice that your electric furnace has two breakers, you should know it’s not a labeling or circuit error. It’s designed that way due to power consumption and safety.
If you ever see a setup like that in your central breaker bank, chances are you have a high-powered furnace. If your furnace or HVAC system is rated for 15KWs or higher, it would require two breakers because of the immense load it applies to your electrical system.
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So Why Does a High-powered Furnace Use Two Pieces of Circuit Breaker?
As said earlier, the high power draw of these machines can be too much for one breaker to handle. So by dividing the electrical load between two circuits, you can avoid overloading your electric furnace breakers.
However, like your other appliances, this kind of setup considers many things. You don’t just install any two breakers—you need to ensure that the total amp capacity of both breakers matches your furnace’s requirement. Furthermore, since most high-rated units require a 240-volt power supply, you also need to use double-pole breakers.
A typical high-powered furnace requires an average of 80 amps loads or higher, and you can use a 60-amp and a 30-amp breaker to divide its load.
These breakers will ensure that they can provide the total of 80 amps your furnace needs without tripping. They’ll also protect your unit should a short or malfunction occur in your heating system.
Another thing to consider is the wire used to the line of your circuit. The cables needed in your installation may vary based on your unit’s requirements. A more significant electrical load requirement means you need a larger wire gauge. You also have to check your local electrical codes to see what the law requires.
Why Does My Air Handler Have Two Breakers?
Similar to a furnace, a high-rated air handler also has two circuit breakers. An air handler handles the air inside your home, which means this unit delivers cool and warm air entirely.
This air handler also looks similar to a gas furnace when it comes to its size and shape. Furthermore, this unit is also often located in a dedicated closet in the basement.
Because it has a similar function to your furnace, the air handler is not often installed together with it. So if you already have a furnace in your house, you may not need to install an air handler. An air handler unit is designed to work with heat pumps, which help manage airflow in your house.
When installing your air handler, its circuit breaker requirements are similar to most furnaces and other HVAC systems. The amp capacity and wire gauge depend on your machine’s power rating, so you must check its specifications to know what materials you need.
And since these machines also require a lot of power, they may also need two breakers on your circuit breaker panel for a safe installation.
However, the main difference between an air handler and a furnace is that air handlers can both cool and heat your house, whereas a furnace can only heat it. Air handlers are suitable for places that experience both hot summers and cold winters. In contrast, furnaces are appropriate only for locations that don’t get high average temperatures.
Knowing that your furnace, air handler, or other HVAC system has a two-circuit breaker will give you an idea of how many breakers you need to turn off when troubleshooting your furnace. That way, when you need to service, maintain, and repair your machines, you’re sure that you’ve cut off all power to them, thus allowing you to work safely.
So, do you have a follow-up question for why does my furnace have two breakers? Let me know in the comments below!
I am Edwin Jones, in charge of designing content for Galvinpower. I aspire to use my experiences in marketing to create reliable and necessary information to help our readers. It has been fun to work with Andrew and apply his incredible knowledge to our content.