Should My Furnace Sound Like a Jet Plane?
erWe all know the familiar sound of the furnace roaring to life. Yes, your gas furnace can sound like a jet plane when it’s heating your home, but is that a bad thing? It could be a sign your heating system needs some serious maintenance. Furnaces can be loud, but if your furnace sounds like it’s taking off from a runway, here are some helpful tips for your furnace troubleshooting.
Screech, whistle, and whoosh. These noises may sound unusual coming from your furnace, but don’t panic, we’ve all been there. It’s a good idea to know what your furnace sounds like normally, so you can identify when you have furnace problems.
If your gas furnace starts to make new sounds that you don’t recognize, while some of these noises may be completely normal or harmless, others can be a sign of trouble or poor calibration. Read on for more gas furnace troubleshooting tips.
When Was the Last Time My Furnace Was Serviced?
A crucial gas furnace troubleshooting tip is to identify how often you have your furnace serviced. If you hear a strange noise from your furnace, understand that the unit may need maintenance. Other signs include strange smells, challenges getting the system to start, pilot lights that are discolored, poor air quality, and inadequate heat. Not only do furnaces need repairs for any issues you might experience but also a professional cleaning and tune-up service annually.
A smart homeowner would keep a record of the dates the gas furnace has been serviced over the years. This way, if it’s been a while since your furnace has been looked at, it is time for some furnace troubleshooting.
Is My Furnace Filter Clogged?
Depending on how long it has been since you have changed your filter and the amount of traffic your filtration system has been under, it can be hard to eyeball some filters to determine when they need replacing. It is better to start a replacement schedule for your furnace filter than to guess based on the appearance of the filter. A clogged filter can cause the engine in your gas furnace to work harder, which increases wear and tear and could even result in breakdowns. If you notice that your filter is dirty, take some time to change it out, and don’t be surprised if the roaring sound begins to quiet down.
What’s the first thing I should check when troubleshooting my furnace?
Check your furnace’s filter. If you have a dirty or clogged filter, it could be the cause of your problems.
How do I clean the air filter?
If your filter needs to be cleaned, here’s how to do it:
- Locate the gas furnace filter.
- Locate the furnace power switch or turn off the power at the circuit breaker
- Using a vacuum cleaner hose or a hand blower and mask, remove any loose dust or dirt from the dirty filter. Use a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove dust and dirt from the pleats of the filter.
Should I clean or replace the air filter?
It depends on how dirty your filter is. It is good practice to clean your air filter monthly. When it gets really dirty, it is time to replace the dirty filter. It is a bad idea to try and over-extend the life of your air filter. After a couple of cleanings, it is time to pull the plug and get a new one.
Once you’ve completed these steps, test your furnace. If the problem persists, contact a furnace repair technician, who can do a more thorough furnace troubleshooting and correctly identify the culprit.
Are My Vents Blocked?
Blocked or closed vents can cause increased sound pressure as the furnace blower motor and fan push air through, resulting in a “jet engine” sound. Before you start climbing up into your attic to check, here are some steps you can take on your own for your furnace troubleshooting:
- Do a visual inspection
- Opening vents will help bring air into your heat pump or furnace during operation.
- Blockages from leaves, branches, or other debris could cause extra wear and tear on your heating system and increase energy consumption, which in turn results in more noise.
Are your Air Ducts Damaged or Dirty?
If your furnace fan seems to be running too loudly, it may be time to check your ducts. Cleaning or replacing dirty or damaged ducts can greatly improve air performance and energy efficiency.
Ducts can become dirty and clogged with debris over time, greatly reducing the effectiveness of the unit.
How do I perform an air duct test?
- Measuring the sound levels of your gas furnace when it’s running.
- Note the time and temperature for your first measurement and then leave it running for about 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes have passed, come back into the room and measure the decibels again.
- Compare these readings to your first reading to determine if you have a problem with noise or not. If they are significantly different, there is an issue that needs to be fixed.
How Old Is the Furnace?
A new gas furnace is usually installed or replaced every 15 to 20 years, depending on the life of its main parts, like burners and blower motors. You know it’s time to replace your furnace when it’s making loud noises, the air is too dry, and the pilot flame is more orange than yellow. Note that these are only early warning signs. An old furnace will affect your family’s health, cause higher utility bills, environmental hazards, as well as higher maintenance costs.
Is the Furnace Blower Working Properly?
First, let’s set some standards. A jet plane is so noisy because of its engine. The engine creates the whooshes you hear and the exhaust that gives the plane enough power to take off. We do have something similar in our furnace: the blower fan. If your furnace is making an obnoxious noise, it’s likely because the furnace blower motor is turning on and off as part of normal heating furnace cycles. Make sure your thermostat is set properly to the desired temperature and off when you don’t need heat (like overnight).
Is the Thermostat on the Right Setting?
With winter in full swing, your furnace may be working overtime to heat your home. If your furnace is running and the burner on your furnace is off, it could simply be that your thermostat is set to ‘on’ instead of ‘auto’. It is important to be aware of a faulty thermostat when you are gas furnace troubleshooting. If your thermostat is not communicating properly with your furnace, there could be a disconnect and warm air will not fill your house properly.
Are There Tripped Breakers?
To check this possibility, you’ll want to flip the breaker back off again with the main circuit breaker. Be sure that your thermostat is set to “Off” (not just the lower temperature setting). Then, wait about 10 minutes and flip the circuit breaker back on. If you can hear the furnace coming on, it will likely work normally after running for a while.
Is the Furnace Belt Loose?
You can check for loose or broken belts in the switch compartment of your furnace. You will probably find the belt in a loop, so you may want to turn off your furnace and then open the furnace door. Using a simple carpenter’s square, push the belt back onto the pulley, tightening it around its groove as you go. If a belt is untorn but loose here, it’s a good idea to tighten it up and lubricate it before using it. Remember that electricity and water don’t mix, so make sure and unplug your furnace before you attempt this repair.
What are irregular sounds to listen for when furnace troubleshooting?
- Grinding & Scraping
- Grinding and scraping sounds point to mechanical parts in your furnace not playing together nicely. Some parts are out of place or uncalibrated. Dry bearings within the furnace blower motor may be rubbing together and creating an annoying sound. Call a professional today.
- If after a heating cycle, your furnace continues to rumble, your combustion chamber may be still burning fuel, even though the burners are turned off. This can affect the pilot light and burner. Call a professional today.
- A squealing noise usually means something is wrong with the blower. The blower is powered by a motor that has bearings that can start to wear out due to age or overheating. Your bearings may be overheating due to a dirty filter or a bad capacitor. Call a professional today.
Gas Furnace Experts in Columbus, Ohio
Furnaces are often described as loud, especially when they’re first turned on. But if it sounds like your furnace is taking off from the runway, it might be time to call in a furnace repair professional. Your utility bill may be going through the roof due to excessive energy use.
Are you looking for a great HVAC company near Columbus, Ohio? Look no further. Here at Patriot Air Comfort Systems, we are your top source for furnace repair, installation and maintenance, air conditioning, and heat pump systems. As a full-service heating and air conditioning company, we offer the latest innovative products from the industry’s most trusted providers.
Patriot Air offers 24/7 emergency repair services for homes and businesses in the Columbus area. You can be sure to get full satisfaction from our team of experts.
Contact us for more information.