Hopefully, you’ve been staying vigilant for any signs that your furnace is having trouble over the last few months. The faster you can identify signs that your furnace is malfunctioning in some way, the faster you can have it fixed. One of the more obvious warning signs that something isn’t quite right with your furnace is if the system is making strange noises while it’s operating. If your furnace is doing this, you should call for repairs as soon as you can. The following are some of the more common noises that indicate a problem with the system.
The furnace contains a part called the air handler, which is designed to circulate air throughout the home while the system is operating. Inside the air handler motor are a number of bearings, designed to keep friction on the system low. As the bearings wear down, the friction on the air handler motor increases until it starts making a loud grinding sound. If you hear this sound, you should call a professional as soon as you can. If the bearings are not replaced in time the motor could overheat and burn out.
If your furnace makes a loud booming sound when it turns on, then you probably have a delayed ignition problem. Delayed ignition happens when the jets in the burner assembly become clogged with carbon particles. As the buildup gets worse, it takes longer and longer for the jets to ignite. When the jets finally do ignite, they burn through a lot of gas at once to generate that boom. If you notice this happening, you’ll need to contact a professional technician to clean the burner assembly for you. Make sure you have it done soon, before the entire assembly becomes clogged.
If your furnace is turning itself on and off every couple of minutes, that’s called short cycling. It’s a serious issue often caused by electrical problems in the furnace, though clogged air filters and the like can also cause it. Short cycling severely hampers the system’s ability to heat the home, since it prevents it from completing a full heating cycle. It also accelerates the rate at which the system wears down, making it more prone to developing problems as time goes on. If the furnace is allowed to short cycle for long enough, it will have its lifespan shortened significantly. You should have your furnace checked out by a professional immediately if it’s doing this.
If your furnace isn’t turning on at all, and you hear a clicking sound coming from it, that probably means that you have a problem with your ignition device. If your furnace uses a standing pilot light, check and see if it’s out. If not, there’s no way to know for certain if that’s the source of the problem without professional repairs. Regardless, the furnace is almost certainly experiencing ignition issues if it’s making this sound.