It’s, of course, something you never want to happen, but sometimes it is just inevitable. Your furnace breaks down with no warning. It goes from seemingly performing great all day and night to either stopping or not turning on at all. Of course, the risk of this occurring is less if you invested in heater maintenance this fall. But even with this service, the need for heating repair in Fairfax, VA may come up.
And usually, the first sign that this is the case is strange or loud noises coming from your furnace. It might be accompanied by unusual heating performance, but not always. Sometimes the strange noise is literally the first indication something is amiss. But what causes those noises? We’ll get into that below, along with why you don’t want to hear them and what they may mean. First, we do want to stress how important it is to call a pro for this service, both for repair effectiveness and your safety. We are sharing this information with you below so you’ll be better informed and will know what to expect when a pro enters your home to do a heating inspection.
What Does Banging Mean?
If you turn on your thermostat, and after a minute or two hear what resembles a popping or banging noise before the fan actually turns on, we can tell you with a good degree of certainty what is happening. No, your furnace very likely isn’t about to explode! But this noise does indicate a very small explosion happening within it.
This is due to a delay in ignition. Instead of starting up right away like they are supposed to, dirt buildup on the burners causes them to struggle to ignite, as they have to burn through the grime to do so. This small explosion doesn’t threaten your safety, but it does threaten your heat exchanger, which can become cracked and then leak harmful carbon monoxide into your home.
Well, it’s probably not an animal within your furnace. While you may see stories on the news of this occurring, it’s not that common (though we’ll never dismiss that as a possibility). What’s probably happening, more likely, is that a blower fan motor or another internal component needs lubrication.
It might even be that the fan belt has worn down or is misaligned—but whatever the case, you don’t want to let it go on too long. The fan could stop working when you need it the most, right in the middle of winter.
How About Scraping?
If you hear what you think is metal scraping against metal, you’re probably right. This is something that could seem minor at first. Eventually, though, it will probably be accompanied by lower heating power coming out of the vents.
This is most likely a sign that your blower fan has come loose from the mount, and this problem is causing the fan to scrape against the bearings. The fan then slows down as result, and this can cause the furnace to overheat until it shuts down for safety reasons.
Lastly, Let’s Talk About Rumbling
We may sound like a broken record, but—don’t ignore this! However subtle a rumbling sound may seem, if you hear it coming from a gas-powered system, it means the pilot light is too low or is burning something other than natural gas (like excess air, rust, oil, dirt, or grime). This is not just a concern for the operation of your furnace but for the safety of your household.