As we come to the close of winter, we prepare to turn off our heaters for the season and turn our attention to our air conditioners. But around here, we still have plenty of cold weather to contend with in the coming weeks. So facing a broken down heater is likely the last thing you want to do. The good news is that if you detect furnace problems early enough, you can get them repaired before they turn into an emergency, like a premature breakdown of the system.
One of the first signs that many homeowners notice when it comes to furnace problems is noise that’s not normal for the system to make. The one that is particularly concerning, for homeowners and HVAC pros alike, is a booming sound.
Why Does a Furnace Boom?
A relatively common service call we get is in regards to a furnace that is making a loud booming sound every time it starts up. What’s likely happening is that you have an issue with delayed ignition. As the burner assembly in a gas-powered furnace combusts fuel, carbon particles build up on the jets.
This might not seem like a big deal, but over time that buildup becomes severe enough that the jets will start to fire later than they should. When they finally do ignite, they have to burn through an excess of gas all at once. The booming you hear is literally a small explosion—so you can see why this is a serious problem.
Your next step should be to call one of our HVAC repair professionals right away. We’ll comprehensively clean the burner assembly in order to resolve the problem. This isn’t something you want to wait on. Even if no hazard occurs, you still run the risk of your burners becoming so clogged that they don’t ignite at all and you’re stuck with no heater when you need it the most.
Protect the Heat Exchanger
Another problem with this booming we’re discussing is that it rattles the entire furnace when it happens, which can lead to a cracked heat exchanger. This is especially true for furnaces that are 10 years old or older.
The heat exchanger is a clam-shell shaped metal component that’s responsible for actually heating the air that enters your home. It also acts as a barrier between the combustion gases and that indoor air. Therefore, if it is cracked, it will allow dangerous carbon monoxide gas into your living space.
Cracks in a heat exchanger are not visible to the naked eye. This is because as the furnace system cools off, the heat exchanger contracts. The cracks are basically a hairline fracture within the exchanger. Therefore, if you hear booming or suspect a problem with your heat exchanger, you should always call a pro to inspect the situation.
Other Noises to Pay Attention To
Booming is not the only furnace noise that should alarm you. There are other noises that indicate it’s time to call our team. These include:
- Grinding: The motor bearings may be rubbing together and need more lubrication.
- Banging: A part could be loose within the furnace.
- Hissing: You could have a refrigerant leak, which needs to be located and repaired before being recharged (refilled).