5 Central Heating Noises and What They Mean

For everyone, there’s always something that goes bump in the night. Whether it be loud snoring, the neighbour's dog, or that untended car alarm on the street, there’ll always be something to wake you up. Sometimes, not even the strongest sleeping pill can keep you shielded from the noise, and whilst the above examples are beyond your control, there is a range of home-based sounds that you can subdue. 

We’re talking about radiators and your central heating, a system that might not be thought about very often but which is absolutely crucial when it comes to the smooth running of your home. These systems are supposed to run smoothly and, with the exception of designer boutique radiators and underfloor heating systems, are supposed to live unnoticed within your home. With added noise disruption, your radiator and central heating can really draw attention to itself, whilst also hinting at deeper-rooted problems within your system.

Whether you’re on the lookout for a home interior makeover or just want better sleep, these telltale sounds and their sources will help you to design a more efficiently heated property.

column home radiator

Humming boiler

Boilers will usually emit a humming noise to some degree, especially if it’s just been switched to a new setting. After all, a boiler working at its full capacity can’t be completely silent, and nor should it be. There are, however, times when a boilers noise may be too loud, or at least unnaturally so. This is usually due to a problem with the heating element within the boiler itself and may hint at deeper rooted problems with the unit. This can’t be fixed by a non-professional, and nor should it be. The boiler then should be looked at by a plumber or electrical expert, as it may require dismantling the unit to find the source of the problem.

Banging pipes

The pipes of your boiler system are, like any other material, prone to heat. This can mean that as the pipes heat up due to warm water from the boiler flowing through them, they will expand and contract due to the heat. Whilst this is normal, extra banging in your pipes could mean that they haven’t been fitted correctly and the noise could be even more prominent if they run underneath the floorboards. 

One way to deal with this is to call out an engineer to refit your pipes. Alternatively, if you want no banging whatsoever, you can install a vertical electric radiator which runs with no piping at all.

column home radiator

Tapping from your system

Tapping coming from your pipes as they transfer water is a common problem in many radiator systems. The noise level can vary and can be blamed on a variety of factors. These include, like the banging of pipes, an incorrectly fitted part which as mentioned above, can be easily rectified by a professional. 

The tapping may also be due to a buildup of limescale. This problem is especially prevalent in hard water areas, where the radiators are prone to calcium-rich water. The noise could suggest an oncoming blockage which can be rectified with a power flush of your system. These are easy to administer. Simply turn off your boiler and add the chemical liquid into the cistern. Then turn your boiler back on and allow the liquid to flow through the pipes with the water, thus unblocking and loosening any limescale that may have built up.

Kettling

The term kettling refers to the sound that a kettle or pot makes as it heats up. The sound is common in radiators when they heat up and whether a horizontal or column home radiator, may suggest a build-up of sludge or limescale. As with the tapping problem, the best way to deal with this is through a power flush.

Gurgling 

Gurgling in your radiator system is often a symptom of air bubbles trapped within your unit. Thankfully, all radiators are equipped with the necessary tools and components to deal with this very easily. Bleeding your radiator requires you to turn off the central heating and use your bleed key to open the bleed valve. If there is trapped air, the valve will hiss until it starts to leak water. Make sure to catch any leakage with a towel or bucket underneath the open valve.


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