Sometimes, a heating system breaks down with little or no warning at all. It goes from working just fine throughout the day and night to suddenly not turning on at all. However, this is quite an uncommon occurrence. Unless there is a sudden failure of an electrical component, a furnace usually gives off some sign that it is on the brink of failure.
Often, this sign of trouble comes in the form of an odd noise. While it may be accompanied by some unusual performance from your heater, the noise is what helps you to narrow down the cause. Today, we hope to show you what those noises may mean and why it is so important to call technicians in at their first sounding off. Don’t ignore these furnace noises!
You turn on the thermostat, and after a minute, you hear a “bang” or a popping noise before the fan actually turns on. No matter what you read online, that banging noise is not something to take lightly! True, you probably don’t have to worry about the furnace exploding or catching fire. However, the “bang” likely is an explosion, of sorts.
This noise is typically caused by delayed ignition. Instead of starting up right away, dirt on the burners causes them to struggle to light immediately, which means gas builds up in the meantime. A mini explosion takes place once the burners finally do light, and this can rattle the heat exchanger and cause it to form a crack. A cracked heat exchanger leads dangerous, toxic carbon monoxide to leak into the home, so never ignore this potential safety issue.
A squealing noise from your furnace or through the vents may not seem like such a big deal. And, in truth, it’s not the worst thing that could happen! It’s likely just that the blower fan motor needs lubrication, or that the fan belt is wearing down or misaligned. Let it go on for too long, though, and the fan might stop working when you need it most, leaving you without any heating!
This noise might sound like metal scraping metal—and that’s probably precisely what it is. Again, this is something that seems like no huge deal, except that you may also notice heat coming through your vents at a slower rate. Most likely, the blower fan has come loose from its mount, causing it to scrape the bearings that make that scraping, screeching noise. The fan slows down, which could cause the furnace to overheat and shut down too soon.
We end on something that should never be ignored, no matter how subtle a sound it may seem. If you hear a low rumble coming from the area of the furnace, it might mean that the pilot flame is too low. If you know how, check the furnace to see that the flame is glowing blue, not orange or yellow. If the flame is not blue in color, shut off the system and call in a technician, as this could be dangerous.