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Serving the South Puget Sound and Western Washington Areas Since 1976

Serving the South Puget Sound and Southwest Washington Areas Since 1976

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Sunset Air Blog

Weird Furnace Noises and What They Mean

gas-burnerSome parts of the country may be heating up already, but we still have a good amount of cold weather left before we turn off our heaters. If you’re using a furnace to keep your home warm for the final stretch of winter, you should remain on guard for signs that the system is malfunctioning in some way. One of the most obvious signs that a furnace is experiencing issues is odd noises coming from the system. Let’s go over some of the more common noises that indicate a problem with the furnace, and what to do about them.


Inside the furnace is a part called the air handler, which is responsible for circulating air throughout the home while the system is on. The air handler motor uses a number of oiled bearings to keep friction on it as low as possible. While these bearings do a good job of keeping friction low, they do eventually wear out after years of use. The more worn out the bearings become, the more friction is imposed on the air handler. This will eventually cause the system to make a grinding sound while the furnace is running. The bearings will need to be replaced before they fail completely, lest the air handler motor overheat and burn out.

Short Cycling

If you hear your furnace turning itself on and off every couple of minutes, you might have a problem with short cycling. Short cycling is caused by heat becoming trapped in the furnace, either due to an electrical issue, a clogged air filter, or a malfunctioning air handler. Short cycling immediately prevents the furnace from heating the home as well as it should, since the system is designed to operate on heating cycles. Long term, however, the issue makes things worse by accelerating the rate at which the system wears down. If the furnace continues to short cycle over a long period of time, it will become more and more likely to break down in one way or another. Make sure that you call for repairs as soon as you hear your furnace short cycling, or else you will have to replace the system much sooner than you thought.


If you’re using a gas furnace, you might hear a booming sound when the system first activates. This is due to delayed ignition in the burner assembly, typically caused by carbon particle buildup on the jets. The more particles build up on the jets, the longer it takes them to ignite when the system starts. The jets that ignite late will burn through a large amount of gas at once, producing the booming sound. Make sure that you have a professional clear out your burner assembly if you notice this sound, as that should solve the problem.

Sunset Air provides a full range of furnace repair services throughout Puyallup, WA. If you need any help with a problem your furnace is having, we can take care of it for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our heating specialists.

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