Three Steps To Take When You Hear A Rattling Noise In Your Furnace Ducts

Rattling ducts can be one of the most annoying sounds your furnace will ever make. However, it usually doesn't mean you'll need to call in a technician for repairs, as long as you're willing to do a little work and have some duct tape handy. Here are three steps you should take when you first hear a telltale rattling sound.

1. Make sure it's not serious

If you're hearing a little clattering rattle that sounds like ducts vibrating together, you're in the right place. But if you're hearing a similar sound that doesn't come from the ducts but is in fact a rumbling or screeching sound coming from the furnace itself, you'll be better off with professional help. Make sure your sound is a duct sound.

2. Pinpoint the source and cause of the sound

Now that you're sure the sound is a rattling in your ducts, it's time to go one step further. You need to listen carefully to each length of duct, following your ears until you've found the exact spot that's making the rattling. Next, try to figure out why it's suddenly started making this sound. Examine the screws to see if any of them are loose or if any of them have dropped out. If some screws are missing, take out one of the other screws nearby and head to the local hardware store to match it. The rattling may also be due to a proximity problem, meaning the duct panel is too close to something and bangs against it when vibrating.

3. Cushion and tighten

Tighten all the screws in the area and try running the furnace again to see if that fixed the problem. If not, try padding any duct panels that are too close to some other surface. Cork works well because it can absorb vibrations, quieting the rattle. If the area you've pinpointed quiets down but you're still hearing a rattling sound, go back to step 2. You may have another section of duct that needs attention. Once you've located and cushioned all offending areas, any rattling sounds should be gone.

As you can see, the process of alleviating a duct rattle is relatively easy and can be accomplished by any homeowner with a screwdriver and enough mobility to access all the furnace ducts. If you quiet all your ducts and still hear strange furnace sounds, try calling a repair technician for a professional diagnosis and repair.

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