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Boiler noises and what they could mean

Strange noises in your house are never welcome, but when they come from your boiler or heating system they’re even less welcome as that normally means there’s a problem which will cost you money to fix. We’ve gathered together some of the most common boiler noises and what they could mean for you, so you can try and identify the issue before reporting it to a heating engineer.


Banging noises and no heat


When your boiler switches on but there’s no heat in your radiators, your first thought is often that you must have run out of home heating oil. If you know that there is a good supply in your tank however, the next step is to check your boiler for signs of malfunction. Often in this case when there is a banging noise but no heating, the issue is a faulty pump. The boiler will switch itself off as a safety measure when the pump is faulty, meaning no hot water can be pumped around your radiators and you will need to get an engineer out to replace it.


Clunking and gurgling


The most common noises coming from an older boiler will be a popping or banging noise from inside the system when it is turned on. This is often referred to as ‘kettling’ and is caused by a build up of limescale or corrosion on the heat exchanger. This build up can restrict the flow of water or block it, which causes the water to boil and then steam and expand, which is what causes the loud bang – called kettling because it sounds as if your kettle is boiling inside your boiler. If your boiler is making this noise, your heating engineer should be able to repair or replace the affected part to make sure it’s running smoothly again.


Squeaks or squeals


If there is a scraping sound coming from your boiler, that normally means there is something loose which is grinding against another part of equipment – in most cases the fan is to blame. Similarly, if there are whirring noises which then abruptly stop, the fan could be seizing up – in most cases you will need the fan replaced by a heating engineer in order for your system to work properly again.


Radiators and pipes making a lot of noise


If you live in a house with noisy pipes, the issue could be air pockets trapped in your heating system. When the hot water gets forced through the pipes, the trapped air can move back and forth causing the pipes to vibrate and this is what the noise is. To remove these air pockets you should have your heating system flushed. This will also help to clear out any kind of sludge build up and make your heating system work more efficiently.


Looking after your boiler


Your boiler is an expensive appliance in your home, and one which you can’t do without, so it makes sense to look after it. Get your boiler serviced once a year to keep it in good working condition, and pay attention to any strange noises, faulty behaviour or leaks and drips so that you can fix the problem quickly before it escalates into a larger issue (which costs more to fix).