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Your Furnace Shouldn't Go "Bump" In The Night

Learn to recognize noises that could indicate furnace problems

Your furnace is critical to keep your home comfortable during the cold winter months, but it is easy to forget about it when it is working properly. If it starts making strange noises, however, it is time to call a professional before a small problem turns into a big one. Some sounds that could indicate serious furnace problems are scraping, squealing and banging sounds.

If your furnace makes a scraping sound that sounds like metal rubbing on metal, you should turn off the power to your furnace and have it serviced right away. This sound might indicate several furnace problems. The blower wheel might simply be loose and hitting its casing; this is easily tightened, but it can cause damage to the wheel if it isn’t fixed promptly. The blower wheel could also be broken and in need of replacement. In the worst case scenario, the motor may have come loose from its mount, and the entire blower assembly is out of place and banging on its housing.

Sometimes when a furnace first turns on, it makes a loud noise that people often describe as a banging or popping sound. This sound might just be the metal ducts expanding or contracting as the furnace cycles on and off. These noises are usually nothing to worry about, but it could indicate that the ducts are not the appropriate size for the heating system, that vents are closed or blocked, or that an air filter is clogged. Banging noises can also indicate more serious furnace problems, however, so a professional should inspect the system. If the burners on your furnace need to be cleaned, dirt can prevent the gas from igniting immediately, causing a small explosion when it does. This can eventually make the heat exchanger crack, necessitating expensive repairs.

If your furnace makes a high-pitched noise that could be described as a whine or a squeal, your furnace most likely needs simple, routine maintenance. The blower belt might need adjustment, bearings might need oil, or the blower motor might need either repair or replacement. These are minor repairs that will extend the life of your furnace if they are not ignored.

Regular maintenance of your furnace will prevent many of these sounds (and problems) from occurring. A professional furnace repair person should perform routine maintenance and regular cleaning to keep your furnace in good condition. They should test for any carbon monoxide output, clean the unit to prevent dirt buildup on the burners, and repair or replace any parts that may be worn. This regular maintenance prevents inconvenient and expensive repairs during the winter and extends the life of your furnace.

Keeping your furnace running properly is important for your family’s comfort and safety. The time to find a company you are comfortable working with is before you hear strange noises! If you do have furnace problems, however, call a professional right away before the situation worsens and you find yourself without heat.

Book a maintenance appointment with Boonstra Heating & Air Conditioning to keep those noises from getting started.

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