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Here’s how to troubleshoot strange furnace sounds or noisy furnace ducts

All HVAC systems, to a degree, make noise while operating. However, how do you know if these noises are normal or an indicator that something is wrong? If you’re hearing strange furnace sounds or experiencing noisy furnace ducts, it could be either business as usual or a sign of trouble. In this article, we’ll review the wide variety of sounds that your furnace and air ducts can make, and which ones should lead to you giving us a call for furnace repair here in Buffalo and Western New York.

Start by ruling out potential furnace problems

Before you start thinking about what sounds are coming from your ducts, you’ll want to rule out that the sounds are coming from your furnace. There are several different furnace sounds that signal potential trouble. Here’s why you need to keep an ear out for popping, screeching, and rattling.

For help diagnosing noisy furnace ducts in your home, call the professionals at Reimer.

For help diagnosing noisy furnace ducts in your home, call the professionals at Reimer.

Popping Sounds

The sound of a loud “pop” coming from the furnace could be a sign that the furnace is igniting too much gas in the combustion chamber. In most cases, the root cause of this issue is a defective gas valve or dirty burners. Basically, what you’re hearing is a (small) explosion inside of the furnace.

This is something that you’ll want to get checked out by a gas furnace professional. Eventually, the furnace flame sensor—a safety mechanism that checks for the presence of a flame to ignite the gas—may kick in, shutting down your furnace.

Screeching Sounds

A loud screeching sound is not a natural part of a furnace’s cycle. It’s probably an issue with the blower fan’s belt. As these belts age and wear, they begin to fray and cause strange sounds. If you’re hearing a distinctive screech coming from your furnace, it’s probably not something you want to ignore for too long. Call our team and have us out to inspect the system.

Rattling Sounds

Chances are that you do not have a rattlesnake in your furnace, so the likely culprit of a rattle is something that is loose. The furnace produces a harmless low-frequency hum while in operation. Anything that’s loose—from screws and components to the heat exchanger itself—could start rattling from this natural vibration. Again, this is something you’ll want one of our technicians to help you diagnose. The rattling of a loose part is typically an early warning for an impending breakdown.

Diagnosing the sounds made by noisy furnace ducts

Now that you’ve eliminated the possibility that the noise could be generated by your furnace, it’s time to turn your attention to your ducts. Here are some of the most common sounds made by noisy furnace ducts while your heater is running.

Banging Sounds

Once you’ve ruled out the sound coming from the furnace itself, the next likely explanation of a loud popping or banging sound is the ducts. As hot air enters a cold duct, the metal expands and warps in response to the sudden temperature change. This leads to the metal “banging” as it shifts into place. This same phenomenon occurs when a duct, once filled with hot air, cools down after the furnace has been shut off. This sound is pretty harmless, and it’s natural to hear it whenever your furnace turns on or off.

Rattling Sounds

The rattling noise is most often caused by loose metal ducts that tend to knock against one another. This could be a sign that your ducts have leaks or gaps between them, which will ultimately have a negative impact on the performance and efficiency of your heating system. As ducts age, the connective sealing between them begins to deteriorate or loosen. This isn’t going to cause a breakdown or anything, but it’s still worth having a Reimer technician look into this winter.

Vibrating Sounds

A sound of vibrating or shacking of the duct walls normally occurs due to the blockage of the return side airflow. This usually happens due to a clogged filter that results in a drop in the air pressure that makes the duct walls vibrate and shake.

Booming Sounds

A loud booming noise coming from the ducts typically emanates from the plenum where all the ducts meet. This connecting point tends to endure the greatest swings in temperature. Inadequate expansion of joints or dampers contributes to the noise. What you’re hearing is a loud boom echoing through the supply ducts.

Whistling Sounds

In some cases, you can hear a whistling or rumbling noise emanating from the ductwork. The whistling noise is normally caused due to excessive airflow through the ducts. On the other hand, the rumbling noise could be due to pressure differences between the supply and the return ducts.

Call Reimer to have our team diagnose noisy furnace ducts

When it comes time to care for your furnace or your ducts, make sure that you hire an experienced and licensed furnace technician. An experienced technician will expertly identify and resolve all kinds of furnace problems due to which you can spend the entire winter months in total comfort and warmth.

At Reimer Home Services, our experienced techs are ready to assist you with diagnosing strange furnace noises and the source of noisy furnace ducts. Contact us today to schedule service here in Buffalo and Western New York.

Indoor air quality testing from Reimer

The air you breathe matters, no matter where you are. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why indoor air quality testing is so important to your family’s health, and what it might find in your home’s air.

