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What’s That Sound? Decoding Furnace Noises

furnace noises and furnace sounds
Posted on in Blogs

You've probably noticed that your Port Arthur, Texas home has a host of distinct furnace noises that occur regularly. These may include familiar sounds such as ice dropping into the bin in your freezer, a tree scratching against the porch railing, or your heater and air conditioner turning on and off. While most of these sounds are perfectly normal, there are some that can herald a serious problem. Get to know common furnace sounds so you can identify which are worrisome.

Getting to Know the Most Typical Furnace Noises

Screech, Scrape

If you hear a loud scraping or screeching sound coming from your furnace, like metal rubbing on metal, this signifies a problem with the blower wheel. This is a serious issue that could ruin your system if left untreated. As soon as you hear this nails-on-a-chalkboard sound, turn off the heater and call a professional.

Your HVAC technician will take a look inside the furnace to diagnose the problem. The best outcome is that it was simply a loose blower wheel scraping against the casing. If this is the case, your technician may be able to tighten the existing wheel. If the motor mount or blower wheel is completely broken, you will need a full replacement of the damaged part.

Wheeze, Whoosh

A wheezing furnace is quite unsettling because it may sound like a person suffering from asthma. Before you get carried away with visions of ghostly visitors, check the filter in your furnace. Wheezing is often an indication of a dirty air filter. Changing the filter may put a prompt end to this sound. You should change your filter once a month. Regular attention to this task can prevent those harsh wheezing sounds.

Bang, Bang, Pop

You'll typically hear this banging or popping sound when the furnace turns on. The most common cause is a dirty furnace burner. A buildup of dirt can prevent the burner from igniting promptly. Gas will build up as the system continues to try and ignite. When it finally does so, all that gas will create a loud pop. If you schedule annual furnace maintenance, it's unlikely that you'll ever have this issue because your technician will clean the burner during each visit. Call a professional immediately if you're hearing this sound.

If you have metal air ducts, a banging or popping noise may also occur as the ducts contract and expand with the changing temperatures. This may indicate improperly sized ducts, so you should have a professional take a look to better diagnose the problem.

Ping, Ping, Ping

A persistent pinging noise from the ducts isn't uncommon, and it's usually not a problem. This is typically caused by regular expansion or shrinkage with temperature changes. Insulating your ductwork may help minimize the sound. If the noise is loud or sounds more like a bang than a ping, call a professional.

Whine, Squeak, Squeal

This high-pitched noise is persistent and grating, so it's unlikely that you'll try to simply ignore it. This sound may come from a loose blower belt, dry shaft bearings, or a damaged blower motor. You shouldn't try to diagnose these issues yourself. Rather, call your HVAC technician for a prompt diagnosis and repair. Regular maintenance can go a long way toward preventing this problem as well, since your technician will lubricate moving parts and tighten belts during this check-up.

Crackle, Crackle

You may hear a crackling sound coming from the ducts or furnace just after your furnace turns off. This is a normal sound associated with cooling ducts and other metal parts. Pay attention to the timing of the sound. If you hear it persistently, or it occurs during operation rather than after, you should check with a professional to make sure there isn't a bigger problem.

If you need help diagnosing or correcting a problem with a noisy furnace, contact Thermacon today. We can help you get to the bottom of the problem and resolve those troublesome noises as quickly as possible. Remember that regular maintenance will help you head off any of these problems for a quiet home that runs smoothly year round.