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Why is my radiator making noise?

from panel of a boiler leaking

If your radiator’s making noise – whether it’s banging, clicking or gurgling – it can be a big pain. But no worries! There are a few predictable reasons why it makes certain sounds and, depending on the type of noise, and you can probably put things right yourself with the right tools.

No one wants a noisy radiator, so this troubleshooting guide will help you get to the bottom of your loud and obnoxious household friend. You don’t need much DIY experience, so dig into the following information and you can fix it without having to call out a plumber.

To protect yourself and your home against current or future issues, HomeServe offers boiler cover and heating breakdown insurance you can rely on.

Table of contents

  1. Why do radiators make noise?
  2. Why is my radiator gurgling?
  3. How to bleed your radiators
  4. Why is my radiator banging?
  5. How to drain your central heating system
  6. Why is my radiator clicking?
  7. What to do if your radiator is clicking or creaking?

Why do radiators make noise?

Radiators can get a little loud from time to time and there can be a number of reasons. This following guide will help you pinpoint your radiator’s particular problem and find the answer to your issue.

Why is my radiator gurgling?

A gurgling noise is a very typical sound to hear coming from your radiator. It’s actually one of the most common issues people have in their central heating system, and is usually caused by trapped air bubbles.

There’s a lot of water being pumped around your pipes and radiators throughout your property, and over time air bubbles appear. If the trapped air builds up significantly, it can cause those bubbling, gurgling noises – and also the odd cold spot in your radiator if there’s enough of a build-up.

Touch the top of your radiator – does it feel colder at the top than the bottom? If it does, it means a trapped air bubble is preventing the hot water from getting around to all four corners of your radiator. This is creating an inefficient system. What’s the answer? Bleed your radiators.

How to bleed your radiators

Gurgling is most commonly caused by air bubbles in the system, and can easily be solved by bleeding your radiators. Get yourself a radiator key so that you can loose each radiator’s top valve. Once the system has heated up, wait for all the air to escape before closing the valve again.

Top tip: you’ll need an old towel handy to mop up that water.

Our full guide to how to bleed your radiators will help you along step by step.

Why is my radiator banging?

Ever heard of boiler kettling? Dry boiler kettling is something that happens mostly in hard-water areas like London and the South East, where limescale is much more common. Over time the limescale and sludge builds up in your central heating system, potentially blocking the pipes to your radiator.

When this happens, a rumbling noise (like a boiling kettle) or even a banging noise starts to occur. Like a ventriloquist’s dummy, it might sound like the banging is coming from the radiators, however it’s actually coming from your boiler.

This is because the limescale build-up is restricting the flow of water to the boiler’s heat exchanger, which causes overheating and steam, contributing to the unmistakable ‘kettling’ sound.

What should I do?

Depending on the severity of the problem, you can do a couple of things before you need to call a Gas Safe engineer to potentially clean or replace the boiler’s heat exchanger.

How to drain your central heating system

Something you can do right away to clear away built-up sludge in your system is to drain your central heating. You can easily do this yourself by following a few simple steps, our guide to How to drain your central heating system will teach you all you need to know. You’ll need to buy a few tools to follow each step, but you’ll have a cleaned-out system once you’ve done it. Consider adding some radiator inhibitor when you refill the system too, which helps guards against sludge and limescale build-up.

Why is my radiator clicking?

You might be thinking ‘why does my radiator make a clicking noise?’ If your radiator is clicking (it can also sound like a creak or a groan), this could be caused by the metal frame of the radiator expanding and contracting as it heats up or cools down.

Why does this happen to some radiators?

Well, you may find that these noises only occur when the heating is first coming on or going off. This is because when the heating comes on and hot water is pumped around your central heating system, it makes contact with the cold metal of your radiator and the metal begins to warm up and expand. It’s the expanding metal that’s making the clicking or creaking noise. When you turn the heating off again, the water cools and the metal also cools and contracts.

What to do if your radiator is clicking or creaking?

Nothing. Unfortunately, a clicking or creaking radiator is pretty normal and there’s not much you can do about it

Call HomeServe if you need extra help

Whether the noises are new or you’ve lived with them for a while, and you’ve tried the above remedies, you can always call us in an emergency for a one-off repair. We’re working with BOXT, who can install a new, energy-efficient (and quieter) boiler in no time. You can also choose from our range of boiler cover and heating breakdown insurance for added peace of mind over the entire year.


Why is my radiator making loud noises?

Depending on the particular noise – gurgling, banging, clicking – there are a few reasons, including trapped air and a build-up of limescale, that can be fixed at home with a few simple tools.

How do I stop my radiator from making noise?

Depending on what kind of noise your radiator is making, there are a few fixes you can do yourself, including bleeding your radiators and draining your central heating system.

Is a noisy radiator bad?

Not necessarily. If it’s just creaking or clicking when your heating goes on or off, it’s just the metal of the radiator expanding and contracting. If it’s gurgling, banging or sounding like a kettle, there are a couple of home fixes you can do yourself.

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