I’m a radiator expert – the three sounds you mustn’t ignore but another isn’t anything to worry about

HOUSEHOLDS should never ignore unusual noises coming from their radiators – if you do you’ll likely face higher energy bills.

From gurgling to banging and whistling here’s why you shouldn’t ignore the sounds coming from your central heating system.

We've also explained how easy it is to bleed your radiators


We’ve also explained how easy it is to bleed your radiatorsCredit: Shutterstock

Any unusual noise we notice coming from our central heating system is always a cause for concern and should never be ignored, especially now we’re starting to switch the heating on.

The Sun spoke to radiator expert Dominic Lees Bell of Only Radiators to educate people on the sounds coming from their radiators.

He said: “Unfortunately, the more we use our radiators, the more problems that can arise.

“The quicker these issues are rectified, the quicker you can get your heating back up to scratch and the less expensive it will be to run and repair.”

Radiators can tell us themselves what’s going on inside and this can be in the form of clicking, gurgling, a running water sound and even banging.

“Each one of these noises can suggest something is going on but are either easily fixed or nothing to worry about at all.”

Most noises can be fixed for free or with a little cost by the homeowner.

Here’s exactly what each sound means and how to fix it.

What does a gurgling or hissing sound mean?

It’s very common to hear gurgling or hissing noises in your radiators, which is caused by trapped air that needs to be released.

Dominic said: “We know that hot water heats radiator pipes, but air can sometimes get trapped along with the water, and can cause cold spots in your radiator, especially at the bottom.

“A quick fix to this problem is to bleed your radiator. It’s actually recommended that you bleed your radiator every year before the heating season to ensure they’re ready for action.

To do this, turn your heating off, then use a radiator key to loosen the valve on each radiator by slowly turning it anti-clockwise. You should hear a hissing sound as the air escapes, then close the valve when all the excess air has been released. 

Your radiator should now heat up a lot more efficiently and the gurgling noises should stop.

What does a water running noise mean?

Your radiator may be making noises that sound like running or dripping water which can also be caused by air pockets.

Dominic said: “Although water is used to heat radiators, you shouldn’t be able to hear the water, so it’s likely the trapped air is limiting the water from circulating the radiator pipes properly.

“You can also solve this problem by bleeding your radiator to ensure all the air escapes, which enables a steady flow of water inside your radiator pipes.”

What does a banging sound mean?

This can be caused by kettling, which is a build-up of limescale in your central heating system, not actually your radiators themselves.

Hard water areas such as the South and East of England are prone to kettling.

Dominic said: “In some cases, this can be solved by draining your radiator to free up trapped water and air.

“You need to ensure you turn off the boiler and gas supply, turn off the intake valve and wait for the radiator to cool down and open the drain valve again.

“You should have some liquid released by the radiator which you can catch in a bowl, at this point you can turn the valve off and turn everything back on.”

If the banging noise persists, it may be that you need to have your boiler power flushed to ensure all the limescale and grime is removed.

This will minimise future sounds and keep your heating as efficient as possible.

Which sound do I not need to worry about?

Clicking and creaking noises are the most common noises a radiator or heated towel rail will make and this is actually pretty normal said Dominic.

“It’s most likely that this is caused by expansion of the metal after a rush of hot water flows into it.

“Similarly, when the radiator cools down, the metal contracts as the hot water gets cooler. 

“It’s likely you’ll hear these clicking noises from your radiator when the heating is first turned on or turned off and it doesn’t mean your radiator is about to explode, so you do not need to worry about radiator clicking noises unless it persists or changes in sound,” said Dominic.


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