Having a noisy radiator is annoying and sometimes unbearable. From clicking and banging to water flow, a noisy radiator can be fixed in most cases.
I have been working on central heating systems for over ten years and have fixed my fair share of noisy radiators.
The first thing you should do is bleed all of your radiators and repressurise the boiler to make sure all the air is out of your central heating system. This is the easiest thing to rule out, as air in your system is potentially causing your noisy radiator.
Noisy Radiator Pipes
If you have noisy radiator pipes, then fixing them down more securely with pipe clips might just fix the problem. A lot of noisy radiator pipe calls I attend are normally caused by loose copper pipes that have not been fixed down correctly, if at all.
Fixing the pipes down with pipe clips will make them more solid and the water will flow through more smoothly. It could also stop potentially damaging loose pipes in the future.
Noisy Radiator Valves
Noisy radiator valves can be caused by having the incorrect valves on the flow and return. Modern radiator valves are mostly bidirectional nowadays, so it’s rarely a problem, but old thermostatic radiator valves had to be on the flow side of the radiator.
Another reason for noisy radiator valves could be faulty or broken valves. If this is the case, then the faulty valve will need to be replaced.
Noisy Radiator After Bleeding
Having a noisy radiator after bleeding all the radiators means that air in the system was not causing the noise problems. This is one of the easiest things to rule out, as most people have a radiator bleed key.
Make sure to repressurise the boiler after bleeding any air out of any radiators, as this will cause the pressure to drop.
Limescale build-up inside your central heating system and radiators could be causing noises also. You will need to clean your central heating system to fix this problem, and might need to power flush it.
Noisy Radiator Running Water
In my experience, whenever there is a noisy radiator with running water or dripping noise, it is normally caused by a radiator being fitted the wrong way round.
For most new radiators it does not matter which way round it is fitted, but with some modern tall radiators, the flow and return have to be fitted on certain sides, or you will have problems with it not heating up properly or noise problems.
If your radiator has just been fitted, then this is the first thing you should be looking to rule out. If it has not just been fitted, and it is making a running water noise, then it won’t be causing the noise.
Noisy Radiator Clicking
A clicking sound is probably the most common noisy radiator sound, this is normally caused by the metal expanding when the heating is turned on. This can also happen when the metal is contracting when the heating is turned off and the water in the pipes is cooling down.
There is not much you can do about this problem apart from replacing sections of the troublesome pipework. Replacing with plastic pipes could be the answer, but this will be very expensive, and you might end up replacing the full system’s pipes.
Noisy Radiator When Heating Comes on
A noisy radiator when the heating comes on is normally caused by the metal (copper) expanding because of the heat from the water. This should stop when the heating has reached its set temperature, as the metal will have stopped expanding.
If this is a big issue for you, then you will probably have to replace some pipework to stop it from happening. Plastic pipe is very common now on heating systems, so replacing it with plastic pipe will fix this problem.
Noisy Radiator When Heating is Off
A noisy radiator when the heating is turned off will be caused by the copper pipes cooling down and contracting. This should stop after the system has cooled down.
Noisy Radiator FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Causes a Noisy radiator?
There are many things that cause a noisy radiator, including air, limescale, radiator piped up incorrectly, broken or incorrectly fitted radiator valves.
Will Bleeding Radiators Stop Noise?
Bleeding the radiators can potentially stop noisy radiators, but it is very rare. Most radiator noises are caused by other problems, but bleeding the radiators is a good start to ruling things out.
Should My Radiators be Making a Noise?
Radiators should be making a very slight noise when the heating is on as the pump is pumping the water around the central heating system. This is normally a very low noise which is almost impossible to hear for a lot of people.
Your radiators should definitely not be making a clicking or dripping or any other annoying noises.