If you have owned your heating oil furnace for a few years, you probably know the sounds it makes when it’s doing its job – a hum here, a click there, an occasional WHOOSH, and not much more than that.
But sometimes, it makes a sound that you don’t expect – a bang or a rattle for example. These unusual sounds could indicate a problem that needs a look from a heating repair professional.
Strange Furnace Sounds Possible Causes
Here are three problems that could lead to your furnace making strange noises this heating season.
Dust/debris – If too much dust and debris gets inside your furnace (often because of a problem with your air filter), it can damage moving parts and make the operation of your furnace noisier overall. A dirty gas burner, for example, will make a low rumbling noise, while poorly lubricated ball bearings will create a high-pitched squeal. Try replacing a dirty air filter (you should examine it every thirty days during the winter) and see if the problem goes away; if not, contact a heating contractor.
A broken motor – An overworked or poorly maintained furnace motor can malfunction or even burn out, resulting in a noticeable humming or whirring noise. If you hear these types of sounds, call for service right away to avoid a no-heat emergency.
Oil pump problems – An oil-fired furnace has an oil pump, which operates quietly when it’s working properly. But under duress, a pump may whine, rattle, buzz, or make other odd noises, and each noise indicates a different condition within your furnace. An experienced heating technician will recognize these sounds, know what they mean, and know how best to address the problem they represent.
The Bottom Line: Don’t DIY Your Furnace!
A modern furnace is a complicated piece of equipment, and tampering with it without proper training can be dangerous: a significant electric shock or exposure to a potentially dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide in your Hudson Valley home are just two potential consequences of improper maintenance. If you have a heating problem, always call a professional – for safety’s sake!