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What Noises from Your Heating System Mean

Modern heating systems are built to operate as quietly as possible. Some types of heaters are naturally louder than others, but as long as the heater remains in good repair, it shouldn't create distracting sounds.

So when your heater does start making loud, unpleasant sounds, it's a strong sign that it needs professional repair attention. If you ignore strange noises from a heating system, you risk having the repair issue become worse, lead to a complete breakdown, or even turn into a safety hazard. Act fast when your heater starts disrupting the peaceful sounds in your home and call Lifeline Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for repairs on your heating in Elgin, IL.

How to diagnose those odd noises

There is a range of warning sounds a heater can make. Here are some of the most common and what they might mean.

  • Rumbling and booming: These sounds sometimes come from gas-powered heaters (boilers and furnaces) and indicate that there is a build-up of dirt, or possibly rust, along the burner. This will prevent the gas jets from igniting because it blocks oxygen. Cleaning the burner requires a technician to remove the burner first.
  • Clicking at start up: The meaning of this sound depends on your heating system. On a heat pump, it often indicates a failing start capacitor, which will soon prevent the heat pump's motors from coming on at all. In a gas furnace this is sometimes a warning that there is a crack in the heat exchanger, which is a serious problem that can turn into a health risk from carbon monoxide leaking.
  • Rumbling in the boiler: This is one of the more common warning noises from a boiler. It could mean overheating or a broken mixing valve letting in too much cold water to the tank.
  • Groaning and squealing: For furnaces and heat pumps, this sound often comes from motors that have become dirty or too worn down and are on the verge of burn-out. The motors will need to be replaced before they stop working entirely. Sometimes only the bearings will need replacement.
  • Clanking, slapping: A mechanical component has come loose and is striking against other parts of the heating system. Often this is a problem with the air handler, such as bent fan blades or a broken blower motor fan belt. Damage will spread rapidly, so shut down the system and call for repairs.

Maintenance will help avoid repairs

All of the above problems are easy to prevent ahead of time with a regular maintenance schedule for your heater. During an annual visit, a technician will find places where breaks, dirt, and wear could lead to trouble. Make sure you receive a visit each year to keep your heating in Elgin, IL working without problems. Look to the experts at Lifeline Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to take care of you.

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