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Why is my central heating so noisy?

Noisy radiators and banging pipes can be a quite unsettling. If your central heating system has become nothing short of a nuisance due to noise, here we outline some clues as to what, in our experience, may be causing it.

Since much of your central heating system is made of metal, it will expand and contract as it heats up and cools down. So sometimes creaking is just the sound of pipes changing with the temperature – this is normal. However, some noises are caused by different issues and these shouldn’t be ignored as they may indicate a more serious problem.


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Noisy boiler

If your boiler is making odd noises, it could be because limescale has built up inside its heat exchanger. Known as ‘kettling,’ this issue could cause your boiler to make a sound that mirrors that of a boiling kettle. To solve this, a qualified engineer could visit your home and conduct a system Powerflush. This measure involves sending a liquid chemical through your boiler, pipes and radiators at a high velocity to remove any dirt, sludge or rust that may have formed over time. This process could restore the efficiency of your central heating and get rid of any unusual noises.

It could also be down to low water flow in the system. Check out what the required flow rate is in your boiler manual or check directly with the manufacturer. A regular service could additionally help keep your boiler working effectively and free from faults***.


Tapping central heating

Pipes and radiators also have a tendency to accumulate limescale, creating a tapping or gurgling sound. A Powerflush could also help fix this issue.


Banging pipes

If you can hear your pipes banging when you turn on the taps, this could be due to overheating. Check your boiler’s thermostat by turning off the boiler and cooling the system down. Once cool, turn it back on again and turn up the thermostat. It should click. If not, it may be time to call for a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Sometimes, banging pipes are simply due to pipework not being secured properly under the floor. This can make them rattle around when water is flowing through them. One of HomeServe’s engineers could help solve this problem, simply contact us to arrange an appointment.


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Gurgling heating system

Gurgling radiators could be due to trapped air in the system. You could bleed the radiators to release this air. Leaving trapped air in the system could lead to further troubles, so it’s best to deal with it straightaway. Read more about bleeding a radiator.

Gurgling could also be caused by a frozen condensate pipe; this is mostly common in the winter. You can usually locate your boiler’s condensate pipe outside of your home, it’s usually a white overflow pipe. You should be able to thaw it with some warm water (not boiling).


Humming central heating

Do you hear a humming sound coming from your heating system? It could mean that the heating elements in your immersion heater are not effective. Check that your thermostat is working, if it’s fine, there could be an issue with your heat pump and the unit itself could be vibrating, thus causing a humming sound. This is another issue that our trained engineers are skilled in fixing.


Still having problems?

If you’re still experiencing problems with your noisy central heating system, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. One of our Gas Safe registered engineers could visit your property and examine your system to identify and rectify the issue.


It is crucial to remember that you should only perform checks on your boiler that are simple with minimum risk. Do not attempt to fix the issue yourself as this could be extremely dangerous.

All of our engineers are Gas Safe-registered and fully qualified to diagnose and fix your central heating problems, so whether you know what the problem is or not, you can book an appointment with a local expert to diagnose the issue and get your heating back up and running effectively again.


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*** Subject to an annual service at the customer's expense. Warranty extension from 5-years to 10-years only available on Worcester Bosch and Ideal gas boilers.

Information and other materials on this website are not intended to constitute professional advice and should not be relied upon. Please see our Terms of Use for further details.

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