Winter is prime time for furnace issues, which makes sense considering the added strain people put on their systems during this time of year. As you rely on your furnace to keep your home warm, it is recommended that you be especially aware of any signs that might indicate a problem with it. One of the most obvious signs that your furnace is experiencing issues is the presence of strange noises during operation. Have a look at some of these weird furnace noises, what they mean, and what you can do about it.
Within the furnace is a part called the air handler, which is responsible for blowing air through the ducts while the system is operating. The air handler motor has oiled bearings inside it, which serve to reduce friction on the system and improve the overall function of the part. While these bearings do a great job, they do wear down over time. As the bearings get close to failing, the friction on the motor will increase and it will begin to create a loud grinding sound. You should call for repairs as soon as you hear this sound. An air handler that doesn’t have its bearings replaced when they need to be could easily overheat and burn out, and those motors are not cheap to replace.
If you use a gas furnace, and you hear a loud booming sound every time the system starts up, you might have a problem with delayed ignition. Delayed ignition is what happens when the jets in the burner assembly become clogged with carbon particles, a natural combustion byproduct of natural gas. The more clogged the jets become, the harder of a time they’ll have activating when they should. When delayed jets finally do activate, they burn through a lot of gas at once and make a loud boom. Professional cleaning should resolve this problem, but you should be careful not to wait too long. If the jets become clogged enough, they won’t fire at all and your system won’t be able to heat.
Does your furnace seem to turn itself on and off a little more frequently than it should be? If so, you may have a short cycling issue. Short cycling is when the system turns off before completing a full heating cycle. It can be caused by an electrical issue, or a clogged air filter, but what matters is the damage it does.
At first, the only thing short cycling will do is prevent the furnace from properly heating your home. However, the longer the system short cycles, the faster it will wear out. Short cycling for a long period of time will make it more likely for your system to break down and require repairs. It will also shorten the lifespan of the furnace in many cases. So, make sure that you call for repairs if you happen to notice this issue.