Autumn inevitably brings about many things: Halloween, pumpkin spice lattes, and the transition from using your air conditioner to using your heater. Perhaps you’ve turned your heater on for the first time in months, only to hear some truly terrifying noises such as screeching, rattling, banging, and knocking.
Unfortunately, heating systems that haven’t been used during the summer can start to emit moans and groans when the cool weather arrives, just in time for spooky season. If your heater sounds like it is possessed, now is the perfect time to schedule expert service to avoid any heating horror stories this fall. These scary sounds could indicate your heater needs repairs.
Clanking and Knocking
The sound of chains rattling or mysterious knocking doesn’t mean the trick-or-treaters have arrived early. These sounds could indicate that a fan belt might be cracked or loose and is knocking against other metal parts. Or the blower fan could be misaligned and the blades are rattling against the walls or house casing. A well-functioning furnace won’t make these noises, so if they’re giving you a fright, it’s best to have them checked out.
Scratching and Scraping
No, that’s not the sound of a creature trying to claw its way loose from your heating system. If you’re hearing a scraping noise like nails on a chalkboard, this could mean your blower wheel is malfunctioning and scraping against its metal casing. Another potential culprit is the blower motor assembly which could be broken.
Wailing and Whining
Does your furnace sound like a wailing banshee is trying to escape? These high-pitched noises indicate that a blower belt may have come loose or that the blower motor needs to be replaced. Wailing and whining could also mean that the system is in dire need of oiling and lubrication.
Rumbling and Grumbling
This noise doesn’t mean your heater is inhabited by a cranky, hungry ghost. Rumbling sounds can indicate different problems depending on when you’re hearing them. Are you hearing this loud sound after the furnace has completed a heating cycle and switched off? If so, there could be a problem with the burner. Oil or gas could be continuing to burn in the combustion chamber even after the burners are shut off. This extra fuel could result in the release of carbon monoxide gas into your home. Turn the furnace off immediately and call a professional right away.
Banging and Booming
These startling noises can give you the heebie-jeebies, and for good reason. These sounds could be caused by a small gas explosion due to a gas buildup. When the burner isn’t lit properly, gas accumulates in the combustion chamber and makes a booming noise when it finally ignites. Dirty burners that aren’t igniting efficiently could indicate a clog or pressure problem.
Don’t ignore these noises in the hope they’ll go away. Ignition problems could result in damage to the heat exchanger and in worst-case scenarios, can cause lethal carbon monoxide gas leaks. If your heater is experiencing ignition problems, schedule professional heater repair as soon as possible.