While we hope this will never happen to you, your heater could break down with little to no warning at all. It can go from seemingly functioning just fine all day long to coming to a halt or it could just not cycle on when you need it.
Of course, this is rare. It’s even rarer if you’re staying on top of your heating maintenance appointments. Maintenance helps your heater work as efficiently and effectively as possible, for as long as possible.
Even with routine maintenance though, it’s still a good idea to be aware of the signs of a heater in disrepair, and one of those signs is strange or unusual noises coming from the system. So, you’re right to be alarmed and to be searching for a solution online. Of course, the solution is always going to be to call a professional. But in the meantime, we can let you know what certain sounds might mean for your furnace or heat pump system.
Let’s say that you’ve turned the thermostat on, you wait… expecting to hear your furnace cycle on… but before that happens you hear a loud BANG, sometimes described as a boom or a popping sound, before the fan starts whirring. This isn’t a problem to take lightly! But don’t worry, your heater isn’t going to explode or anything. However, this banging sound is the sign of a small type of explosion, actually.
What’s probably happening is that there’s a delay in the ignition for your heating system. Dirt is causing the burners to struggle to ignite right away, which allows gas to build up. This small explosion that we mentioned above takes place once the burners do ignite. The issue with this is that it rattles your furnace, including the heat exchanger. If the heat exchanger becomes cracked, then your living space is exposed to harmful carbon monoxide.
A squealing sound can certainly be quite jarring, and we wouldn’t blame you if that’s the noise that brought you to this blog post! Don’t worry, it’s probably not an animal stuck in your ductwork!
What you’re probably hearing is coming from the system itself, and it’s a blower fan motor or some other internal component that needs to be lubricated. Alternatively, you may be hearing a fan belt that has worn down or is misaligned. Be sure you don’t let this go on for too long, as the fan could stop working when you need it the most.
If you ever hear something that resembles metal on metal, don’t brush it off–you could very well be hearing metal on metal! While it could seem like a minor sound at first, it won’t seem so minor when it’s coupled with lukewarm or cool air coming through the vents.
It’s most likely a sign that the blower fan has come loose from its mount, and this is causing it to scrape the bearings, hence the sound. The fan will slow down as a result, and it can cause your heater to overheat, which will cause the system to shut down as a safety precaution.