When you’ve been using your gas-powered furnace flawlessly all winter long, and then suddenly you start hearing unusual noises coming from it, you may be alarmed. Sure, you expect to hear some noise when your furnace starts running—you’ll hear it cycle on and of course you’ll hear the whoosh of warm air coming through your vents.
What you shouldn’t be hearing though, is a boom shortly after the furnace turns on. What does this mean? More on that below.
Delayed Combustion in the Combustion Chamber
The booming sound you hear is the sound of unburned gas in the combustion chamber suddenly burning up at one time. The combustion gas from the jets is not supposed to build up in the chamber, but instead, ignite right away. The booming sound indicates that something is preventing the timely ignition of the gas jets, so more combustible gas ignites than is actually normal. This isn’t how a furnace is supposed to run, and can lead to potential safety hazards.
One reason this can occur is due to problems with the electronic ignition system. Standing pilot lights are no longer the standard way for modern furnaces to light the gas from gas jets. Instead, electronic ignition systems, like hot surface igniters or intermittent pilot lights are used for the job.
If the igniter isn’t coming on right away, it allows for a buildup of combustion gasses. Furnaces are designed with a safety mechanism if the igniter doesn’t come on at all, which will shut off the gas flow. However, you might still experience some buildup. The igniter needs to be replaced to retain the functionality of your furnace and prevent further damage.
Another common cause for delayed burners is due to an accumulation of particles and grime along the burners that can happen if your furnace isn’t regularly maintained and cleaned each year. What happens is that it restricts the burners’ ability to access oxygen and ignite. Carbon builds up naturally over the years, which is why we mention maintenance. To fix this problem, you’ll need professional technicians to come in and clean the burners. They may need to remove the burners to do so depending on how long they’ve gone without care.
Only Trust the Professionals for Your Furnace Care
You should never attempt furnace repair on your own. Nor should you trust an amateur for the job—especially when dealing with a gas-powered system. Natural gas furnaces are potentially hazardous to work on for anyone who lacks professional training, experience, and licensing. In fact, it’s actually illegal in most jurisdictions for anyone without a license to work on an appliance connected to a gas main.
It may sound as if the problem with a buildup on a burner is easy to repair by cleaning it, but how will you know if it’s thoroughly cleaned? Also, because sometimes the burners need to be detached from the furnace, damage can occur. Let our pros take on this job! We’ll do it effectively and safely.