Typical Furnace Problems: Noises

Date: November 25, 2019

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Throughout the rest of winter, you may hear various sounds from your oil furnace. Many of these sounds will be perfectly normal, as with any mechanical device. This is just your furnace doing its job.

It’s important to know, however, which sounds are normal and which are not. Here is some advice: The next time your furnace turns on and begins to generate heat, pay attention to the sounds you hear and observe how long each sound generally continues. This will help you to be more aware of any noise that’s odd or out of the ordinary. Any unusual noise coming from your furnace could indicate a problem.

Here is a list of common noises you may hear from your furnace to help you distinguish between minor and major problems. Be advised that these guidelines are general and are presented here for educational purposes. An accurate diagnosis can be made only after a qualified oilheat technician has completed a system inspection. (One reason it’s always a good idea to get your annual furnace checkup.)

Troubleshooting Sounds In Your Heating System

Humming usually originates from the transformer, which all hum to some degree. If it begins to increase, the humming can be a sign that the fan motor may be wearing out. Immediate attention is not required, but an inspection should be done soon.

This happens when the blower motor bearings wear out. If you hear scraping, immediately turn off the system to avoid further damage and arrange for service.

If you have an older system, it’s possible that the blower motor needs oil. A loose belt can cause squealing, as well.

The blower motor or wheel may need rebalancing if you hear vibration.

A dirty filter constricting airflow can cause whistling.

A clogged filter, undersized or flimsy duct, or closed vents can cause abnormal air pressure, which in turn can make ducts pop in and out.

Expanding and contracting ducts may make creaking noises when air gets forced through your ductwork. This doesn’t usually happen with a variable speed system that’s been properly installed. There will be reduced air turbulence because the system doesn’t “blast” on and off.

Please contact your equipment service provider if you have any concerns about the operation of your heating system.