Now that the cold weather has descended on us, it’s important to be able to stay warm and comfortable when inside your home. A huge part of this is having a heating system that’s working properly and efficiently. With this in mind, if your furnace has suddenly started making strange noises, it’s understandably going to be very concerning. There are several different kinds of sounds a heating system can start making, and each of them has different possible causes and solutions. The average homeowner isn’t trained to identify and diagnose these various furnace sounds, but here we’ve put together some helpful context for each one that you may encounter.
1. Banging Noise
One of the most common furnace sounds is a loud banging or booming sound, which can be very unnerving to hear coming from your heating system. Usually, this type of noise is associated with gas buildup happening inside the appliance. Buildup can happen in the combustion chamber of the furnace when the unit’s gas burners aren’t igniting on time. Oftentimes, this is a result of the burners themselves being dirty, causing a delay in the ignition process. If left unchecked, these gas buildups can result in the furnace’s heat exchanger cracking, which will require a costly repair job to remedy. This is not an issue you want to attempt to take care of on your own, as it requires a trained professional.
2. Screeching Noise
If your furnace is making a screeching or squealing noise, it’s not typically indicative of a serious problem but still something that should be looked into. In most cases, this type of noise will be caused by something like a damaged belt, a loose screw, or bearings that simply need to be lubricated. It may also be a malfunction with the blower motor. With the proper tools and expertise, these are all problems that should be a relatively minor repair job for a trained heating technician.
3. Rattling Noise
Rattling noises coming from your heating system are certainly annoying, and if you’re noticing them, you’ll want to immediately turn off the appliance. It’s possible that the rattling is simply being caused by a loose panel or screw within the furnace, which is fairly minor and may even be something that you can fix yourself if you’re able to access the loose component safely. If you allow your furnace to keep operating, though, that loose part might cause damage to other components, which will only exacerbate the problem. Alternatively, that rattling noise could also be indicative of a more serious problem, such as a cracked heat exchanger, which can lead to carbon monoxide leaking into your home. This isn’t a noise you want to take chances with, so make the call to bring in a local professional as soon as you can.
4. Whistling Noise
If you hear a whistling sound coming from your furnace, there’s no need to panic. In most cases, this isn’t anything particularly serious. Most commonly, this type of noise is caused by a source of restricted airflow, which is usually the result of a clogged up air filter. Your heating system’s air filter keeps the appliance from becoming dirty or clogged up, but when too many particles of dust and dirt build up on the filter, the furnace will struggle to pull air through it. Fortunately, all you should need to do to get rid of the whistling noise and get your furnace back on track is switch out that air filter for a new, clean one.
5. Popping Noise
When your furnace is starting a heating cycle, the appliance’s blower motor works to circulate the warm air through your home’s air ducts. Sometimes during this process, you will hear loud popping sounds that are a result of air inflation inside your ductwork. When the heat from the furnace collides with the cold metal of the air ducts, the ducts will expand, which can result in the popping noises that you’re hearing. This is relatively normal and nothing to worry about, though you should always try to have your ductwork regularly inspected for clogs or damage.
However, it’s also possible that these popping noises are being caused by contaminated gas burners. When your furnace starts to get up there in years, sediment will have accumulated over time on the heating system’s burners. If these gas burners aren’t cleaned every now and then, the contamination can result in a sort of popping sound and potentially even damage to your heat exchanger. If you’re concerned that this is taking place with your furnace, bring in a heating expert to check for and remove any contamination on the burners.
6. Humming Noise
It’s normal for your furnace to be making a relatively quiet humming noise during operation, and this type of sound is typically nothing to be concerned about. However, if this humming gets significantly louder, it could mean that there’s something wrong with either your blower fan or capacitor, which can eventually result in damage to your heating system’s fan. To avoid having to pay for a costly repair or potentially even a new furnace, don’t procrastinate bringing in a professional if the humming noise from your furnace becomes unusually loud.
Trust the Professionals
When homeowners suspect or notice that their heating systems or other HVAC appliances are showing symptoms of any type of problem, many of them are tempted to try and diagnose or even repair the issue themselves. For a small minority of people that have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to do these types of jobs correctly and safely, there’s nothing wrong with this. However, for the vast majority of homeowners, it’s much wiser and safer to only entrust this type of work to trained and licensed professionals. There are usually a few minor troubleshooting techniques that just about anyone can safely perform, but if you try to complete a more significant job on one of your appliances, there are many things that can go wrong. In addition to putting your own safety at risk, you also run the risk of damaging your appliance further and potentially even beyond repair in certain cases. Instead of taking these risks, trust your local HVAC technicians, and allow them to do these jobs that they’re trained and qualified to do correctly. In the long run, you’ll most likely be glad that you did.
At Summit Heating & AC, we have been offering premier heating, cooling, plumbing, and indoor air quality services to residents of the greater Denver, CO, area since 1998. To make things easier for our customers, we offer flexible financing options, free upfront estimates, and reasonable prices on all of our services. We are also proud winners of the Lennox Partner of the Year Award, which is presented to companies in recognition of their commitment to service and standards that drive exceptional customer satisfaction with every job. Our NATE-certified technicians are at the top of their field, and they continually receive education and training to improve their knowledge and skills.
We at Summit Heating & AC can be trusted to give your comfort needs the effort and attention to detail that they deserve. Call us up now, and schedule an appointment today.