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Strange Noises and Scary Smells: Happy Halloween From Your Furnace

Halloween Trick-Or-Treating

Burr! Waking up to a cold home on a chilly October morning is never fun. Unfortunately, it appears that the cold weather has arrived to the St. Louis area just in time for Halloween. These cooler temperatures may have you running to your furnace for warmth and comfort. But wait! What’s that sound? Where is that smell coming from? Should your furnace be what you’re truly afraid of this Halloween?

Is Your Furnace the Scariest Thing in Your Home?

Boom, Bang, POP!

Do you notice a boom, bang or popping sound when your heating system kicks on? There are a few reasons for these noises and some are more worrisome than others. For example, your metal ductwork may swell and contract as your heating system turns off and on which often causes a loud popping sound.

A banging sound can also be caused by your ductwork swelling and contracting. However, flimsy hardware and ducts improperly installed or ill-fitting can also cause this unsettling racket. There may also be more serious reasons behind that bang or boom when your system kicks on. If dust and dirt have built up on your system, you might be hearing an ignition delay.

Additionally, issues with your burner assembly, an improperly functioning pilot light or even a dirty burner may affect the speed of your ignition. This delay, even a small one, can cause gas to accumulate so that when your furnace does finally light, the built-up gas can cause a small explosion. These tiny explosions can lead to the noise you hear when your furnace kicks on and over time, your heat exchanger can become damaged by these recurring explosions. A damage heat exchanger can lead to an expensive repair or to you needing a whole furnace altogether.

If you are hearing a banging sound when your furnace starts it is best to have one of our highly trained technicians out to your home to inspect your ignition, ductwork and heating system as a whole to discover the cause of these terrifying sounds.

Scraping and Rattling

Banging and popping noises are alarming enough but what is that scraping sound keeping you awake at night? This ruckus can be caused by a few issues. Scraping could mean that parts of your furnace or ductwork are broken or a little loose.

Your blower wheel maybe to blame for the scraping. It may have come loose from the motor shaft or it could be broken or there is an issue with the motor mount. A scraping sound is often a sign that your furnace is in distress and in need of professional help!

If the scraping doesn’t terrify you, perhaps that strange rattling will. A rattling or flapping noise coming from your ductwork may sound scary but it is often not a major cause for concern. The rattling is most likely caused by items that have fallen into your registers or vents. Tiny objects can easily slip into your vents if they happen to be on the floor and rattle around when your furnace kicks on. You can often remove these items yourself if you’re able to remove your register or you can turn to our team for a thorough cleaning of your ductwork.


That strong burning order when you first turn on your furnace each season is hard to ignore. Fortunately, this smell often isn’t as scary as it first seems. Dust and dirt builds up on your heating system over the spring and summer months and when you finally flip on your furnace, all of that debris burns off. This smell shouldn’t last long assuming you have kept up with your furnace maintenance and changed your filter regularly, you likely won’t have any reason to worry about this odor.

What Odors Should You Be More Afraid Of?

If the initial burning smell is stronger then normal or doesn’t go away, you may have a damaged or broken electrical component or clogged vent. When this happens your first step should be to turn off your furnace and inspect your vents to see if there something causing the burning smell. Crayons, children’s toys, plastic material, etc. can melt when the heat runs through your ductwork leading the burning smell to linger. If you cannot locate the reason behind the odor, call us at to have one of our technicians locate and repair the issue for you.

If you smell smoke or oil you need to turn off your furnace immediately and give us a call. These odors often mean that your heating system needs help right away in order to function properly and safely.

Be Safe And Happy Halloween
From All Of Us At
Academy Air!


Call On The Experts At Academy Air
For All Of Your Heating, Cooling, Plumbing
and Electrical Needs At 
or visit us at AcademyAir.com

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