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Grinding, Squealing and Screeching: Interpreting the Noises Your HVAC Makes

If something is failing or going amiss with your HVAC unit, chances are, your HVAC unit is letting you know something is not quite right. However, most of the cues come in the form of sounds that many of us may overlook. If you hear your HVAC unit grinding, squealing, screeching or squeaking, it is letting you know it needs help. I was unaware of these cues and overlooked them. It ended up costing me a lot of money in repairs. I want to make sure that does not happen to other people, so I made this website. I hope you learn how to interpret the noises your HVAC unit is making so you can get it the repairs it needs before you incur a costly repair, or worse, permanently ruin your unit for good.

Grinding, Squealing and Screeching: Interpreting the Noises Your HVAC Makes

How To Clean Gas Furnace Air Vents

by Billie Carlson

Gas furnace vents redirect the gases from your furnace outdoors to keep them from your home. If you let your vent get too dirty, it can't control the gases, which poses a health risk, and it may keep the unit from starting. It is essential to keep this part of the furnace clean to ensure health and safety. You should have no trouble cleaning the vent yourself by following these steps.

Prepare to Clean the Vents

To clean the vent, gather:

  • work gloves
  • dust mask
  • ladder cloths
  • scrub brush
  • screwdriver
  • scissors 
  • hand-held vacuum 
  • hedge clippers  

Vents are commonly curved plastic or metal pipes on the exterior wall, the foundation, or the roof of your home near the furnace. However, location, required cleaning methods, since incorrect actions may invalidate the warranty can vary. Refer to your manual to find the location and safe cleaning methods.

If you smell gas, don't run the unit, and leave the home immediately, and contact an emergency HVAC technician. This commonly indicates a blockage deep in the unit that is not accessible by hand.  Gas furnace combustion produces carbon monoxide, which commonly smells like rotten eggs.

  Remove Visible Blockages

Turn off the gas supply to the furnace. If the events are on the roof or up high, place a ladder on flat ground, and have someone hold it for you, or use a safety harness. Look for visible signs of blocked vents, which include soot, tree limbs, shrubbery, ice or snow. 

Use a damp cloth and scrub brush to remove melted snow, debris, or moisture on the vent. Cut shrubbery and remove debris, animal nests, or snow around vents located near the ground or on the roof. 

Clean Inside the Vent

Remove the vent cap screws with the screwdriver, and set parts aside. Use your hands to clean debris you can reach.

Bend a coat hanger into a hook, and reach down the vent to feel for blockages, taking care not to scratch the sides. The wire hanger should free any blockages lodge too far inside the pipe, such as leaves or sticks. Clean debris on the inside with the vacuum and rag, and replace the cap.  

It is ideal to inspect or change furnace filter while you have the event open, since debris can fall into them as well.. If the filter is reusable, soak it in soapy water overnight, rinse, and let it dry. Paper filters will need replacing, but you may be able to brush moderate dust off them. Make a schedule to inspect your vents and filters. Visit a site like http://www.accontractorspringfieldmo.com/ for more help.