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$49 A/C Inspection. Ensure Your House is Cool for the SUMMER! 

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$49 A/C Inspection. Ensure Your House is Cool for the SUMMER! 

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Why Are My Air Ducts Making Popping Noises?

Have you ever been sitting in your home, enjoying a nice warm or cool breeze from your HVAC system, only to be interrupted by loud popping noises coming from your air ducts? If you have, you're not alone.


Many homeowners experience these strange and sometimes alarming popping sounds coming from their ducts, but what causes this air duct popping noise, and when should you be concerned enough to contact us at Boothe's Heating, Air, Plumbing, Drains & Electrical for repairs?


What Causes a Popping Noise from Air Ducts?

Pressure Changes

First, let's talk about what could be causing these popping sounds. One common culprit is pressure changes. As the air in your HVAC system passes through your ducts, it can cause the metal to expand and contract as it heats up and cools down. This can lead to your air ducts making popping sounds or cracking noises that are often louder in certain areas of your home, depending on where the HVAC ducts are located.


Age of Ductwork

Another cause of popping noise from your HVAC ducts is simply age and wear and tear. As your ducts get older, they can become loose or damaged, causing parts to shift or rattle against each other as the air flows through them. This can produce a popping sound similar to what you might hear if you were snapping your fingers.


Leaking Air Ducts

Duct leaks can cause a variety of problems within a ventilation system. One of the most common issues is the production of popping and banging noises emanating from air ducts. This is because air passing through a leaky spot in the ductwork can cause the surrounding air to vibrate, causing noise that can be heard throughout the house.


Duct leaks can also reduce the energy efficiency of the heating and cooling equipment, leading to higher utility bills and HVAC unit performance issues. When air is allowed to escape through a hole in the ductwork, it can cause an imbalance in air pressure throughout the system. This can result in uneven heating or cooling of different rooms, hot or cold spots in different areas of the home, and decreased indoor air quality due to insufficient ventilation.



When an air duct becomes blocked, whether it be due to a buildup of dust and debris or a foreign object lodged within the duct, this can lead to a number of unwanted noises emanating from the system. A common noise that occurs when a blockage is present in an air duct is popping or banging sounds, which can be particularly noticeable at night when other ambient sounds have subsided.


Incorrect Sizing of Air Ducts

When it comes to installing ducts properly for a heating and cooling system, it's important to take into account the size and configuration of the ductwork. Many homeowners are not aware that the size of ducts can significantly impact the performance of their heating and cooling systems. Installing the incorrect sized ducts for a home can cause many issues, including popping and other strange noises from air ducts.


When ducts are too small, it can create a buildup of pressure in the system, which results in a clicking or popping sound. These noises can occur when the heating or cooling unit turns on or off, and sometimes persist throughout the cycle of the HVAC system. Conversely, when ducts are too big, the opposite problem can result. Larger ducts lead to lower air velocity, which can cause whistling sounds from ducts or the air handler. These sounds can be especially annoying because they occur all the time the system is in use.


Duct Shape

If square or rectangular ducts are installed in a home, it can cause popping and other noises that round ducts don't produce as often. As air travels through these ducts, it generates a significant amount of pressure that causes the ducts to vibrate. These vibrations lead to popping and other noises that can be heard throughout the home, especially when the heating or cooling system is running.


The incidence of popping and other noises from square or rectangular ducts is more likely to happen when the heating or cooling system is first turned on. This phenomenon occurs as a result of the temperature changes in the ducts. As cool air passes through a warm duct, the metal of the duct contracts and makes a popping sound. Similarly, as warm air passes through a cool duct, the metal of the duct expands and creates a popping sound.


When Is a Popping Sound a Cause for Concern?

In some cases, popping noises are completely normal and nothing to worry about. If the noises are relatively quiet and occur infrequently, especially when you turn your HVAC equipment on or off, they may simply be the result of the metal expanding and contracting due to temperature changes. Similarly, creaking or popping noises can be caused by the ducts settling into place as your house shifts or settles over time.


However, if the popping noises are louder and more frequent, or if they are accompanied by other signs such as reduced airflow, strange odors, or higher energy bills, it may be time to call us at Boothe's for HVAC repairs. Popping noises can be a sign of a more serious underlying issue, such as leaks in your ducts, which can lead to reduced efficiency and higher energy costs, or even serious damage to your HVAC unit.


In general, it's always better to be safe than sorry. If you're unsure whether the popping noises coming from your ducts are normal or if they require HVAC repairs, it's best to schedule an inspection with a qualified HVAC technician at Boothe's. An HVAC technician can diagnose the problem and provide you with solutions to ensure that your HVAC system is running smoothly and efficiently, with minimal disruption to your daily routine.


Get Help with Problematic Popping Noises

While popping sounds in your air ducts can be startling and even worrisome, they don't always signal a problem. However, if you're concerned about the noises and suspect that they may be a sign of more serious issues, don't hesitate to contact us at Boothe's for HVAC repairs and peace of mind.