If you’re reading this article, then you’re probably wondering – why is my boiler making a loud vibrating noise?
If all is well, you won’t think about your boiler very often except perhaps when you have an annual service to check it is working well and is safe. So, if you suddenly become aware of a loud vibrating noise coming from it, you will probably be concerned.
Any loud noise from a boiler can cause concern, and it certainly makes sense to try and identify the problem so that you can organise a repair if required.
The difficulty in isolating the type of sound you hear will be critical when determining what kind of issue your boiler is having.
This article will look at what a loud vibrating noise can mean and help you differentiate it from other boiler noises.
Loud Vibrating Noises
Several problems can create vibrations inside your boiler.
One problem is a pump that is not working correctly and is moving against your boiler casing. You may find that this can be solved by adjusting the settings, as having your pump set too high can lead to vibrations and loud noise.
When the pump is set too high, it causes the water to travel around the heating system too fast, and this causes loud noises.
Turning the settings down can solve this issue quickly without calling out an engineer.
What setting should I use for a central heating pump?
If your pump is making a loud vibrating noise and you suspect it is because the setting may be too high, you can adjust it yourself.
You may wonder why there are different settings? The answer is that every central heating system is different, with various numbers of radiators and configurations.
It is pretty challenging to decide the pump setting considering the radiators, piping length, and layout. The amount of time it takes water to circulate around the system can vary enormously.
What happens if your pump setting is too fast?
The first problem you have already identified is that the pump will make a lot of noise due to the excess vibrations.
However, there are some more serious considerations. Your heating bills will be higher than necessary, thanks to the amount of excess electricity your pump uses. As the pump accounts for between 10 and 15% of the electricity required for your heating system, this could cost you a significant amount.
Finally, the water pumped around your system will return to the pump at a higher temperature than it should. The excess heat can damage boiler parts, and you may need to replace the pump if it becomes faulty.
Having the pump too low can cause other problems. You may find that the water is not hot enough when it reaches the radiators, or the boiler can overheat and cut out.
Choosing the Right Speed for a Central Heating Pump
You could attempt trial and error by turning the pump down gradually, but it may take a while to find the right setting this way. You may find that following some simple steps will get the pump working at the right speed for your home.
- Open all the radiator valves
- Set your thermostat to its maximum temperature
- Set the pump to its top speed
- Wait for 10-15 minutes
- Turn the pump setting to the minimum
- Wait for 20 minutes
- Test the radiators to see if they are still hot
- If they are still hot, you can leave the pump at its minimum setting
- If they are cool, you can turn up the pump to the medium setting
- Wait a further 20 minutes
- If hot, then this is the right setting. If cool, turn the dial to maximum
What to do if changing the heat pump setting does not reduce the boiler vibrating noise?
If you have tried lowering the setting of the pump and you are still hearing a loud vibrating noise, you have a more severe problem. It can be caused by sludge buildup inside the boiler.
Surplus sludge is a serious matter, and at this point, you should call out a qualified engineer to assess the problem.
Other Noises Made by Boilers
Although a loud vibrating noise is the most common noise you will hear, there are plenty of other disturbing sounds that your boiler can make.
- Rattling: It can be caused by loose objects inside the boiler but is more likely to be down to air trapped in your pipes. If you bleed your radiators, then you should solve the problem.
- Humming: A heating element in an electric water heater may need tightening if you hear a humming sound. However, you may also need to check your water pressure, as when it is too high, it can cause a rumbling sound.
It is also worth checking that the pump is not set too high, but if you can’t isolate the hum, you will need the services of a qualified engineer as it could be the fan or bearings that are faulty.
- Boiling kettle noise, banging or tapping: A whistling sound is also known as kettling, as it sounds like a whistle on an old fashioned kettle. It can mean you have limescale buildup and corrosion. Sludge collects in the system, which creates banging and tapping sounds. Limescale is more common if your area has hard water, and you will need an engineer to assess the extent of the problem.
- Radiator drips and gurgles: Usually, this will mean that it is time to bleed your radiators to release some trapped air.
- Aeroplane noise: If your boiler sounds like a jet engine, you have a pump failure. It is vital to call out an engineer to assess the extent of the problem and replace the pump or its parts.
Conclusion – Why Is My Boiler Making A Loud Vibrating Noise
If you hear an unusual noise from your boiler or central heating system, call out an engineer if the simple steps suggested here do not solve the problem. Leaving the noise may lead to further problems, and you could end up with more expense.
Far better to get an early repair than to require a replacement boiler. Regular servicing can also help to spot problems early. However, if your boiler is beyond repair, an engineer can advise you about installing a more economical and energy-efficient model. All of the above information should be enough to explain why your boiler is making a loud vibrating noise