How to fix a radiator rattling

How to fix a radiator rattling

A certain amount of noise from your central heating system is natural due to water running around your pipes and into your radiators at varying temperatures. However, if your radiators are actually rattling or vibrating, then there is clearly an issue that needs further investigation.

Many of these types of noises are not necessarily a sign of a critical issue, but it's worth getting to the bottom of the problem in order to quieten down your radiators and to nip any more serious problems in the bud. Water damage can be a very expensive problem to fix, so it's always best to err on the side of caution and get things checked to avoid events spiralling out of control.

In this article, we'll take a look at various things you can try to reduce the rattling in your radiators and heating system.

Tighten and secure loose components

The sound of rattling or banging radiators could be caused by a component (such as a pipe) that is not sufficiently secured to the wall, floor or wherever else it might be positioned. When water flows through a pipe or other component that is not properly fastened, it can cause movement and contact with a nearby surface and will emit a loud banging sound. This may not be a serious problem initially, but if left for a certain amount of time, it may develop into one.

If you suspect that loose components might be causing the noise, several specific parts should be checked to ensure they are secure. Below we've included a list of things for you to look for and check.

Radiator brackets

Description: These are the mounts that secure the radiator to the wall.
Issue: If they become loose, the radiator may rattle against the wall, especially when the hot water flows through, causing expansion.
Solution: Tighten the screws or bolts holding the brackets to the wall and the radiator.

Pipework connections

Description: These include all connections where pipes meet radiators, boilers, and other components.
Issue: Loose connections can lead to small movements each time the system heats up or cools down, resulting in ticking or banging sounds.
Solution: Check and tighten nuts or union fittings at the joints. Use a suitable wrench and be careful not to overtighten and damage the threads.

Valves

Description: Radiator valves control the flow of water into the radiator.
Issue: If these valves are not tight, they can cause a hissing or dripping sound. Also, the valve stem inside might rattle if the securing nut has loosened.
Solution: Tighten the packing nut or replace the valve if it’s faulty.

Boiler mounts and panels

Description: These are the brackets that hold the boiler in place and the panels that cover its internal components.
Issue: Loose mounts can cause the boiler to vibrate excessively, and loose panels can rattle.
Solution: Ensure all mounts are securely fastened and panels are properly attached with their screws tight.

Pipe clamps and supports

Description: These fixtures hold the pipes in place along their route.
Issue: If clamps and supports are loose, pipes may move and knock against walls or other pipes.
Solution: Check the entire length of visible pipework for loose supports and secure them. Adding additional clamps may help stabilize long runs of pipe.

Bleed your radiators

There are varying degrees of radiator rattles and if you're hearing a sound that is like a clicking or tapping, then you may need to bleed your radiators of air.

Over the course of a year, when central heating is used in all sorts of conditions, air can make its way into the system and get trapped at the top of one or more radiators. You'll often hear a radiator that has air trapped in it click and tap when the central heating first comes on before settling down and becoming quieter. You may also notice the rad is warmer at the bottom than at the top.

Switching off your heating and using a radiator key to allow the air to escape will probably resolve this issue and get your radiators operating more efficiently again too.

Check the direction of water flow

If you are hearing a hammering noise, then you might notice that this happens at the same time you switch on a tap in your bathroom or kitchen. Rather than being directly relate to your radiator, this could be a sign that your water is flowing one way in your system, then suddenly has to change direction when a tap is turned on.

Over time, this can cause pipe joints to weaken and even leak, so it's best to call in a professional and get them to investigate if the water flow can be improved so that this sudden change in direction if no longer necessary.

Change your thermostatic valves

Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) are a great way of making your radiators heat the room more efficiently, keeping down your heating bills. There are the valves that contain a numbered dial and are set to detect the temperature in the room and ensure that hot water only flows in and out when necessary to maintain a steady temperature.

Over time, TRVs can wear out and you may notice that your radiators rattle and vibrate the most when they are cooling down. This is caused by the valves nearly closing off when cooling down and the old internal components vibrate making the sound. This can usually be resolved by replacing your existing TRVs with some good quality new ones. This is a fairly inexpensive job and you might find that your heating system runs more efficiently, as well as more quietly, as a result of this update.

