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Hearing Unusual Furnace Noises? Use these 3 Warning Signs to Avert Problems

It’s cold and dark outside, and your family has settled into their snug beds for the night when a loud, unsettling noise rumbles up from your furnace. What should you do? Is your furnace about to fail? Is it simply time for a repairFurnace noises can mean any number of things. But whatever their cause, they shouldn’t be ignored.

Here are three kinds of sounds commonly heard from ailing furnaces—and the problems they might be indicating:

  • Deep rumbles may be signs of dirty gas burners or a pilot light that needs to be adjusted.
  • High-pitched squealing sounds may be caused by a blower belt that’s slipping. It could also simply mean the motor or bearings need to be lubricated with oil.
  • Persistent vibrations or rattling sounds could be caused by an imbalanced blower motor or wheel.

Many furnace noises originate in the blower motor. This component works year-round, regardless of whether it’s your furnace or your A/C that’s running, because it’s responsible for pushing both warm and cool conditioned air through the filter and into the ductwork. Older units might have a belt and pulley system that drives the blower wheel.  If the belt gets frayed or unevenly worn, it could make rattling sounds. Poorly lubricated bearings might be causing those squealing or scraping sounds you hear. While some furnaces never require lubricating after they leave the manufacturer, some blower motors do require oil periodically.

New noises are often a sign that something has changed or a problem has developed. When you hear unusual furnace noises, no matter how insignificant they seem, call a professional. Your system may need an adjustment or repair. Often a small problem can be rectified before it snowballs into a bigger repair. Staying on top of repairs can keep your family safe from a malfunctioning furnace, and it can avert the need to replace the entire system.

The best medicine for your furnace is preventive. Regular preventive maintenance can keep your system tuned up, clean and adjusted to prolong the life span of all components, reducing the possibility of a failure that could leave you out in the cold, or in danger from combustion fumes. Call P.K. Wadsworth. We’ll be happy to help.

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