The last thing you need right now is for your heating system to fail on you, right? If it starts making unusual noises, however, it could be a warning sign of trouble brewing.
You likely know what noises to expect from your furnace or heater when it’s operating normally—the whoosh of air through the vents, the sound of the system cycling on and off, and even ductwork fluctuating due to the temperature changes. Anything outside of these sounds is at least cause for investigation.
Below, we’ve covered some of the most common “funny” noises you might hear, and what they mean. Read on!
Have you ever turned on your thermostat, to only a moment later hear a “bang” or popping noise before the fan cycles on? This banging noise isn’t anything to take lightly. While it’s not a super serious problem on its onset, it can turn into a dangerous one if not managed properly.
The banging noise you hear is likely caused by delayed ignition due to dirty and clogged burners. Rather than starting up right away, the burners struggle to light immediately due to the dirt and grime on them, and gas builds up in the meantime.
The bang you hear is actually a mini-explosion. This can rattle the heat exchanger and cause it to crack—this is particularly true for aging furnaces. A cracked heat exchanger leads to dangerous carbon monoxide gas exposure in your home, so you should never ignore this potential safety issue.
A squealing sound from your furnace or heater might not seem like a big deal. The truth is, it’s not, as long as you care for it right away. It’s a sign that lubrication has worn down on the blower fan motor or the motor bearings. Or it may be that the fan belt is wearing out.
These are natural parts of wear and tear and will happen eventually anyway. The trick is taking care of it right away so it doesn’t lead to components breaking down and your system failing.
Do you hear something that resembles metal on metal? Then you probably are listening to metal on metal. This is, again, something that might not seem like a big deal, but what’s probably happening is that the blower fan has come loose from its mount, causing it to scrape the bearing and make that sound you hear. This slows down the fan too, which could cause your heating system to overheat and shut down too soon.
If you hear a low rumbling noise coming from the area of your furnace, it could mean that the pilot flame is too low. If you know how to, check to see that the furnace’s flame is glowing blue rather than orange or yellow. If the flame isn’t blue in color, be sure to shut off the system and call in a pro, as this can turn into a dangerous problem.