The noises could also be caused by old TRVs being fitted to the wrong end of the radiator. Many old TRVs only allowed water to flow in one direction, whereas most modern valves are bi-directional. Again, installing brand new thermostatic radiator valves should resolve this issue.

Consult a professional

If you don't think that the rattling, vibrating or banging in your radiators is caused by any of the possibilities above then you need to call in a plumber or heating engineer without delay. As mentioned previously, water is capable of causing devastating damage if it escapes from pipes so it is simply not worth leaving in the hope it will 'sort itself out' - it never does.

Ideally you should have your boiler serviced and a check done on the general health of your central heating system done once a year. This will help keep your heating system running smoothly and efficiently, while also identifying any potential problems and dealing with them before the issue gets more serious. Consider heating maintenance to be a similar preventative measure to MOTing or servicing a car.

Related Posts
How do radiator valves work? - a complete guide

How do radiator valves work? - a complete guide

Understand why there are different types of valves, which ones to buy for your radiators, how valves work, when you’ll have to change or buy a new valve, and other important radiator valve topics you’ll need to consider with any purchase.

How to isolate a radiator - a complete guide

How to isolate a radiator - a complete guide

Master the art of radiator isolation with our guide—essential for preventing water damage and disruptions. Discover why, when, and how to efficiently manage your central heating. From routine maintenance to replacement, empower your home care decisions.

How do radiators work? - a complete guide

How do radiators work? - a complete guide

Radiators are the unsung heroes of home comfort, silently and efficiently spreading warmth throughout your space. Have you ever wondered how they work their magic? In our comprehensive guide, we delve into the science behind radiators, unraveling the secrets of how they turn cold rooms into cosy sanctuaries.

How to clean a radiator - a complete guide

How to clean a radiator - a complete guide

Our comprehensive radiator cleaning guide is your key to maintaining an efficient heating system. Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner, our guide provides all the knowledge you need to keep your radiators clean and running smoothly, saving energy and enhancing your comfort..

How to balance a radiator - a complete guide

How to balance a radiator - a complete guide

Learn why it's important to have a balanced central heating system, what factors might have caused it to become unbalanced and what you can do to ensure your radiators heat your rooms evenly and efficiently.

How to paint a radiator - a complete guide

How to paint a radiator - a complete guide

Discover the complete step-by-step guide on how to paint your radiator with precision, and get the best finish possible. Learn all the best painting techniques and quality tips to revamp your home heating effortlessly.

How to bleed a radiator - a complete guide

How to bleed a radiator - a complete guide

Master the art of radiator maintenance with our comprehensive guide. Learn how to efficiently bleed radiators, ensuring your home stays warm and your heating system runs smoothly. Including essential tools to step-by-step instructions, say goodbye to cold spots and hello to a toasty home!

Why is my radiator cold at the top/bottom?

Why is my radiator cold at the top/bottom?

A common problem with a radiator is it not getting hot evenly across the whole suface. If you've got hot and cold patches on your radiator, then read how to fix it in this article. We've got the most likely reasons this could be happening and provide the solutions for you to try and get this issue solved.

How to fix a leaking towel radiator or rail

How to fix a leaking towel radiator or rail

Heated towel rails look great and are very practical, but sometimes things go worng. In this article, we'll look at how to fix a leaky towel rail, which is an important job to be dealt with as soon as possible.

How to remove a radiator - a complete guide

How to remove a radiator - a complete guide

Master the art of radiator removal with our guide. Learn costs, DIY tips, and professional insights. Whether for redecorating or system flushing, discover the how-tos for a seamless process.

How to stop your heating pipes from making noises

How to stop your heating pipes from making noises

A central heating system making some sort of noise is absolutely natural. However, when the noises starts to be a noisy banging, icking or hammering, then it could be a sign of something more serious. This article explains what the issues could be and what steps you can take to resolve the problem.

