It’s a pleasant winter evening, and you’re snug as a bug in your home, enjoying some well-deserved peace and quiet.

Until your furnace starts making an alarming noise. Are those the sirens for speedy furnace repair?

Furnaces today are specifically designed to operate as quietly as possible – so if you’re hearing any unusual high-pitched or loud noises, there’s a problem.

Furnace Noises You Shouldn’t Ignore

A furnace is an essential component of any home, providing warmth and comfort during the colder months. However, if your furnace starts making loud or unusual noises, it can be a cause for concern. Ignoring these noises can lead to more significant problems down the line.

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If your furnace is making more noise than usual and you start to wonder “Why is my furnace so loud?”, there’s likely something wrong with your furnace or ductwork:

  • Loud banging noise
  • Rattling or loud rumbling noises
  • Whistling noise
  • Screeching – think metal on metal
  • Loud humming

If you hear any of these sounds coming from your furnace, you should book an appointment with a professional service technician for an inspection or repair.

What is the Cause of My Noisy Furnace?

There are several reasons why this common furnace problem could be disrupting you.

1. Small Ducts or Gaps in Your Ductwork

Type of Noise: Whistling

Small ducts or gaps in your ductwork can lead to a noticeable whistling or hissing sound as air passes through. This often occurs due to improper installation, where seams weren’t sealed correctly or joints weren’t properly connected. Over time, ducts can also develop small leaks due to wear and tear. These openings can result in air escaping, reducing the efficiency of your heating system.

A Husky technician can assess the ductwork, identifying any areas that need sealing or repair. They’ll use specialized materials and techniques to ensure a secure, airtight duct system. This not only eliminates the noise but also improves the overall efficiency of your heating system, reducing energy costs.

2. Your Filter is Clogged

Type of Noise: Whistling

A clogged air filter is a common culprit behind a noisy furnace. Over time, dust, debris, and particulate matter accumulate in the filter, obstructing airflow. When the airflow is restricted, the furnace has to work harder to push air through, which can result in a noticeable whistling sound. This strain on the system not only leads to more noise but also reduces the overall efficiency of the furnace.

Regularly changing or cleaning the furnace filter is crucial for maintaining optimal performance. It’s recommended to check the filter at least once a month and replace it if it’s visibly dirty or clogged. A clean filter ensures proper airflow, reduces strain on the system, and minimizes noise, ultimately extending the lifespan of your furnace.

If the whistling is a recent noise you’ve never heard before, try turning off your furnace and removing the furnace filter. If it is clogged with dirt and dust, it should be cleaned or replaced.

When you turn the furnace back on – with the fresh filter in place – listen closely for any whistling sounds. There’s a good chance replacing the filter fixed the issue.

Remember: While the filter is safe to change on your own, you should never try any internal DIY furnace repairs.

3. Your Ductwork is Flexing

Type of Noise: Banging

When ducts aren’t properly secured, they can flex or vibrate as air flows through them. This movement creates a noticeable rattling or banging sound. It’s commonly seen in older homes or in systems that haven’t been maintained well. Insufficient insulation around the ducts can exacerbate this issue.

Sometimes ductwork will flex when there are pressure changes between the return and supply ducts. This is called ‘oil-canning’, and occurs when there is a weak spot in the ducts that needs reinforcement.

One thing that’s good to keep in mind is that ducts – particularly older ones – are a conduit for sound, so it’s normal to hear the odd pop or ping.

If the banging is continuous, this could be a sign that your ducts are oil-canning. This is something you will need a professional to fix – but you can help make their job easier by following the sound and attempting to pinpoint where the banging originates.

To address this, an HVAC technician will inspect the ductwork and add proper supports and insulation where needed. By stabilizing the ducts, they’ll prevent excessive movement and eliminate the associated noise, restoring peace and quiet to your home.

4. The Burners Are Dirty, Causing a Delayed Ignition

Type of Noise: Banging

Dirty burners can create a range of disruptive noises in a furnace. When the burners are covered in dirt, soot, or debris, they struggle to achieve a proper and consistent ignition. This can result in a rumbling or popping sound as the burners attempt to light up. Additionally, the inefficient combustion process can lead to reduced heating efficiency.

Routine maintenance, which includes cleaning the burners, is essential in preventing this issue. A qualified technician will carefully remove any accumulated dirt or debris from the burners, ensuring a clean and efficient ignition process. This not only eliminates the noise but also improves the overall performance and efficiency of the furnace.

5. There May Be a Screw Loose

Type of Noise: Rattling

Rattling noises can either be a super easy fix or a serious problem.

A loose screw or component inside your furnace may lead to an alarming clanking or banging noise. This issue often arises from the normal vibrations and movements that occur during operation. Over time, screws and other fasteners may become dislodged.

