A heating system may break down with little to no warning at all. It will go from seemingly operating “just fine” throughout the day and night to suddenly halting, or just not turning on at all. This is uncommon, particularly if you had fall maintenance. Even with that tune-up though, unless there’s a sudden electrical failure, a furnace or heating system usually gives off some sign it’s about to fail.
Often, this sign is a loud and/or unfamiliar noise. It may be accompanied by some unusual performance from your heating system, but this isn’t always the case. We don’t encourage you to try to repair the system on your own, but at least you can be prepared with what might be going on, before you call a pro for expert heater repair in Alameda, CA.
Is Your Heater Making Banging Noises?
Let’s say you’ve turned on the thermostat, waited a minute, and then heard a loud BANG, or popping noise, before the fan turned on. This isn’t an issue to take lightly. Don’t worry, your furnace isn’t going to explode. But, that banging is indicative of a small type of explosion.
What’s likely occurring is there is a delay in ignition in your heater. Dirt is causing the burners to struggle to immediately ignite, allowing gas to build up. That small explosion we mentioned above takes place once those burners do ignite. The problem with this is that it rattles the heat exchanger. If that heat exchanger becomes cracked, then your living space is exposed to harmful carbon monoxide.
How About Squealing?
A squealing noise can be alarming. Is there an animal in your ductwork? Probably not (though, that is a slim possibility). If it’s coming from the system itself, what you’re most likely dealing with is a blower fan motor or some other type of internal component that needs lubrication. It may even be that the fan belt has worn down or is misaligned. Don’t let this go on for too long, as the fan may stop working when you need it the most.
Do You Hear a Scraping Noise?
This sound may seem like metal scraping against metal, and that is probably exactly what’s causing it. This is, again, something that seems minor initially … until you notice the heat coming through your vents isn’t doing so as powerfully.
This is most likely an indication that the blower fan has come loose from its mount, causing it to scrape the bearings that make that scraping, or screeching, sound. The fan slows down as a result, and this can cause your heater to overheat internally, thereby shutting down as a safety measure.
Don’t Ignore Rumbling
We don’t mean to be redundant, but, never ignore this! No matter how subtle the sound may seem, if you hear a low rumbling coming from your furnace or gas-powered heater, it means the pilot light is low.
Check your heater to see if that flame is glowing blue. This means only natural gas is reaching the pilot light through the gas main. You may see touches of red and yellow at the edge of the flame. This is nothing to worry about, however, if the entire flame is burning red, yellow, or green. It means that something else has entered the gas and is burning along with the methane: rust, excess air, oil, dirt, or grime. If you do notice this alternative color, shut off your heater right away and give our pros a call.