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I moved into this house about 10 years ago, I noticed on the furnace that one of the breakers for the electric coils is off with a note saying "Leave breaker off". After cleaning out the blower for the first time, and the electric coils of course my curiosity got the best of me and I turned it on. After the smell of burnt dust from the sitting coil its running fine. It's been completely off for years.. can't believe I never noticed it. Why would somebody keep half of the furnace off?

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  • Maybe the furnace was oversized for the heating load or for the chosen blower fan speed. What is the temperature of the air emerging from the vents with the breaker on? Many of these units have multiple fans speeds available and they use a higher speed in the cooling season (or when fan only is selected) and a lower speed in the heating season. Maybe the previous owner found that the air coming out of the vent was hotter than they wanted. It could be that they had closed the vents delivering air to a little used room or rooms and this made shutting off one coil possible. – Jim Stewart Feb 16 at 16:03
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    Does your electric utility charge a peak demand factor? It’s not common with residential accounts, but it could exist. With non-demand based electric the formula is usage times rate. When there is a peak demand factor they also add a charge for peak demand at any point during the billing cycle, that is a surcharge based the maximum usage at a single point in time. If the furnace can keep up on one set of coils, disabling the second set would save money if there is a peak demand factor being applied to the billing. – Tyson Feb 16 at 17:55
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If it's been working fine with it off, I'd leave it off. That way you always have a backup. 2 60 amp double pole breakers, that's a lot of juice. The incoming wire may be two small. Or if your house is a 100 amp service it could trip your main breaker.

How cheap is electricity where you live? I'd freeze before I ran that thing here in Toronto.

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