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5 Sounds of a Malfunctioning Furnace

One of the easiest ways to identify that your furnace is having problems is by paying attention to the sounds it makes. There are some sounds that your furnace will make as a part of its normal operation cycles. But other sounds – usually ones that are loud, alarming, or persistent – can indicate something is going wrong with the system.

We are highlighting five sounds that you don’t want to hear your furnace making. If you hear any of these sounds, you need to give our team a call for heating repair in Riverside. You can keep reading to learn more about five unusual furnace sounds and what they mean.


This is one of the more dangerous sounds that you can hear coming from your furnace. If you have a gas furnace, booming can indicate that there is an issue with the combustion process. Your furnace releases gas into the heat exchanger, where a flame lights to create heat that transfers into your home. 

But if too much gas gets released into the chamber, then when the light ignites it can cause a small explosion. This explosion puts a lot of pressure on the heat exchanger and can lead to the heat exchanger cracking as it happens again over time. The cracked heat exchanger allows carbon monoxide fumes and exhaust air to leak out into your home instead of the system being airtight.


Rattling can be less alarming, although it is usually very persistent. Rattling can indicate that the ductwork attached to your furnace is coming loose, especially if you hear the rattling continue on through an entire heating cycle. Brief rattling for a few seconds is less alarming because it can mean that the thin material is expanding or contracting with temperature changes.

But rattling can also mean that small components inside your furnace are loose and moving around freely inside. For example, maybe a screw is not tightened all the way down and rattles gently against the side. This may not seem like a huge deal, but it can be when it breaks free completely. 


Banging is a lot like rattling because it indicates that something inside of your furnace is loose. But in the case of banging, it’s usually a larger component causing the sound. Rattling is serious, but banging can be more problematic because a larger component can do more damage if it is loose and moving around. 


If you hear a clicking sound coming from your furnace for a few seconds when the heating cycle starts up, that is expected. Clicking is how you know your furnace is turning on to begin a heating cycle. But if the clicking continues on and on, it can be a red flag that your furnace is struggling to operate the way it was made to. Clicking is especially concerning when your furnace won’t turn on at all.


If you hear a squealing sound coming from your furnace, it can be for a couple of different areas. One of the most common reasons for squealing is a belt that loosens up and causes friction as it rotates. It is important to replace a loose belt before it breaks off completely because then it can do more damage inside of your furnace.

You may also hear a squealing noise if airflow is restricted somewhere inside of your furnace. Air that is being forced through a small opening can make a whistling or squealing sound. Airflow problems can add a lot of strain to your furnace and even increase your energy costs as a unit tries to work harder to produce results for your home.

Each of these sounds presents unique problems for your furnace that need to be addressed right away. When left alone, these problems will worsen until your furnace stops working completely, so we encourage you to be proactive and call us right away when you hear any of these five sounds..

Contact RKM Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment with us. Done Right, Priced Right.

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