Strange HVAC Noises in Your Office Building Could Mean a Problem
A well-maintained heating and cooling system in your office building should work reliably and run quietly. A low background hum as the equipment functions or as air moves out of the ductwork should be about as loud as the system gets. However, if employees or tenants in your offices begin expressing concerns about unusual sounds in the system, it could be a sign of trouble that needs to be taken care of immediately. Here are some of the causes and sources of HVAC noises, as well as what you can do to help resolve the problem.
When someone in your office has complained of unusual or annoying sounds in the HVAC system, do your best to locate the source of the sound. You may not be able to fix the problem, but if you can narrow the noise down to a loose component, for example, you’ll be able to tell your HVAC technician. In some cases, sounds in the HVAC system are going to be made worse by outside influences. Top-floor offices, for example, are more likely to hear noises from roof-mounted HVAC systems.
Properly locating, identifying and resolving sounds in your HVAC system will probably require the assistance of a professional. In most cases, it’s best to get your HVAC service provider involved as early as possible to take care of the problem before it gets worse. Heating Systems Heating systems include furnaces, boilers and heat pumps. Furnaces and boilers that burn natural gas or other fuel to produce heat should be a particular concern when they start making unexpected noises because of the potential danger of the gas and its by-products. Here are some HVAC noises that could lead to serious problems:
- Pops, booms or other sharp noises: These sounds could indicate a potential danger as gas builds up inside the system and either explodes or burns off when the burners ignite. Dirty or clogged burners that restrict gas flow could be the cause. If these noises are occurring in your heating system, call for professional assistance immediately.
- Clicking sounds: Clicking sounds could be caused by faulty igniters or flame sensors.
- Rattling or clanging sounds: These types of noises could be caused by loose components or improperly secured access doors. Cooling Systems Air conditioners and heat pumps are the most common types of cooling systems. They contain components that could be responsible for producing unfamiliar HVAC noises.
- Hissing or “screaming” noise: Noises such as this indicate a problem with excess pressure in the compressor. The system should be shut off and your HVAC pro called for repair.
- Bubbling or hissing noise: A refrigerant leak inside the system could produce noises that sound like bubbling, hissing or spraying.
- Squeaking or squealing sounds: These sounds indicate that moving parts need to be lubricated or that belts may need to be changed. Ductwork The ductwork is the extensive network of large pipes that carry conditioned air from your HVAC system to the interior of the office. The return ductwork brings expended air back to the HVAC equipment to be filtered, reheated or recooled, and distributed again. All of the air in your office environment will eventually travel through the ductwork system.
- Clicking or ticking sounds: These sounds can be made as ductwork expands and contracts from the effects of the heated or cooled air moving through it.
- Hissing or whistling sounds: These types of sounds in the ductwork could indicate an air leak at a broken seal or loose connection. This should be corrected immediately since air leaks can waste a significant amount of the conditioned air flowing through the ductwork.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information on the causes and meaning of HVAC noises and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!