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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

Heating System Maintenance Basics

by Billie Carlson

When it comes to caring for your appliances and cars, doing basic maintenance is vital. This includes heating system maintenance. If you have started winter where you are, you should have already covered the basics for maintenance on your furnace or heating appliance. If you have not, here are the basics you should do as soon as possible. 

Check and Change the Filter

Most heating and cooling appliances have some sort of filter. Oil burning furnaces have two filters; one for the forced air system and one for the oil line to weed out any remaining sticky clumped impurities in the oil that can cause spurts in the line of fire. If your furnace only has the air filter, that is easy enough to pull out and change. If you buy your filters one at a time (rather than by the economy pack or box), then make sure you have bought the right size filter before you swap out the old dirty filter for a cleaner new one. If you do have an oil furnace, but you do not feel comfortable checking the second filter involved, ask an HVAC technician to check this part and either clean it or replace it. 

Test the System by Opening a Door or Window

If you have not flipped on your heat yet this year, test the system by opening a door or window, and setting the thermostat to something above 72. Your system should automatically detect the colder air from the open window or door, and kick on. Feel for hot air at your heating vents. It should feel quite warm and continue to run as long as you have the heat turned on and the open door or window left open. If everything seems to be working, shut the door or window and turn the heat off. Turn your thermostat to the temperature at which you normally keep your home. 

Clean Your Vents

A lot of dust comes through forced air vents and collects on the vent openings. The dust contributes to allergies and colds in winter. Clean the vents completely, even if it means unscrewing the vents from the floors or walls to clean the backside of each vent. If possible, clean some of the air ducts that connect to the vent to prevent the immediate accumulation of more dust on the vents. Do not forget to clean the cold air return vents, too.