Why is my furnace clicking on and off?

by | Dec 25, 2023 | Central Heating

Furnace making clicking noises

Typically this is due to a mechanical malfunction. A clicking noise is usually caused by the furnace’s spark igniter attempting to ignite the pilot light burners. A repeated clicking noise indicates a system malfunction. This problem can be especially annoying for those of us relying on heat from our furnace system in the winter!

Typical problems that can cause furnace clicking:

  • Faulty Inducer Motor: Clicking noises are a common sign of a bad inducer motor. This can be due to dirt or soot collecting around the fan shaft. A furnace inducer motor needs to stay on while the furnace is running and bring in oxygen. A faulty inducer motor can cause tapping, humming, clicking, and vibration noises.
  • Worn Motor Bearing: This could also be a result of a bad bearing in the motor. Worn bearings in the inducer motor will cause unbalance in the motor’s wheel, and it will vibrate as it spins, potentially colliding with adjacent components.
  • Gas Valve Problems: Gas valves can experiences various causes for failure. The furnace gas valve opens and closes to allow the flow of gas to the pilot light and burners. If this valve is not operating properly your furnace pilot light may constantly try to reignite, causing a clicking noise.
  • Faulty Pilot Light: A faulty pilot light is often an indication that the thermocouple is loose or faulty. In this case it would best to tighten or replace the thermocouple. A thermocouple is a flame sensor that ensures no gas gets sent if your pilot light or main burner is not operating. You can clean rust off of the thermocouple and clean it. If cleaning your thermocouple doesn’t work you can easily replace the thermocouple too.
  • Cracked Ductwork: The ductwork in your home circulates the air from your furnace. If you notice a clicking noise near or around your furnace it’s possible the sheet metal making up your furnace has cracked. This can cause clicking or popping sounds. If your furnace is running fine but you still hear noises this may be the culprit.

Other loose gas connections or improper furnace installations can even put you at risk of a fire or furnace explosion. Although unlikely, these are real risks when dealing with gas fed appliances. It’s best to trust the services of a professional furnace installer and ticketed gas fitter when dealing with gas fed furnaces.

Furnace short cycling

Another reason a furnace might be clicking on and off is due to short cycling. This is often due to the furnace filter. You will want to ensure it is not filled with contaminants and is installed tightly facing the proper direction. If you have a dirty air filter change it, and this may resolve the issue of short cycling.

Replacing a furnace air filter is not too difficult. Generally this furnace maintenance task should be undertaken every 9-12 months. If you have a smaller furnace filter you may have to do this on a more regular basis.

Thermocouple replacement

Some furnace ignitors require a full assembly replacement inclusive of the thermocouple if you are noticing pilot light problems. Reference your manufacturer’s recommendations to see what needs to be replaced on your unit. Thermocouples are not expensive, and replacing them is indeed a DIY job if you’re up for the challenge. If not, call on a local furnace repair specialist to have a look.

Other strange noises from your furnace?

It may be time to schedule professional service for your Calgary furnace repair. Call us now to rule out emergency problems such as gas leaks. We provide furnace repair and maintenance services to the greater Calgary area.

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