How to fix a pinhole leak in your radiator and copper pipes

How to fix a pinhole leak in your radiator and copper pipes

Pinholes or micro holes are tiny holes that can form in radiators or pipes and allow water to leak out of them. They're often formed by internal corrsoion in your heating system, effectively rusting from the inside out. In this article we'll look at how you can locate a pinhole leak the the steps you can take to fix the problem.

How to fix common radiator problems

As the cold weather & darker nights draw in, make sure your radiators are fully functional by overcoming these common issues.

Related posts
How do radiator valves work? - a complete guide
15 March 2024

How do radiator valves work? - a complete guide

Understand why there are different types of valves, which ones to buy for your radiators, how valves work, when you’ll have to change or buy a new valve, and other important radiator valve topics you’ll need to consider with any purchase.

How to isolate a radiator - a complete guide
24 November 2023

How to isolate a radiator - a complete guide

Master the art of radiator isolation with our guide—essential for preventing water damage and disruptions. Discover why, when, and how to efficiently manage your central heating. From routine maintenance to replacement, empower your home care decisions.

How do radiators work? - a complete guide
31 October 2023

How do radiators work? - a complete guide

Radiators are the unsung heroes of home comfort, silently and efficiently spreading warmth throughout your space. Have you ever wondered how they work their magic? In our comprehensive guide, we delve into the science behind radiators, unraveling the secrets of how they turn cold rooms into cosy sanctuaries.

How to clean a radiator - a complete guide
23 October 2023

How to clean a radiator - a complete guide

Our comprehensive radiator cleaning guide is your key to maintaining an efficient heating system. Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner, our guide provides all the knowledge you need to keep your radiators clean and running smoothly, saving energy and enhancing your comfort..

How to balance a radiator - a complete guide
16 October 2023

How to balance a radiator - a complete guide

Learn why it's important to have a balanced central heating system, what factors might have caused it to become unbalanced and what you can do to ensure your radiators heat your rooms evenly and efficiently.

How to paint a radiator - a complete guide
29 September 2023

How to paint a radiator - a complete guide

Discover the complete step-by-step guide on how to paint your radiator with precision, and get the best finish possible. Learn all the best painting techniques and quality tips to revamp your home heating effortlessly.

How to bleed a radiator - a complete guide
12 September 2023

How to bleed a radiator - a complete guide

Master the art of radiator maintenance with our comprehensive guide. Learn how to efficiently bleed radiators, ensuring your home stays warm and your heating system runs smoothly. Including essential tools to step-by-step instructions, say goodbye to cold spots and hello to a toasty home!

Why is my radiator cold at the top/bottom?
17 January 2023

Why is my radiator cold at the top/bottom?

A common problem with a radiator is it not getting hot evenly across the whole suface. If you've got hot and cold patches on your radiator, then read how to fix it in this article. We've got the most likely reasons this could be happening and provide the solutions for you to try and get this issue solved.

How to fix a leaking towel radiator or rail
17 January 2023

How to fix a leaking towel radiator or rail

Heated towel rails look great and are very practical, but sometimes things go worng. In this article, we'll look at how to fix a leaky towel rail, which is an important job to be dealt with as soon as possible.

How to remove a radiator - a complete guide
17 January 2023

How to remove a radiator - a complete guide

Master the art of radiator removal with our guide. Learn costs, DIY tips, and professional insights. Whether for redecorating or system flushing, discover the how-tos for a seamless process.

How to stop your heating pipes from making noises
4 May 2021

How to stop your heating pipes from making noises

A central heating system making some sort of noise is absolutely natural. However, when the noises starts to be a noisy banging, icking or hammering, then it could be a sign of something more serious. This article explains what the issues could be and what steps you can take to resolve the problem.

How to fix a pinhole leak in your radiator and copper pipes
8 December 2020

How to fix a pinhole leak in your radiator and copper pipes

Pinholes or micro holes are tiny holes that can form in radiators or pipes and allow water to leak out of them. They're often formed by internal corrsoion in your heating system, effectively rusting from the inside out. In this article we'll look at how you can locate a pinhole leak the the steps you can take to fix the problem.

Who should you call to fix a radiator?
16 January 2020

How to fix common radiator problems

As the cold weather & darker nights draw in, make sure your radiators are fully functional by overcoming these common issues.