Noisy central heating pipes can drive even the calmest of people round the bend. They can be caused by all sorts of things, some of which are far easier to resolve than you might think. In this guide, we will outline the most common causes of boiler noise and explain how to fix them.
Clank, bang, squeak! If heating noise is keeping you awake at night or disturbing your peaceful evenings in, you need to get it sorted out fast. The question is, what is causing it and how can it be fixed?
In this guide, we will outline the most common causes of noise from your central heating system and we will explain how you can fix it. Some are DIY fixes you can do instantly. Others will require you to call out an engineer. But, either way, you will be able to get back to those peaceful evenings and quiet nights you treasure so much.
What Sort of Noises do Central Heating Pipes Make?
Every central heating system and every boiler is different and this is reflected in the fact that they can make all sorts of different noises depending on what is causing the problem and where it is located.
Some of the most common noises reported by people include:
If your boiler is making any of these noises, or any combination of these noises, there are a number of possible causes for it. In the following section, we will highlight the five most common causes and explain how these issues can be fixed.
The 5 Most Common Reasons Your Heating Pipes Are Noisy
#1 – The Normal Start-Up Process
Before you start to worry, it is worth bearing in mind that some noise is normal and natural in all central heating systems.
Pipes, radiators, and towel rails are all made of metal which expands when it heats up. This expansion can create noise as your central heating system warms up. This warm-up process can take anything from 10-30 minutes.
Similar noises can also be expected when the system is cooling off and the metal pipework and other components are cooling down and contracting.
How to Fix it:
This is a natural noise and, unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
If the noise is really unbearable, the only real option open to you is to get a qualified central heating engineer to reroute the pipework in your home away from the affected areas.
So, if the noise is affecting you in your bedroom, it should be possible to reroute the piping elsewhere so you can get a good nights sleep.
Do bear in mind, this is a labour-intensive and therefore expensive job. But the option is there if you are desperate.
#2 – A Build-up of Limescale Or Sludge
If you live in a hard-water area, it is quite common to get a build-up of limescale in your central heating system or your boiler.
Equally, a central heating system or boiler anywhere can develop a build-up of sludge that restricts the flow of water around the system.
Both of these types of blockages can result in various different types of noises with tapping, rattling and clicking noises being most common.
How to Fix it:
Build-ups of sludge or limescale will both require the assistance of a qualified heating engineer.
There are a number of different options open to your engineer, so he will assess the problem and recommend the best solution.
The most likely fixes they will recommend are:
- Inhibitor – By dosing your heating system with inhibitor, it is possible to break down limescale and heating sludge.
- Hot Flush – A hot flush will push chemicals around your central heating system that breaks down any build-up of limescale or sludge.
- Install a scale reducer – If you live in a hard water area, your engineer might recommend fitting a scale reducer that will catch limescale before it builds up.
- Fit a Magnetic filter – By installing a magnetic filter, you can catch all those small bits of metal debris that can build up in your central heating system.
- Clean existing scale reducers or magnetic filters – If you already have a scale reducer or magnetic filter installed, you engineer might want to clean it if too much debris has built up on it.
#3 – Insecure Pipework
One common cause of pipe noise that is often overlooked is loose or insecure pipework.
All central heating systems create vibrations and expanding pipework can work its way loose over time. If this happens, your pipes can contact floorboards or other items and end up making a noise.
How to Fix it:
If insecure pipes are the cause of your noise, it shouldn’t be too difficult to isolate where the noise is coming from. By lifting the floorboards to examine the pipes, it is possible to check whether any of them have come loose.
If they have, you can easily secure them with new pipe clips yourself. This should resolve the problem.
If the problem persists, you will then have to consider rerouting the pipework and this is likely to be natural noise as referred to above.
#4 – Airlocks In Your Heating Pipes
It is quite common for any central heating to develop airlocks over time and this can cause all sorts of different banging and clunking noises.
The good news is that airlocks are extremely easy to fix and this is a problem you can easily resolve on your own.
How to Fix it:
If you want to release an airlock from your central heating system, all you need to do is switch your central heating on and then bleed your radiators.
You can do this with a radiator key and a bit of cloth or kitchen roll to catch any excess water.
Just use the key to open the bleed valve slowly until you hear hissing. Hold it in that position until the hissing stops, and the valve starts to drip with water. Shut the valve and mop up any water that has come out with the cloth. Be careful not to burn yourself if the water is hot.
Repeat this process for all your radiators and towel rails and the noise issue should be fixed.
#5 – Hammering Noise When Using Taps
Another common cause of boiler noise is something called water hammering. This happens when a sudden surge pushes the water through your central heating system much faster than usual.
This increase in flow rate can create a knocking or hammering noise in your pipes. It can be caused by anything from running taps and showers to flushing a toilet.
How to Fix it:
This problem is quite easy to fix but you will need the help of a qualified engineer. You can get them to fit something known as a water hammer arrestor. This acts as an “overflow” for pressure and energy and should stop the water hammering issue.
Noisy pipework is a real pain, but quite often it can be solved quite easily. In this guide, we have highlighted the five most common causes of noise in your central heating pipes, explained why they happen, and shown you how to fix it.
If your noise is being caused by a major issue and your boiler is already old and out of warranty, you might want to consider investing in a new one. If so, be sure to get a quote from WarmZilla, which offers some of the lowest prices around on a wide range of high-quality boilers from all the top manufacturers.
Has this guide helped you deal with noisy pipes? Do you have any questions or comments on anything we haven’t addressed in this guide? If so, please do leave a comment in the box below. We always try to respond to every single one.