With winter weather not even at its peak yet in most parts of the country, it’s important to ensure your heating system is in tip-top shape and ready to face the next few months. One sign that you may want to have your heater serviced is loud noises emanating from your system. But what noises specifically are we talking about? It’s not uncommon for your unit to make some noise, but if your heater is making certain alarming sounds again and again, you will definitely want to have it checked out. Keep reading to learn the top heating system noises to watch out for, courtesy of All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical, and remember that our HVAC technicians are always available for your heater repair and installation needs.
5 Heating Noises That Mean You May Have a Problem
- Banging: A banging noise doesn’t always mean there is something wrong with your heating system. Sometimes, it means your ductwork is expanding and contracting. The solution to this issue is usually just to open your air vent and change your filter if necessary. It’s also possible that there’s some debris buildup going on in your furnace or boiler, causing those mini-explosions that occur when debris interacts with your heat exchanger. If this happens, your system will probably need to be cleaned by a professional—not a hard fix, but definitely an essential one. Other times, you could be dealing with something more serious, like a thermostat problem, or a delay in your system’s ignition. Waiting to deal with this issue could lead to a hazardous situation, like a gas leak, so make sure to call an experienced heating tech right away if you keep hearing that booming sound.
- Squealing: Squealing or screeching noises coming from your furnace or boiler usually indicate you are dealing with a mechanical issue, possibly related to your system’s fan belt. If you have a heat pump, it’s probably the unit’s motor. Other possible sources of the noise could be poor water flow, low water pressure, internal overheating, or a faulty thermostat.
- Clicking: In your furnace, a clicking noise typically means there is a problem with the ignition. This could be the result of a malfunctioning flame sensor or thermocouple, as well as a broken/clogged valve. The bottom line, however, is that a clicking furnace merits an investigation, as that sound means there is a problem between the ignition and the gas, which could be extremely dangerous and even result in a gas leak. In a boiler, on the other hand, a clicking sound can usually be traced back to trapped air bubbles. In a heat pump, you may hear a clicking noise when you start your system up after a long period of disuse, but if the issue continues, then you’re probably dealing with an issue related to the unit’s capacitor.
- Humming: It is fairly normal for your heating system to make noise when you turn it on. If that humming or buzzing persists, however, then you may need to call a technician. In a furnace, humming usually means a motor problem. In a boiler, it tends to be a sign of a loose circulating pump. And in a heat pump, humming usually indicates electrical troubles, such as a failed capacitor, stuck relay switch, or faulty motor.
- Rattling: In a furnace, rattling can usually be traced back to a motor or fan. In a heat pump, it may also be a motor problem, though it could also be a loose blower wheel or worn down compressor bearing. And in a boiler, ratting is typically a sign of faulty pipework or – yet again – motor trouble. No matter what the culprit is though, rattling almost always indicates there’s a problem with your system. Even if it’s not a dangerous issue, you should call a technician to get that rattling fixed—unless you want to have to replace your unit before its time.