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Thread: Intermittent heat problem with Rheem electric furnace

  1. #1

    Default Intermittent heat problem with Rheem electric furnace

    I'm having an intermittent problem with my 7 year old Rheem electric (forced air) furnace. About 2-3 random times a week the furnace will fail to turn on despite the room temperature being below the thermostat set value. To get it to function normally I turn the furnace off (at the thermostat), wait a few seconds, and turn it back on. The furnace will then return to normal function from anywhere from 12 to 72 hours when it'll happen again.

    Other interesting notes. When the furnace is 'malfunctioning' I have seen the heating coils on, but not the fan (this obviously should never happen). My immediate thought was that the blower motor was going bad. The problem with this theory is that the blower always comes on when I turn the fan on at the thermostat. So it appears to me that the thermostat is either not sending the command to turn the blower on (but is telling it to turn the heating elements) or that the furnace is unable to always get the motor going. The thermostat is a digital White-Rodgers so it seems unlikely that it would work intermittently.

    Oh and I did replace the motor start capacitor because it was cheap and easy. It didn't fix the problem.

    I am stumped. Anyone have a clue here?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Redlands, California
    Posts
    789

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    You should have a pressure switch that needs to close before it allows the heater to come on. As far as the fan, It could be a failure of part of the control board. I would turn your fan in the on position and let it just run a couple days. If you heater still locks out, the issue is not your fan.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the advice. I'm not sure that this furnace has a control board. In addition to checking the pressure switch, could this also be cause by a bad fan or heat sequencer?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Redlands, California
    Posts
    789

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    Well, electric heaters are very basic. You have a call for heat from the t-stat, the fan turns on, once the static pressure has overcome the pressure switch, your heat strip comes on. Do you have a schematic that you can take a picture of so I can see what you have?

    As far as a bad fan, you could have a winding that is slowly failing. If it doesn't get up to speed right away, you could be over amping the motor and causing it to go out on the motor internal overloads. One quick way to tell is if that fan is not running when it should be, place your hand on the outside of the motor. If it's hot, it means it has tripped the internal overloads and will not start again until the motor temp comes down and allows the overloads to close.

    You heat sequencer question is something I can't answer unless I see a schematic of the unit. Do you have a model number of the unit? Maybe I can find something online.

  5. #5

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    Again, thanks for the reply. The model number is RBHA-17J14SUAA. The more I think about it the more I think it's got to be the fan relay going bad. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the outdoor temps are finally getting warmer and the furnace won't really be needed until fall. The good news is that I will be able to test my theory about the fan motor and relay vs the heat sequencer. The fan is used during AC operation, but the heat sequencers are not. That should at least eliminate or point at the heat sequencers as the problem.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Redlands, California
    Posts
    789

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    I couldn't find a schematic, but I did find a recall on your unit. You'll need to check the date code on it. If your inside that date, they should come out and fix your unit at no cost. Here is the link.

    http://www.rheemac.com/main_safety_notices.shtml

  7. #7

    Default Intermittent heat problem with Rheem electric Furnace

    I too have a Rheem RBHA-17J14Suaa which is now 8 years old. My problem began three months before the warranty ended. The dealer came out a few times and charged me over $400 without fixing the problem.

    I have been trying to heat a 1900 sq foot house for days at a time with oil heaters.

    I could not find a date code on the furnace. Can you tell me where to find it?

    Also has anyone resolved their issue? How?

    Nancy Merrill

  8. #8

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    the date code for a rheem is in the serial number


    Ser# CN3D104 F4683 9228


    the 4683 means the unit was built on the 46 week of 1983

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