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Bang, Rattle, Pop: Strange Home Noises and What They Mean

Every home has its own unique collection of noises that are perfectly normal for the building. This may include the rattle of tree branches on a window in stormy weather, the subtle click of your HVAC system turning on and off, or the sound of running water as your ice maker gets to work. If you notice a noise that doesn't belong to your Indiana home's usual symphony, however, it's important to track down the source. These sounds can offer an important warning about the condition of your house.

Bubbling and Popping

This common bubbling or popping sound comes from your water heater. It may sound like something sinister is brewing inside, but the noise is actually quite common. Over time, sediment builds up on the bottom of the tank. This will happen faster if you have hard water that's rich in minerals. When your water heater tries to heat water, it has to first heat through that layer of sediment, which is what’s bubbling and popping as water bubbles try to escape.

Your water heater has to work harder than usual to heat properly with a layer of sediment on the bottom, so this isn't the ideal condition for your tank. In the short term it simply means poor energy efficiency, but over time sediment buildup can shorten the life of your system. Contact a professional to flush out your water heater and get rid of the sediment.

Metal on Metal Scraping

The harsh sound of metal scraping on metal is just as alarming as it seems. If you hear this noise coming from your HVAC unit, it probably means you have loose parts in your blower wheel. It could be anything from the blower wheel itself to the entire motor mount that's scraping and screeching in your system. Turn the system off immediately and contact your HVAC technician for a prompt repair.

Banging and Rattling

There are two times when you will typically hear a loud bang, pop, or rattle from your furnace. The first comes from the air ducts, so you may hear it anywhere in the house. This is a perfectly normal sound that happens when your air ducts expand and contract. It's common in early fall when you turn your heat on for the first time.

If the sound is a single loud bang from the furnace when it turns on, you have a bigger problem. This could be the sound of excess gas igniting when the heater turns on. This type of bang is actually a small explosion. It usually happens when dirt accumulates on the furnace burners, causing delayed ignition. Regular maintenance will prevent this problem. Any time you hear this type of bang from the furnace, you should contact a professional immediately.

Subtle Wheezing

It may take you a while to track down the source of the unsettling wheezing noise in your home. When you do, you'll probably find yourself looking at a dirty filter. If you don't change your filter regularly, it will get clogged. The results in a wheezing or even whistling noise as your HVAC system struggles to pull air through the dirt.

Fortunately, the solution is a quick and easy DIY job. Just slip out the dirty filter and slide in a clean one. This takes just seconds and is something you should plan on doing once a month going forward.

Squealing or Whining

High-pitched squeals or whines are extremely annoying, so you probably won't need much encouragement to call a technician. This sound is usually caused by a loose or damaged belt, broken blower motor, or dry shaft bearings. While you can keep running your system until you can make an appointment with a technician, you don't want to neglect this warning noise. It can lead to a bigger and more expensive problem if left untended.

If you need help identifying or eradicating unusual noises in your home, contact Comfort 24-7 at 855-GET-COMFY(855-438-2663). We can track down problems with your air conditioner or heater and get your system back in shape for quiet, safe, and efficient operation.

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