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Rick
Rick, HVAC Supervisor
Category: HVAC
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Experience:  40+ yrs. experience as a licensed oil & gas technician.
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Why is my gas furnace making a buzzing sound?

Resolved Question:

My gas furnace is making a humming/buzzing sound and it has a slight odor of burning plastic. It started a couple of days ago. It even does it when the unit isn't running. It doesn't seem to be coming from the transformer. It seems intermittent. I mainly use a wood furnace to heat our house so the gas one sees little use. It's 10 years old. Now last night the gas water heater wouldn't light. Went through start up try 3 times then shut off. Tried this several times. The code it trips says it may be due to low gas pressure? I shut the gas off to our furnace and tried the water heater again last night but it wouldn't start. This morning, I tried the water heater again and it started up fine right away and has been running well. Gas to furnace still shut off. I'm worried the buzzing sound in the furnace might have something to do with a gas leak or something? Does that make any sense? It seemed like the hot water heater wasn't getting gas. Why would both of these problems start occurring so close together. It has been extremely cold here for the last few days. Any ideas?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Rick replied 4 years ago.

Rickheatdoc :

Welcome to Just Answer

The buzzing is probably from a weak relay, virtually no chance it has anything to do with a gas leak

JACUSTOMER-irm97x3q- :

And the smell of burning plastic?

Rickheatdoc :

You can't judge the gas pressure by whether the other appliances work or not

JACUSTOMER-irm97x3q- :

Would cold weather affect the gas supply to my house? Seems odd that I had trouble with the hot water heater and furnace almost simultaneously

Rickheatdoc :

Depends on where you live

JACUSTOMER-irm97x3q- :

The furnace runs OK, just makes that buzzing sound, occasionally

Rickheatdoc :

Some old cities have marginal gas pressure at the street when demand is high. The supply pressure can drop to unacceptable levels

JACUSTOMER-irm97x3q- :

The hot water heater going through those cycles is what made me wonder if there was something going on with my gas supply

Oh that makes sense. I'm sure the demand is high being it's -10 without wind chill here the last couple days.

If it matters, my line is at the end. I'm on a dead end road. We live about 300 feet off the road too

Rickheatdoc :

Could be a low pressure problem, distance from the street shouldn't matter

JACUSTOMER-irm97x3q- :

I was worried because I've never seen the hot water heater go through that cycle before like that. I've lived in this same house for 11 years. Water heater is only a year and a half old.

Maybe I'll call the gas company to see if they have had any other complaints. It sounds like it is just coincidence that I had these two appliance issues within 2 days of each other then, huh?

Rickheatdoc :

Could be inadequate gas pressure

If you are on a newer high pressure gas main your regulator could have froze

JACUSTOMER-irm97x3q- :

Would a relay be something easy for me to replace?

If the regulator froze, the hot water heater wouldn't have worked this morning I'm assuming?

Rickheatdoc :

Maybe, but a Lennox Pulse is a strange animal, I'd leave it to a pro

Another maybe, the regulator could be malfunctioning in the low outdoor temps

It is outside if you have one

JACUSTOMER-irm97x3q- :

Is the regulator my responsibility or the gas company's to check

Rickheatdoc :

Gas company's responsibility

JACUSTOMER-irm97x3q- :

I should have someone come out to look at my furnace. It's been a few years since it has been checked, but I only use it when I'm gone during the winter because of our wood stove being our main heating source

Could probably use a good cleaning too I suppose.

Rickheatdoc :

Sounds like a good idea

Do you have any more questions?

JACUSTOMER-irm97x3q- :

Does a tech generally qualified to check my furnace have the ability to check on my hot water heater too if that continues to cycle off on me?

Rickheatdoc :

Possibly, you should ask when you call for service.

JACUSTOMER-irm97x3q- :

Ok, thanks.

Rickheatdoc :

You are welcome
Thanks for using Just Answer

JACUSTOMER-irm97x3q- :

Have a good weekend.

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