As a working appliance in your home, your radiators can produce various noises when turned on. Just like an oven or a microwave in your kitchen, any noise will usually indicate its use, but now and again you may hear something new that you cannot explain as easily. In the same way a strange noise from your kitchen may cause alarm (especially in the middle of the night!), a radiator making noises may perplex you.
Fortunately, rather than it being some form of unexplained, paranormal activity, there is usually a simple explanation behind it. If you have ever wondered “why is my radiator making noises?”, here we’ll explain some common ones, what they mean, and what you can do to resolve them for good.
Why Do Radiators Make Noise – The Causes
Maybe you have experienced all of the noises that are most common from a single or double panel radiator, some hopefully less than others. If you haven’t or your radiators are completely silent, have you checked that they are on? If they are and working, here are some you may hear:
Clicking – one that many will be familiar with is the sound of intermittent clicking. This can also sound like creaking too, especially when heating up. It usually isn’t loud and only for a few seconds, but it is nothing to worry about. A clicking radiator is most commonly a result of the metal expanding when hot water rushes into the system. You may find it also does this when cooling when the metal contracts and returns to normal.
Banging – whilst sounding louder than clicking, if a radiator making noise is similar to banging, this may indicate a build-up of limescale. The banging noise may sound like the inside of the radiator is being hit, but usually it’s an issue with the central heating system in general. This is also referred to as kettling.
Gurgling/bubbling – any strange gurgling noises, if definitely not from someone else in the room, will indicate the radiator is experiencing trapped pockets of air. Due to water flowing in and out of your radiators, it can be common for air to become trapped within your radiators, causing a bubbling or gurgling effect.
Running water – if you hear the sound of running water flowing and there are no taps turned on nearby to explain it, it could mean one of two things; there is either trapped air causing issues with the flow of water, or there is a leak somewhere.
Radiator Making Noise? Here’s What to Do
Whichever type of noise you hear emitted from your metal radiators, most can be solved easily. Whilst they don’t always indicate a major problem, it’s best to deal with any strange noises sooner rather than later.
Clicking/Warping Noises – out of all the noises you may hear, clicking or creaking is quite normal and is a natural reaction to the hot water flowing against the cold metal of the radiator. There isn’t anything you can do to stop this from happening.
Banging/Kettling Noises – common in hard water areas mostly around London and the South East of the country, banging noises can be resolved in a couple of ways. If it is already a severe problem, then you will need to call out an engineer to look into it. Draining your central heating system can resolve it, and this is something you can do yourself with the right tools and radiator accessories. Once the water is flushed out, you can also look to add a radiator inhibitor to prevent future build-ups.
Gurgling Noises – as this is due to trapped air pockets within the system, bleeding the radiator is the best way to resolve this. Doing this regularly will ensure any trapped air is removed and will keep this common noise to a minimum. Before bleeding the radiator, you should ensure the heating is turned off and you have a radiator key.
Running Water Noises – this can also be due to air being trapped, so bleeding the radiator should resolve this quickly. If you discover there is a leak that is the cause of the running water noise, you should turn off the water supply and investigate further.
Why is My Radiator Making Noise – Other Causes & Solutions
Most situations with noise coming from radiators can be resolved by bleeding the radiators or draining them to flush the system. However, there can be other reasons for noises happening that aren’t just down to trapped air, limescale build-up or natural expansion of the metal.
- The balance of your radiators can be a contributing factor that can cause rushing water noise or even hissing. As you will have multiple radiators in the home, one way to address this is to use a lockshield. This valve will help to evenly distribute water through each radiator. Some radiators will also automatically bleed the radiator. Using air release valves, it takes away the need to manually bleed the radiators, providing a more effortless resolution.
- If you hear rattling pipes, this could be an issue with the pipes themselves rather than the expanding metal. It could just be as simple as the pipes needing to be secured to the wall properly, or adding cushioning between them to neutralise the rattle effect.
- Lastly, your central heating system will experience corrosion over time from use. This can result in the build-up of sludge that will contribute to blocking the system and the flow of water. This can cause not just strange noises but also cold spots on the radiator and discoloured water when draining or bleeding them. Flushing the system every few years can be an effective way to remove this sludge.
Why is My Radiator Making Noise Still?
If you have tried everything mentioned above from our tips on solving common radiator noises, you don’t have to put up with it. Speaking to a heating engineer and calling one out to check your system is sometimes the only way to resolve your issue. Hopefully, the regular bleeding of your radiators or flushing of the system will be sufficient enough to help.