Winter is on the way. People in northern states are busy changing furnace filters and preparing for snow, ice, and high energy bills. Florida homeowners don’t worry about snow and ice, but Florida winters can mean cooler temperatures. Now is the time to take care of any strange noises your heater or furnace made last year. Incline your ear and listen to the sound of a furnace in need. Read on if you need help identifying the probable cause and the best solution to your noisy heater.
Things That Go Thump
If you’ve mistaken the thumping sound coming from your furnace room for an out-of-balance washing machine, you might have an out-of-balance blower wheel. The blower wheel, a critical component in your heater, is responsible for pushing the air that’s built up inside the heater out through your ductwork. The noise probably won’t keep you up at night, but don’t ignore it too long or you might not have heat. The best solution is to call an air conditioning and heating specialist to diagnose the problem.
It’s not unusual for a furnace to make knocking sounds when it starts up or stops blowing warm air. Your furnace pushes air through a series of vents and pipes called ductwork. Often constructed of galvanized steel, ductwork expands and contracts when the temperature inside changes. When hot air blows through, you might hear a noticeable knocking sound. When air quits circulating, the steel contracts, making more noise. It’s unsettling to hear any of your home appliances make unfamiliar sounds. Knocking noises coming from any other appliance can be serious, but from your heater, a little knocking is totally normal.
Please Stop the Squealing!
What do you do when the heater makes high-pitched squealing noises? Unlike thumping, which you can muffle by closing the furnace room door, squealing can’t be ignored. Remember the proverb “the squeaky wheel gets the grease?” Think of your heater as the squeaky wheel. Squealing usually indicates too much friction caused by internal parts rubbing together. It could be anything from unlubricated or worn-out bearings to a belt that’s slipped or worn. To address the squealing, call an HVAC professional.
Why Is it Rumbling?
First, check for a loose exterior panel. Sometimes if a panel is just a little loose, it makes a low rumbling noise. This is an easy fix. Just tighten the screws. If you don’t find a loose panel, the culprit is probably dirty gas burners. If you don’t have your furnace serviced regularly, grime builds up on the burners. Dirty burners rumble because they can’t get air. Get a flashlight, and look for a dark-colored coating on your burners. Dirty burners must be cleaned.
Now that you know the strange noises coming from your heater are really just subtle cries for help, it’s time to take action. Most repairs should be done by a licensed HVAC professional. Don’t wait to call — it’s not only bad for your ears but also your heater.
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