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A well-maintained heater should stay mostly quiet, with the exception of an occasional hum when first activated. A worn-down furnace, on the other hand, can produce a whole orchestra of irritating sounds, including whistling, whirring, clicking or even loud banging.
If you hear any of these noises, you’ll probably need to schedule a heater repair appointment. For those living in central Louisiana, the experienced team at Southern Air can quickly address any strange furnace sounds.
Alternatively, you can try investigating a noise on your own before contacting a professional. Here are some commonly reported sounds, along with their causes and potential fixes:
Cause: Clogged drain pipe
If it sounds like someone’s rapidly blowing bubbles through a straw, your heater’s dehumidifying features are malfunctioning. When your HVAC system works to dehumidify the air, any excess water ideally drips down and exits through a drain pipe. However, if the drainpipe is clogged, a bubbling sound will arise as water struggles to break through the blockage.
How to fix it: You can attempt to fix this issue by first turning off the system, then pouring a half-bleach, half-water solution down the system’s drain. This is usually sufficient for removing a clog.
Cause: Fan motor damage
An irritating screech indicates your system’s fan motor is damaged. A blade may be bent, the motor’s bearings may be worn-down or the fan belt may be malfunctioning.
How to fix it: You can track down the damaged fan by following the noise to its source. Examine both your indoor and outdoor units to determine where the sound originates. A bent blade can be fixed independently, but aged bearings and belts will probably need to be replaced by a professional.
Cause: Failed capacitor or weakened blower motor
In most cases, a gentle humming should be expected, particularly when you turn on your furnace for the first time in months. However, if the humming is noticeably loud, you may be dealing with an inadequately lubricated blower motor. Another explanation is a failed capacitor.
How to fix it: In either case, you should call a technician. A blower motor issue is best addressed by a professional, and a failed capacitor needs to be replaced.
Cause: Damaged fan
A heating system’s fans are normally silent, but a mechanical flaw can boost the noise levels.
How to fix it: Yet again, you’ll need to contact a professional to identify and resolve your fan’s specific mechanical issue.
Cause: Cracked heat exchanger or loose parts
Rattling noises have two potential explanations. First, any metal part of your HVAC system may have broken off. As the part rolls around, you’ll notice a rattling noise. The second possibility is that your heat exchanger has ruptured. This is a far more dangerous possibility, as a cracked heat exchanger can lead to carbon monoxide leaks.
How to fix it: Since it’s difficult to determine the exact cause, you should connect with an HVAC technician to be safe. A professional can address either issue, but you should probably turn off your system until they do.
Cause: Expanding/contracting air ducts or ignition issue
Although loud banging sounds alarming, this noise is usually harmless. When your heating system starts adjusting the temperature, your home’s air ducts may expand or contract due to changing heat levels, leading to banging. Alternatively, if the banging continues after your heater has been running for a while, you may be dealing with an ignition issue.
How to fix it: Try to wait it out. If the banging persists, reach out to a technician to see if your igniter needs to be repaired.
Cause: Leaking air duct or refrigerant pipe
A loud hissing noise often indicates your refrigerant pipes are leaking, allowing dangerous fumes to flow through your home. A leaking air duct may also be the culprit, but for the sake of your safety, you should assume broken refrigerant pipes are to blame.
How to fix it: You shouldn’t attempt to fix ruptured refrigerant pipes alone. Call a professional for emergency repairs right away.
If you experience any of these noises, your best bet is to get in touch with a professional. Your heating system may only have a mild maintenance issue you can fix independently, but it’s important to spot any potentially dangerous problems.
Remember not all heater problems are loud. Furnace maintenance appointments can ensure inaudible issues aren’t overlooked. The dedicated team at Southern Air can keep your heater running safely and silently all year round!
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