An experienced technician will carefully examine the internal components of your furnace, identifying any loose parts. They’ll tighten or replace screws and components as needed, ensuring that everything is securely in place. This not only resolves the noise issue but also prevents potential damage that loose components can cause.

6. There’s a Crack in the Heat Exchanger

Type of Noise: Rattling

A cracked heat exchanger is a serious and potentially dangerous issue that can produce a distinctive clicking or popping sound. The heat exchanger is a crucial component responsible for transferring heat from the burner to the air that circulates through your home. When it develops a crack, it can cause the metal to expand and contract during operation, resulting in the noise. This is a serious issue, as cracks lead to carbon monoxide leaks that will set off your alarm.

Remember: When a carbon monoxide alarm goes off, everyone in the house should get out immediately.

Aside from the noise, a cracked heat exchanger poses a significant risk, as it can lead to the release of harmful gases like carbon monoxide into your home. If you suspect a cracked heat exchanger, it’s imperative to turn off the furnace immediately and contact a professional technician. They will assess the situation, and if necessary, replace the heat exchanger to ensure the safety and efficiency of your heating system.

7. The Blower Wheel is Loose

Type of Noise: Screeching/scraping

A loose blower wheel can create a high-pitched squealing or rattling sound coming from your furnace. The blower wheel is a critical component responsible for circulating heated air throughout your home. When it becomes loose, it can wobble and make contact with other parts, resulting in the disruptive noise.

Addressing a loose blower wheel typically requires the expertise of a professional technician. They will carefully inspect the blower assembly, tightening any loose components and ensuring that the blower wheel is securely in place. This not only eliminates the noise but also restores the proper functioning of the blower, ensuring even and efficient heat distribution.

If you hear the screeching/scraping sound, turn off your furnace and book a repair appointment. Continuing to use your furnace when the blower wheel is loose could cause serious damage to both the wheel and the fan – and that could be a more costly fix.

8. Your Blower Motor Isn’t Working Properly

Type of Noise: Screeching

Your furnace blower is what pushes warm air through your ducts and into your home. It needs proper lubrication in order to work properly.

A malfunctioning blower motor can produce a range of noises, including grinding, humming, or even a loud buzzing sound. This can be attributed to worn-out bearings, a damaged fan blade, or other internal issues within the motor. When the blower motor struggles to operate, it can result in reduced airflow and overall furnace efficiency.

Resolving this issue requires the expertise of a trained technician. They will assess the blower motor, identifying the specific problem and making any necessary repairs or replacements. A properly functioning blower motor ensures efficient air circulation, reduces noise levels, and enhances the overall performance of your furnace.

9. Air-to-Fuel Imbalance

Type of Noise: Whooshing

An air-to-fuel imbalance occurs when there’s an incorrect ratio of air to fuel during the combustion process. This can create a distinctive booming or whooshing sound during ignition. It’s a common issue in older furnaces or those that haven’t been properly calibrated.

A Husky technician can assess the furnace’s combustion process, adjusting the air-to-fuel ratio to achieve the correct balance. This ensures smooth and efficient ignition, eliminating the disruptive noise and enhancing the overall performance of your heating system. Regular maintenance and calibration are essential in preventing future imbalances and maintaining optimal furnace operation.

10. Dirty Pilot Light

Type of Noise: Rumbling

A dirty or partially blocked pilot light can produce a low, rumbling noise. The pilot light is responsible for igniting the burners, and when it’s not burning cleanly, it can create a turbulent and noisy flame.

Cleaning the pilot light and ensuring it ignites properly is a task best handled by a professional technician. They will carefully inspect and clean the pilot assembly, ensuring a clean and steady flame. This not only eliminates the noise but also improves the overall efficiency and safety of your furnace.

11. Issue with a Capacitor

Type of Noise: Screeching

A faulty capacitor in your furnace can lead to a persistent humming or buzzing sound. Capacitors are critical components responsible for providing the initial boost of energy needed to start the blower motor and other electrical components.

Diagnosing and addressing a faulty capacitor requires the expertise of a trained technician. They will test the capacitor, and if necessary, replace it to ensure proper functioning. A functioning capacitor is crucial for the smooth and efficient operation of your furnace, reducing noise levels and preventing potential electrical issues. Regular maintenance can help identify and address capacitor issues before they become disruptive.

We’ll Fix Your Furnace and Your Noise Problem

Loud noises coming from your furnace are distracting and distressing – and could be an early warning sign of bigger problems to come. The team at Husky can thoroughly inspect your furnace, identify the problem, and provide a solution.

When we’re done, you’ll have the peace of mind that your furnace is working safely and efficiently – and you’ll have the silence to prove it.

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