Furnace Fiascos Avoided

Furnace Firing Tips For First-Time Homeowners

If you're approaching your first fall and winter seasons in your own house, there are going to be a lot of firsts. From the first time you ever turn on the furnace to the first time you discover a problem, the better informed you can be. Sometimes, having the information up front can make the difference between timely repairs and complete furnace failure.

Sounds You Might Hear

Squealing noises or screeching sounds when your furnace turns on usually mean that there's an issue with the fan belt or the motor itself. This kind of noise needs immediate attention. A booming sound from the furnace isn't a problem, as it's typically due to the ductwork changing temperature, however, if it's paired with a burning smell, that may mean that you have a problem with the gas valve or a burner that's dirty. Whining is also a cause for concern because it could indicate issues with bearings or other similar problems. Make sure you call a technician right away for this type of problem. Any deep clunking sounds may mean that the belt on the furnace motor is cracked.

Chirping sounds, on the other hand, are pretty typical of a furnace in operation due to the sounds made by the heater's mechanisms when the furnace is running. Rattling sounds are also typical of most furnaces when they're cooling down. They're caused by the changes in temperature when the furnace stops generating heat. Humming sounds are standard as well, and usually only happen when the burner lights. Finally, you may hear your air ducts ping when they are cooling down. This is also not cause for concern.

Smells You Might Notice

Musty or moldy odors are not uncommon when you start a furnace for the first time during the season. These types of smells are usually caused by a dirty, musty air filter or mold growing in the drip pan. You can eliminate this problem by replacing the filter and cleaning the drip pan with a bleach or vinegar and water mixture.

Burning smells that resemble dust burning are not a cause for alarm. This usually just means that your furnace burner had a little bit of dust accumulation on it. The dust will burn off quickly and that smell will dissipate. However, if you smell a burning odor that smells electrical in nature, you need to shut the furnace off and call a technician right away. It could be a short in the furnace motor or a crack in the heat exchanger.

Contact a furnace service for more information and assistance.