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Why is My Commercial Heater Making Weird Noises?

BurnersHopefully, you’ve already had your commercial heater tuned-up by a contractor you trust this season. It’s always a good idea to make sure that your system receives proper maintenance before seasons when it’s going to be put under a lot of stress. Even if you have had that done, though, you can’t sit back and neglect the heater. Preventive maintenance can reduce the odds of a problem occurring significantly, but it can’t completely prevent issues from occurring. One of the most common signs that a commercial heating system is malfunctioning is if it starts making unusual noises. Read on for some common noises that indicate a problem, and what they mean.


If you’re using a forced air heater, then the system has an air handler of some kind. This is the part that’s actually responsible for circulating air throughout the building during operation. Air handlers are put under a lot of stress while the system is operating, so most of them make use of oiled bearings to help reduce the friction on them. Eventually, these bearings will start to wear down and the friction on the air handler will increase. If you hear a grinding noise coming from your heater, it’s a good idea to call for repairs as soon as possible. If you wait, there’s a chance the air handler will burn out.


Gas-burning heating systems can often develop a problem with delayed ignition, which can cause a loud booming sound when the system first activates. This is the result of the burner assembly jets becoming clogged with carbon particles over time, making them ignite later and later than they should. When the delayed jets finally ignite, they burn through a bunch of gas at once. That’s what makes the booming sound. Professional cleaning should resolve the issue, but you should have it done sooner rather than later. If the carbon buildup is allowed to continue, it could eventually become bad enough to prevent the jets from firing at all.

Short Cycling

Short cycling is a behavior in which the system turns itself off before it has a chance to complete a full heating cycle. This often manifests as the heater turning itself on and off every couple of minutes. There are a number of different problems caused by short cycling, the first of which is that it severely limits the amount of heat the system can generate. The second problem is that short cycling increases the rate at which the system accumulates wear and tear. The longer a system is allowed to short cycle, the more likely it will be to break down. Short cycling also tends to shorten the effective lifespan of the heater by a number of years. If you hear your system short cycling, you should call for repairs for it as soon as you can.

Magnolia Commercial Plumbing Heating Cooling provides comprehensive commercial heating repair services in Baltimore, MD. If you need help with your commercial heater, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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