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Question DetailsAsked on 11/16/2015

Random clicking sound in return vent - normal? Who to contact about it?

Every other time my heat is running, I'll hear a clicking sound coming from our return vent in the ceiling. Doesn't happen all the time, and usually only once during the heat session, most of the time at the end or middle to end. My husband said it almost sounds electrical, but we don't think it is, just trying to figure out a way to describe the sound.
Not sure if this is normal at all, or if not, who to contact. Furnace, HVAC, Electrician, etc.

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Assuming sheet metal ducts in forced air system here.

Likely one of two things - creaking ducts as they expand and contract - commonly described as a snap, pop, ping, metallic scraping, or dull or sheet-metal warble metallic thud. Can happen with cooling and heating but because heating temp differential is about twice as high, usually more pronounced (or only) with heating.

One other possibility is an in-line electric solenoid-controlled or motor-controlled damper in the ducting, kicking in or out as that zone reaches desired temp. Would be exposed at some point in system for maintenance - basement, attic, whatever.

If intermittent, and you can tolerate it, probably let it go. If consistent enough it can be reproduced reliably (by turning system on and off), then a Heating and A/C contractor would be your logical vendor.

If you can access the attic (if that is where return duct runs) you could have one person turn system on and off (like by temporarily cranking the thermostat up higher each time) while the other stays near the ducts and listens for the source - you might just be able to wedge some insulation or foam packing material against the duct where the noise is being generated if due to it moving against joists or studs or another duct or whatever. IF due to a joint moving, some short sheet metal screws to pull it tight might solve the problem.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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