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Strange Sounds From Your Heater: What Do They Mean?


The heating system that keeps your home comfortable during the cold of winter makes sounds you find familiar—they’re simply part of the season. Modern furnaces, heat pumps, and boilers are designed to run with minimum noise, and for the most part, you won’t pay much attention to the sounds your heater makes. 

When you do need to pay attention because the sounds coming from the heater are loud and/or unusual, it likely indicates something is wrong. Strange noises often warn that you need to call for heater repair in Cherry Hill, NJ

Below we’ll look at a list of some of the more common warning sounds from heating systems and what they portend. When in doubt, always call our professionals to investigate and see if the heater needs to be repaired.

Mechanical screeching and grinding

You might hear this sound coming from any heating system that uses motors, which includes any forced-air system (furnaces, heat pumps). These noises indicate a motor that’s either about to fail because its bearings are worn down (screeching) or a motor that’s burning out (grinding). You’ll need technicians to either replace the bearings or replace the motor. 

Hissing and bubbling

These sounds are common warnings in heat pumps of a refrigerant leak. The hissing is gaseous refrigerant, and the bubbling is liquid refrigerant. If you ignore these sounds, you may soon be stuck with a broken heat pump because of a burnt-out compressor. 

Continual loud clicking

Clicking is a normal sound from most heating systems when the heater starts up. But loud clicking that happens continually can point toward several problems. In gas-powered furnaces and boilers, it might be a cracked heat exchanger. It can indicate electrical problems, such as failing capacitors or dirty relays. It’s a common sign of hard-starting in a heat pump. Get the help of technicians to diagnose the cause of the clicking sounds.

Clanging and banging

Sharp, loud noises like this are alarming when they happen—and they should be, since they often mean a major mechanical part is misaligned or bent, or there’s a loose part bouncing around inside the heater. Anything that makes this type of noise is causing damage to the heater, so shut the system off and call for repairs right away. 


This is a general electrical failure noise, and it can come from any type of heating system. For gas-powered systems, this might be a failure in the control board or a short in a motor. With heat pumps, this may be a warning that the compressor is burning out. 


Gas-powered furnaces or boilers can make abrupt noises, which sounds like a sudden and violent rush of air. What this likely means is delayed burner ignition. Too much unburned gas is building up inside the combustion chamber, so when the burners finally ignite, a large amount of gas ignites at once, creating the air displacement that makes this noise. Have technicians investigate as soon as possible the source for the delayed ignition, as you don’t want this problem to become harmful.

Make the Wise Choice, choose the home of the lifetime repair guarantee: Gibson Heating & Cooling!

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