Homeowners are often concerned about the loud clicking noise that their radiator makes. It sounds like a dry bearing on an engine, and it can be loud enough to interrupt a conversation or disturb sleep.
The radiator clicking noise can be due to any number of reasons, it is often likely that there is a build-up of air in your heating system. Air can get trapped inside while the water cools down and contracts.
As the pressure changes, this causes the loud knocking sound which can be heard when either heating or cooling kicks on.
The key reasons why you might have noisy radiators making clicking noise is;
- Trapped air in radiator system
- Loose wall brakcets
- Loose radiator fittings
- High water pressure
- Over sized radiators
- Insufficient air ventilation
- Sludge build up
- Heat pump system needs venting
Air in Radiator
If your radiators are making clicking noises, the first thing to do is determine which radiator has the problem. If you have a central heating system controlled by one thermostat and all of your radiators click, it means that there is air in your entire heating system.
The air in your heating system will not only cause the radiator to make a loud clicking noise but also reduce the efficiency of heating and cooling.
The trapped air can actually cause lukewarm water to flow through your system instead of hot or cold water. It can mean you’ll have radiators that will be half hot and half-cold.
As the air bubbles travel through your heating system, it will cause a dramatic reduction in efficiency as well as pressure.
Some radiator appliances will have a “bleed valve” which allows air out by turning a knob. These valves are generally located on top of the radiator and visible.
Opening the bleed valve will help to ease pressure and stop loud clicking, but may not always stop it completely as the trapped air may still be within your heating system.
Loose Radiator Fittings
If your radiator is making loud clicking noises and you have bled the radiators and it has not improved, check to see if any of your fittings are loose.
The clicking noise may be coming from a loose nut on top of the radiator as it heats up and contracts. These nuts can simply be re-tightened to stop the noise. The clicking may also be caused by loose valves which are used for bleeding your radiator system.
Check for any loose valves and re-tighten any valve handles and fittings to eliminate this cause of clicking noises in radiators.
High Water Pressure
If you suspect that high water pressure is causing too much friction on the pipes it will produce a loud clicking noise.
If your radiator is making loud clicking noises and you have already checked for air in your heating system, loose fittings and valves then there’s a chance that the noise could be due to high water pressure.
Too much pressure can cause knocking sounds or banging as it flows through radiators. This is often caused by the expansion of the water as it heats up or when a tap is turned on.
Most heating systems have a pressure valve that you can check. It might be on the boiler unit or by an expansion vessel.
When the heating system is cool, the pressure should be between 1 and 1.5 bar on the pressure gauge (the indicator needle would usually be in the green section). If pressure is above 1.5 bar, then you have had too much pressure in your heating system.
You should make sure your central heating system is designed to carry the required level of water pressure. Or consider reducing the pressure in your heating system.
Over sized radiators
In some instances, you might have radiators that are too large for the size of your room.
The radiators have to work harder to heat up the room and therefore the water in the radiators will get hotter than they need to be for the size of the room.
In some cases, the hot water will begin making a loud clicking noise inside the radiator. The air bubbles that are created when this happens then travel through your heating system and cause a reduction in efficiency as well as pressure.
It’s also possible that an oversized radiator can cause a loud banging as water spills into an empty chamber within your heating system.
This is often the case in apartment buildings where the radiator is out of your control. In this instance, you may have to contact your building manager or builder and ask them to check the size of the radiators in your heating system.
Sludge build up
The build-up of sludge within a heating system can cause loud clicking noises in your radiator as well.
Sludge is created by sediment that has been left behind from chemicals or minerals in your water supply. This sludge builds up and eventually will create blockages as it gets thicker. Sludge buildup can reduce the size of pipes that lead to your radiator as it restricts the flow of water through it.
This build-up can also cause loud clicking noises as sludge begins to block your heating system. Each time you turn on a tap or flush the toilet, this can dislodge some of the sludge and send it through your pipes.
To stop loud clicking noises in radiators caused by sludge, you will need to do a power flush or contact a professional for advice and to clean out your heating system.
Sludge buildup can also cause a lack of hot water as well as pressure problems in the heating system. In order to fix this problem, you will need to have a specialist come and fully inspect your heating system.
Venting a heat pump heating system
If you have checked for air in your heating system and there is none, it’s possible that your heat pump needs venting.
To function properly, a heat pump needs to pull in the outdoor air through the side vents and exhaust through the top of the unit. In some cases, your heat pump may not operate properly and loud noises within the system.
You will need to check that your heat pump is vented properly in order to stop the loud clicking noise. You can do this by following instructions in your manual or you can contact a specialist for further advice.
If you are unable to locate why your heating system is making an unusual noise, it’s best to contact a professional for assistance.This article has explained some reasons which may cause your heating system to make a clicking noise.
Radiator Gurgling after Bleeding
If you bleed the radiators in your home correctly but can hear gurgling, this could mean that there is still some air is trapped in the system.
Although bleeding your radiator will get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the radiator itself, it won’t necessarily address the problem of air trapped in the larger heating system. In this case, you will hear a gurgling noise as the radiator begins to move bubbles around in your heating system.
In order to resolve this issue, you should bleed each individual radiator in your home – beginning from the radiator on the highest level – making your way down until it stops gurgling noises.
Ignoring these noises can lead to more issues down the line if left untreated because, over time, high levels of air mixed with water can begin to corrode parts inside your boiler and the heating pipes around your home.
Is a gurgling radiator dangerous
A gurgling radiator isn’t dangerous, it is just a sign that there may be an issue with your heating system. A problem like this can quickly escalate into something bigger if completely ignored.
So if you’re a tenant you should contact your landlord and if you own your home, get in touch with a professional as soon as you hear the noise.
A gurgling radiator is not only annoying but could also indicate that something is wrong with your heating system and should be addressed immediately by a professional before things progress further. If you are unable to locate the issue, it’s best to contact a professional for assistance.