Invisible, but important

When your air conditioner stops working in the summer, you’ll know it because your home will get hot. When your furnace stops working in the winter, you’ll know it because your home will get cold. However, when your home’s air ducts begin transporting air filled with dust, pollutants, bacteria, and who knows what else, how will you know? It’s possible for your home’s heating and cooling systems to be working just fine, yet the indoor air quality in your home is suffering.

Air Duct Cleaning Can Also Help | Indoor Air Quality Testing

Cleaning your air ducts is one of the most common recommendations from indoor air quality testing.

The good news is that the team at Reimer Heating, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing can help you identify potential problems with indoor air quality testing. This professional assessment of your home’s state will find any major red flags and let you know what’s coming in from the outside. Our report doesn’t just show you what’s wrong and then leave: instead, we take the time to review multiple mitigation strategies for correcting issues, so that your home’s air is clean and good to breathe in. Keep reading to learn more about indoor air quality and what we look for when testing.

Why should you get indoor air quality testing?

Indoor air quality matters. On a daily basis, you likely spend more time in your home than anywhere else: after all, think about all the hours you spend sleeping there alone. That’s a lot of breathing. Now, imagine that your place of work also has questionable indoor air quality. You’re lungs are taking in a lot of bad air.

If your home’s air is full of dust and allergens and you’re sensitive to allergies, you’re going to be a coughing, sneezing, water-running mess in the one place where you should expect some relief. If your home’s air ducts are spewing out bacteria and viruses, your chances of getting sick go up significantly.

This isn’t superstition. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a number of other organizations agree that poor indoor air quality is, at best, a nuisance to your comfort, aggravating allergies and causing more sneezing. At worst, as in the case of radon infiltration (more on that later), it can pose a significant risk to you and your family’s health. Indoor air quality testing is the only way to be sure the air you’re breathing is healthy and free of harmful material.

Ok, what’s in my home’s air?

While each home may have different particulate matter, here are some of the things our indoor air quality test specifically looks for:

  • Allergens: These include pollen, pet dander, and far more. If your eyes are watering and your nose is running with no other signs of sickness, allergens may be to blame. You can probably expect your symptoms to spike when you walk outside, but if you’re miserable indoors, too, it might be a sign that your air filter is insufficiently filtering out particulates. Don’t just treat this with allergy-suppressant medication. Instead, consider indoor air quality testing to tackle the problem at its source.
  • Pollutants: Like allergens, you’d expect to find these outside. Produced by automobile exhaust and industrial smog, this form of pollution can get into your home and linger there. The impact of pollutants may be greater if you haven’t taken any mitigation steps.
  • Bacteria and Viruses: Floating on the wind, airborne illnesses can be carried into your home through your HVAC system and your ductwork, where they can infect you and your family. Instead of taking sick days, consider having Reimer test for airborne contaminants and installing a solution, such as a device that exposes incoming air to cleansing UV rays.

It’s also possible that your air conditioner is to blame for some of the poor-quality air coming into your home, especially is entrances to the ducts are dusty or there’s been a build-up of dirt and grime. Learn more about air conditioning maintenance from Reimer.

What is radon?

Deep within the earth, uranium is very, very slowly decaying—some variations of this element have a half-life of 4.5 billion years. As the uranium decays, some of it turns into a radioactive gas. This gas, the element radon, moves up through the earth into the atmosphere. However, it can often become trapped in sources of groundwater and in homes, where it presents a potential danger to humans and other living things.

The surface of the earth is home to radon, and chances are that you’re breathing a very small amount of it in right now. In this way, radon is present in every home or building and is considered a form of background radiation. However, when the amount of radon jumps from that baseline to an elevated level, it becomes a threat. Highly radioactive, radon attaches itself to dust particles and is readily breathed in by living things, where it can cause cancers to form in the human body. In fact, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, behind smoking.

Increased radon exposure varies by geographical area and can impact any type of home, ranging from a new home to an older one. However, homes with tight crawlspaces or basements may be especially vulnerable, as they present areas where radon can become trapped and concentrate without much capacity to be released.

Reimer offers radon testing as a part of our indoor air quality tests, and our technicians are qualified to advise you on mitigation methods for removing radon buildup. Give us a call to learn more about this, or check out the EPA’s guide to radon exposure. It’s not a bad idea to get your home checked, just for the peace of mind factor alone.

How can I schedule indoor air quality testing?

Give Reimer a call. Our team can help you determine what’s in your home’s air, and provide you with advice and solutions for removing pollutants, allergens, and other, more serious hazards. Contact us today to learn more!