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Sounds Your Heater Should (and Shouldn’t) Make


Your heater can’t use words to tell you something is wrong, but it can and does exhibit a variety of sounds when problems occur. If you listen and become familiar with the usual sounds your heater makes, it will be easy to pick up on changes and notice new, problematic noises.

What sounds does a happy heater make? What sounds indicate a problem, and can they give hints about what that problem is? How can you tell when it’s time for repairs? We’ve got answers to all those questions.

Knowing Your Heater Is Happy

In order to get a sense of what is normal and what is a sign of a problem, it’s best to start by knowing your heater is operating properly right now. Annual maintenance is the only way to be absolutely sure that your heater is running optimally, and that the sounds it’s making are the sounds of proper operation. This is usually done in autumn, but if you’ve missed the window, or haven’t had it done in years, it’s better to have it done now than to wait for next fall.

General Happy Heater Noises

While each heater is different, there are some general guidelines about what sounds indicate heating system wellness. First, the sounds should be consistent, and they should never be extremely loud. Second, there are two main sounds that most heating systems make: the hum of the system’s heating cycle, and the whoosh of air being blown through the system and out into your home. 

Unhappy Heater Noises

There are many sounds your heater might make as symptoms of problems, but key things to notice are if sounds are unexpected, sudden, or loud. Here are some of the specific things you might hear that indicate that it’s time to get heating repair in Cumming, GA.

  • Boom: This is a sudden and alarming noise, similar to the sound of a propane grill being lit. It’s from too much fuel being released before it is ignited, so that an unnecessary amount of fuel combusts all at once: BOOM!
  • Rumble: A dirty burner can cause a disconcerting rumbling noise, like a giant with indigestion. The burner is cleaned during maintenance, but if you think it might be dirty now, it’s a straightforward repair.
  • Groan or Grind: The motor in your heater contains bearings. If those wear down, it can cause unpleasant noises, but the bearings can be replaced by a qualified technician. If you allow that grinding to continue, however, it can damage the motor, which is more expensive to replace.
  • Click: Please don’t ignore this sound. With luck, it’s just a loose screw allowing a panel to wobble during the heating cycle. But it can be a sign of something much more serious: a cracked heat exchanger. This is a very critical component, both in the functionality of your heater and for the safety of your family. With a crack, toxic gasses can be released, risking carbon monoxide poisoning. If you hear clicking from your heater, make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working and call for repairs immediately. 

If you have concerns about your heater, contact DC Cheek Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today. Fixed, At the Speed of Life!

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