Your furnace’s reset button ensures that you can rapidly turn off the system whenever you need to do so. But it can be really frustrating if the reset button keeps tripping when you don’t want it to.
If your furnace keeps tripping the reset button, it’s probably because it’s overheating. This indicates a need for repairs. But your problem could also be coming from some issues that are possible to fix on your own.
Keep reading to get a closer look at all the reasons why a furnace reset button might trip. We’ll also give you step-by-step instructions for solving this problem.
The function of a furnace reset button
A furnace reset button is an important safety feature. It shuts down the heater quickly whenever it gets dangerously hot. This saves the overheating furnace from tripping your circuit breakers.
The furnace reset button is usually located in the system’s blower compartment. It’s often a red or yellow color, which makes it easier to see.
Why your reset button keeps popping up
Your heater’s reset button shouldn’t keep popping up. If it is, then you’re probably experiencing some type of system malfunction.
Here’s what can cause the reset switch to trip
There are a number of things that can cause a furnace reset button to trip, including each of the following.
- Overheating: Overheating often occurs when a furnace isn’t able to get as much airflow as it needs. You may be able to fix the problem by cleaning your air filters and making sure enough vents are open.
- Blocked or closed gas valves: You may also have a problem with blocked or closed gas valves. These need to stay open in order for your heater to receive proper airflow.
- Dirty flame sensor: Your flame sensor needs to work properly for the heater to stay on. Sometimes it gets obstructed or dirty. And if that happens, you may need to clean it to fix your problem.
- Fuel loss: Gas and oil heaters use fuel to run. When they don’t have enough fuel to keep working, they may trip the reset switch.
- Dirty air filter: Dirty air filters can also cause a furnace to stop working correctly. That’s why it’s important to change or clean them at least once a quarter.
How to stop your heater from tripping the reset switch
There are lots of steps you can take to stop your heater from tripping the reset switch. But don’t try any of them until you’ve taken these safety steps:
- Turn off your gas line if you have a gas furnace
- Turn off the furnace switch (should be near the bottom of the basement stairs or in your furnace room)
- Disconnect your furnace from the breaker (it should be part of your electrical panel)
1. Check to see if your filter is dirty
Checking to see if your filter is dirty is the best first step for fixing this problem. That’s because it’s the most common cause for an overheating furnace. It’s also the easiest issue to fix.
Fixing a dirty air filter is as easy as changing your old one out for a new one. Then, give the system about 30 minutes to cool before turning it back on.
2. Hit reset
This may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes simply pressing the reset button can fix your problems. The button is designed to reset the system so that it can get back to working normally. And there’s a chance that this is all you need to do.
3. Make sure your door cover is on correctly
Sometimes it doesn’t get put back on correctly after a filter change. And that can cause a system to stop functioning the right way.
4. If you have an oil furnace, check your fuel levels
If your furnace doesn’t have enough fuel in it, then it’s not going to function properly.
That’s why this is another potential issue to look at if you’re having reset button problems. You may just need to top up the tank to get it back to normal.
In the United States, the average oil furnace uses about 2.75 gallons of oil each day from October to March. If you have a 275-gallon tank, the oil will last for about 82 days. It’s a good idea to set a reminder to fill it at least every two months during winter.
Just keep in mind, you should never allow your oil tank to get completely empty. Otherwise, you will probably need to contact a specialist to restart your system in a way that doesn’t damage it.
5. Open up some vents
Your furnace needs the right amount of airflow to work properly. And it can’t get that if too many of your vents are closed.
As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t close more than 20% of the registers. Doing this can cause the furnace to overheat. And that might exacerbate your issues.
6. Check to see if any venting is being blocked by snow or ice
Reset button issues can also occur when outdoor venting is getting blocked. If there was recent snow or ice in your area, take a look at your outdoor vents. There might be a blockage that’s causing this problem.
7. Take a look at your flame sensor
Your flame sensor rod needs to be clean to work properly. So you might need to wipe yours off if you’re having reset button problems.
You can find the flame sensor under the furnace access cover. It should look like a metal rod with white or discolored porcelain around it. You should also see a single wire attached to it.
Remove the sensor carefully. Then, see if it looks burned or dirty. If it does, you can clean it and try reinstalling it.
But if the sensor is cracked or broken, then you’ll need to replace it.
8. Check on your gas valves
Your gas valves also need to be open in order for your heater to work correctly. That’s why you may want to check yours to make sure they haven’t been accidentally closed. You may also want to examine the pilot light to make sure it’s lit.
Just keep in mind, you shouldn’t do this while the furnace is on. Make sure to turn it off and let it cool for a few minutes before attempting this. Otherwise, you could be endangering both yourself and your furnace system.
9. Check your thermostat
Your thermostat may also be the cause of your problems. Sometimes, faulty wiring can lead to a furnace tripping the reset button constantly. You may need to ask a professional to examine your thermostat to make sure this isn’t happening to you.
10. Change your thermostat’s batteries
If you have a programmable thermostat, then it probably needs batteries to work properly. When the thermostat batteries run out, it can cause problems like constant resets.
So if you haven’t changed your batteries recently, now could be the time to do so. You should be able to find instructions for that process in your owner’s manual.
11. Search the main entrance panel for blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers
It’s also possible that you’ve blown a fuse or tripped a circuit breaker. Some furnaces might have a separate power entrance. You can look for blown fuses in and around the unit.
12. Make sure the thermostat selector is set to “Heat”
If necessary, you can raise the temperature by five degrees. This will tell your furnace to turn on.
13. See if your blower fan is on
You may also have a blower fan that you can control manually on your thermostat. If you do, then it might’ve accidentally got turned on or off when it shouldn’t be. So it’s worth taking a look to make sure that this is on the setting you want it to be one.
Be safe if you smell gas
There’s a very high chance that one of the solutions covered on our list will solve your furnace reset issue. But it’s really important to practice safety while working on this problem.
If you ever start smelling gas, it’s time to let a professional take over. When you smell gas, leave the area immediately and call the gas company.