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Furnace, Water Heater & BBQ Noises

Is the gas regulator in your furnace, hot water heater or barbecue creating a hissing, buzzing, humming or other noise?

You may want to check out some of the suggestions below to try and isolate the noise.

Similar noises in furnaces and water heaters may also be due to faulty relays, transformers, blower motor bearings, loose mounting hardware, duct-work vibration, gas leaks, etc.

Examples of Furnace Noises:

  1. Image of Furnace Firing Equipment Hissing – Caution: this maybe indicative of a gas leak. If you notice a skunky or rotten egg smell see our article on Natural Gas & Propane Gas Leaks
  2. Humming, vibrating or buzzing gas valves/regulators indicates a potential problem. If this is a persistent and ongoing problem, have a qualified expert address this issue prior to the regulator failing and you are without heat.
  3. Vibration noises from ductwork, loose components or improperly installed furnace doors.
  4. It is normal for relays & transformers to produce a limited humming sound. If this becomes excessive we recommend replacing the components
  5. Blower motor & blower fan bearing Call a qualified expert to have these components replaced prior to a major heating system failure. This is one issue that tends to raise its head during the coldest part of the winter.

Examples of Natural Gas Water Heater Noises:

  1. Image of Water Heater gas valve and regulatorHissing – Caution: this maybe indicative of a gas leak. If you notice a skunky or rotten egg smell see our article on Natural Gas & Propane Gas Leaks
  2. Humming, vibrating or buzzing gas valves/regulators indicates a potential problem. If this is a persistent and ongoing problem, have a qualified expert address this issue prior to the regulator failing and you are without hot water.
  3. Clicking noises are normal during the ignition phase of gas fired water heaters and gas fired tankless water heaters that use electronic ignition systems.
  4. Hot water piping can also create ticking and squeaking noises if the piping has been routed through tight openings. You may also experience water hammer noises when household valves are closed.
  5. Scale buildup in the bottom of natural gas water heaters can create banging, popping or cracking sounds.
  6. Condensation or a tank water leak, dripping on the burner may cause a crackling sound.
  7. Bearing noises for water heater systems that utilize a blower motor (i.e. power vented).

Grill – BBQ Noises:

Image of BBQ Gas RegulatorCaution: a hissing noise may also be indicative of a gas leak. For our article on Natural Gas & Propane Gas Leaks for action steps.

You suspect that the propane gas regulator is buzzing or humming.  You may notice this condition all the time or intermittently. It may occur when the outside temperature is very warm, there is a change in relative humidity or there is high gas flow through the regulator.

Try reducing the gas flow through the regulator. Turn your grill burners down, possibly to the low setting.  You should notice a frequency or volume change in the buzzing/humming sound. It may stop all together. This is a very good indication that there is a gas regulator problem.

If this is an intermittent issue you may feel comfortable leaving the regulator intact.

If this is a prolonged ongoing issue, then we would suggest replacing the regulator due to a potential failure. It is possible for the regulator diaphragm to fail over time. Another reason to change out the regulator is due to the annoying noise being generated.

Various reasons for regulator noise may be improper mixing of the gas and air, air trapped in the gas piping, dirt/debris in the regulator or a faulty regulator. Also check the burner nozzle air inlet to ensure it is not partially blocked.

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