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Problem: My furnace is making a howling noise only in the winter time?

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Problem:  I have Rheem furnace/ac unit, in the winter when it is in the heat mode I’ve noticed a howling sound ( the last couple of years) coming from one of the ducts. I looked online but can’t find a resolution. The sound is not present when in the A/C mode everything sounds normal. Might you have any suggestions.

Answer:The only things that I can think of that might cause a howling sound would be (1) Return registers sometimes cause a howling sound when too much air is trying to be drawn through the register. I would suggest making sure all the returns are clean and not obstructed. You might try taking off one of the registers off and see if the howling stops. I have had this howling happen to me before when I installed a new furnace with a larger blower. Too much air was being drawn through the returns and it sounded awful. I had to install another return to eliminate the problem. Since your noise occurs in the winter time it probably is not a return air problem because the motor pulls more air in the AC mode and less air in heating mode. So the too much air theory is probably out. (2) Another problem might be a blower motor that has a weak run capacitor. In the winter time the blower motor runs on a lower speed. If the capacitor is weak and the motor is running in heating mode at low speed then this will cause a howling sound in the motor. You might want to have your blower motor capacitor tested. Sometimes small appliance parts stores will test capacitors free of charge. (3) another cause of howling might be too much gas pressure if you have a gas furnace or a stopped up gas orifice. I would suggest seeing if the noise is only present when the gas is on or not. If the furnace is howling when the gas is on then you might need to adjust the gas pressure of clean out the gas orifices. That is about all I can think might cause the problem. I hope you can find the problem I hope that you have a great day!

Steve Arnold,

8 thoughts on “Problem: My furnace is making a howling noise only in the winter time?

  1. Great response, thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so very much for reading and for your kind words! Steve

      1. Thank you for your suggestions Steve and your advice worked out well for me and my wife, you are a lifesaver.

      2. Hi Barry! Thank you so very much for your kind words! I sure am glad to hear that I was able to help you out. God Bless You and Your Family Today and Always! Steve

  2. This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that a weak run capacitor can cause a howling sound coming from your furnace. I’ve noticed this problem happening for me, and I haven’t been able to figure out what’s causing it. I’ll definitely look into having a professional come to see if the run capacitor is having issues. Thanks for the great post!

    1. Hi Ms. Schaeffer! Thanks so much for your kind words. If you can turn the power off to your furnace and take the capacitor off many times an appliance parts place will test capacitors for free. This could also be caused by a blower motor bearing that is going out. I hope it is the capacitor which would be an inexpensive easy fix. Hope you have a great day! Steve

      1. My heat was also making a howling noise this winter. Tried closing all vent & returns one at a time to no avail, it kept getting worse. Was driving me crazy. Finally figured it out. Water in tub trap in bath we don’t use must have evaporated and air was blowing through it causing howling. Ran water through it, problem solved 👍

      2. Fantastic Peter! Glad to hear that you found and fixed the problem! Thanks so much for sharing this information! I have never heard of the howling coming from a drain trap! Ha! So glad you found it and let us know the solution! God bless you and your family today and always! Steve

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