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Is It Normal For My Oil Furnace To Make Noise?

Date: January 21, 2021

oil furnace repairA furnace refers to the heating unit in a warm-air, or forced-air, system. After air is heated in the furnace, a blower forces it through ducts. The warm air is then released through vents or registers in your home.

As with any piece of equipment, many of the sounds you will hear from your furnace are perfectly normal, especially when it starts and stops operating.

To get more familiar with its sounds, listen closely the next time your furnace turns on and starts heating your home. Pay attention to the various sounds it makes and observe how long the sound generally continues. By doing this, you’ll be more aware of anything that changes, such as a noise you’ve never heard before.

What Your Furnace Noises Might Mean

To help you distinguish between minor and major problems, here’s a list of common sounds you may hear from your furnace. These are general guidelines provided solely for educational purposes. A correct diagnosis can only be made after a system inspection by an oilheat service professional. (This is just one reason why we always promote the value of annual maintenance!)

  • Humming. This usually comes from the transformer; all transformers hum to some degree. If the humming begins to increase, it’s an early signal that the fan motor may be wearing out. Immediate attention is not required but an inspection should be done soon.
  • Scraping. This often happens when the bearings in the blower motor wear out. If you hear this noise, shut off the system immediately to avoid further damage. Then call us for service.
  • Squealing. If it’s an older furnace, the blower motor may need oil. There may also be a loose belt.
  • Vibration. The blower wheel or motor may need to be rebalanced.
  • Whistling. Unless it’s the whistling you hear from having your basement oil tank filled up, this noise could mean that a dirty filter is constricting air flow.
  • Popping. Abnormal air pressure makes ducts pop in and out. This can be caused by a clogged filter, an undersized or flimsy duct, or closed vents.
  • Creaking. When air gets forced through your ductwork, you may hear creaking noises because the ducts are expanding and contracting. This usually doesn’t happen with a properly installed variable speed system. There will be reduced air turbulence because the system doesn’t “blast” on and off.

Quick Tips For Oil Furnaces

All warm-air systems have an air filter to screen out dust and other impurities. In general, you should check the filter’s condition about once a month during the heating season and change or clean it when necessary. Refer to your owner’s manual for instructions or contact an oilheat service contractor if you’re not familiar with this procedure.

If you have a whole-house air cleaner connected to your furnace, you can get the most out of it by keeping the thermostat setting to “on” instead of “auto.” This provides continuous circulation and filtration of indoor air and helps maintain a balanced temperature throughout your home.

If you have any concerns about the operation of your heating system, please get in touch with an oilheat service professional and request a furnace inspection.
Did you know that you can qualify for rebates when you install a new oil furnace? Read more about oilheat rebates in South Carolina.