whats all the racket in charleston its your heating system

What’s All the Racket in Charleston? It’s Your Heating System

December 8, 2014

Along the beautiful Wando River in Mt. Pleasant, homeowners report clanking, banging and unsettling noises coming from their cellars and attics. The good news is that most of the scary sounds are coming from ductwork, furnaces and heating systems that could stand a little maintenance. If you are experiencing some difficulties with your heating system, you are not alone.  To quiet down the nightly bumps and rattles, read on for some sound advice:

Furnace Noises

Furnace noises are normal and are the result of mechanical heating elements starting up or turning off. For example, you may commonly hear the noise of the blower starting when the heat turns on. A new or unusual noise in your furnace or heating system may be an indication that there is a problem:

  • Loud boom or rumbling – Loud, boom-like noises after the heat comes on are often caused by dirty or obstructed burner assemblies. Dirty burner assemblies require service by a qualified HVAC professional. It’s important to address these issues as soon as possible as a clogged system can be a fire hazard.
  • Squealing – A squealing noise can indicate that the blower belt is slipping or that the shaft bearings require lubrication.
  • Rumble while not running – A rumble in the furnace while the unit isn’t circulating air may be the result of a pilot light that needs adjusting.
  • Grinding noise – A grinding noise may mean that the system’s ball bearings are no longer in working order and require replacement. A HVAC technician should be contacted to do the repair and perform preventive maintenance to address any other concerns before they become problems.

Ductwork Noises

Ductwork is responsible for carrying heated and cooled air throughout the home. Unlike furnace noises, which can be pinpointed to the furnace, issues in ductwork may be heard throughout the home. Additionally, many duct systems are made of metal which can amplify noise. Common noises in ductwork include:

  • Rattling – Rattling vents typically indicate a loose attachment that may be a result of vibration. Tightening the screws on the vent should eliminate the rattling sound.
  • Pinging– Ping type noises may be the result of loose piece of metal in the ductwork. As air flows past the loose flap, it’s pushed out, then makes a pinging noise when it falls back into place. This cycle can continue as long as air is moving through the ductwork. To address, visually inspect exposed ductwork and address areas that have become unfastened.
  • Popping – Popping noises are normal and aren’t typically evidence of a larger problem. The popping noise may be the result of the ductwork expanding to handle the pressure as air moves through the system. Popping may also be experienced due to changes in temperature. For instance, cold ductwork may make a popping noise when heated air flows through it.
  • Squeaks and Squeals – Squeaks and squeals may be caused by air leaks as conditioned air escapes the ductwork. A visual inspection of exposed ducts may reveal the source of the leak so it can be repaired. Leaks are commonly found at intersections and corners of ductwork. Addressing the air leak will reduce the duct and furnace noise and increase the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Duct and Furnace Noise After a Duct Cleaning

Many homeowners will first notice duct and furnace noise after a duct cleaning. When the ductwork in a home is dirty, the system doesn’t run optimally and the ductwork isn’t under full pressure. Once the system is clean, the HVAC system will run as new and exert more pressure on the ductwork. The popping noise is the ductwork expanding to handle the additional pressure and isn’t indicative of a problem with the HVAC system.

For additional information or professional assistance diagnosing the root cause of your duct and furnace noise, contact the experts at Berkley Heating & Air Conditioning today. Our team of experienced professionals has served the HVAC needs of North Charleston, Hanahan and Mount Pleasant and the surrounding areas since 1958.

Image Provided by Shutterstock.com

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