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Dowd Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

When Your Heater Starts Making These Noises, It’s Time to Call Us

One of the main ways your heating system can send you a warning that it’s encountering trouble is by making unusual noises. What counts as “unusual”? We’ll list several below, but if you’ve already had your heater for a few seasons you’ll know the standard sounds it makes as it runs. Anything that catches your attention because it’s different counts as unusual. If your heater becomes louder than normal, that’s also a potential warning sign that something is wrong and it’s best for you to call for heating repair in Hatboro, PA from our team.

Warning Sounds to Listen For

This isn’t an exhaustive list but it includes the most common sounds of a heater that might be in trouble.

  • Rattling: If you have a gas furnace, this sound could be as simple as a loose front panel. Check that it’s properly latched. This sound also can warn of parts that are coming loose inside the system due to excessive vibrations, and that’s always something you want to have a professional check on. 
  • Shrieking: This high-pitched mechanical sound is the noise of the bearings in motors wearing down. The good news is that you can have technicians replace the bearings in time to prevent them from wearing down fully and causing permanent damage to the motor.
  • Grinding: If a motor does start to burn out, you’ll hear this sound. Shut down the heater right away and call for technicians. (You may also notice an acrid smell from the vents, another side-effect of a burnt-out motor.) The technicians will likely need to replace the motor entirely.
  • Hissing and Bubbling: If you have a heat pump to warm your house, these are common warning sounds of refrigerant escaping from the copper refrigerant lines. The hissing is gaseous refrigerant and the bubbling is liquid refrigerant. You need professionals to seal the leaks and then replace the exact amount of refrigerant that was lost.
  • Clicking: You’ll often hear clicking when a heater starts up, and this is normal. When you hear clicking at other times or the noise becomes louder, it can point toward several issues. These include failing capacitors, a faulty control board, a failing electronic ignition system, or even cracks in the heat exchanger of a gas furnace.
  • Clanging: This sharp and alarming sound means metal striking metal. In many cases it’s something wrong with the blower fan, such as a bent fan blade or misaligned blower. Shut off the heater right away to prevent further damage. 
  • Buzzing: An electronic buzzing sound points toward a range of different issues with the electrical controls of the heater or other electrical connections. (Yes, gas furnaces have electric controls as well.) Have technicians examine the system to find out what’s wrong.

We don’t recommend trying to investigate strange sounds in the heater on your own (unless something simple like checking that all panels are shut). Trying to diagnose heating system problems is complicated and mistakes can not only cause more damage to the heater, but they can also create safety concerns. Rely on our technicians to have the job done correctly and safely. 

Trust to Dowd Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning: A Degree Above the Rest.

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