What to do if water gurgles in the heating pipes?

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Water heat­ing is not always a silent heat­ing sys­tem. Some­times you can hear strange sounds com­ing from the pipelines. Some of them are com­plete­ly harm­less and can be ignored, while oth­ers are a sig­nal of seri­ous prob­lems. Let’s try to fig­ure out why the water in the heat­ing pipes is noisy, and what can be done about it.

What types of noise can pipes emit?

There are leg­ends about the sounds ema­nat­ing from the ele­ments of heat­ing sys­tems. Under cer­tain cir­cum­stances, not only heat­ing pipes, but also oth­er pipelines make noise in the house. At the same time, the sound range of all san­i­tary sys­tems is approx­i­mate­ly the same. The most “musi­cal” are met­al pipes, but plas­tic ones can also “please” with unusu­al melodies. The water heat­ing sys­tem can make a wide vari­ety of sounds:

  • mur­mur;
  • gur­gling;
  • rat­tling;
  • knock;
  • crack­ling;
  • clicks;
  • hum;
  • whistling;
  • howl.

Spe­cif­ic sounds sig­nal the pres­ence of prob­lems in the heat­ing sys­tem, there­fore it is nec­es­sary to iden­ti­fy and elim­i­nate the source of noise in a short time, since its sys­tem­at­ic impact on a per­son leads to dis­or­ders of the ner­vous sys­tem, inter­feres with sleep and reduces per­for­mance.
Why is water noisy in heat­ing pipes
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Noise in heat­ing pipes is caused by the fol­low­ing rea­sons:

  • air jams;
  • high speed of move­ment of the coolant, due to an incor­rect­ly select­ed diam­e­ter of the pipeline or a decrease in the inter­nal lumen of the pipe due to over­growth of its walls;
  • coolant leak­age in emer­gency areas or through poor­ly closed valves;
  • scale peeled off from the walls of pipes or debris that got into the cir­cuit dur­ing instal­la­tion;
  • faulty or incor­rect­ly installed valves;
  • exces­sive pump pow­er or improp­er instal­la­tion;
  • wear of con­trol valves or ther­mo­sta­t­ic heads;
  • cav­i­ta­tion — the for­ma­tion of steam bub­bles in the coolant at the site of a sharp increase in the diam­e­ter of the pipeline (the appear­ance of a low pres­sure area) with their sub­se­quent col­lapse, destroy­ing the equip­ment;
  • vio­la­tions of the instal­la­tion tech­nol­o­gy (use of polypropy­lene pipes with a diam­e­ter less than the cal­cu­lat­ed one, fail­ure to observe the min­i­mum dis­tance between par­al­lel sec­tions of a met­al pipeline dur­ing instal­la­tion, instal­la­tion of a fil­ter or valve not in the direc­tion of flow indi­cat­ed on it, etc.).

Impor­tant! The cen­tral heat­ing is always noisy. When the sys­tem is filled, the mur­mur of the coolant is heard, the heat­ing of the cir­cuit is accom­pa­nied by clicks, and the exit of air from it is accom­pa­nied by a whis­tle. Main­te­nance of heat­ing equip­ment before start-up can also be car­ried out using impact. These nois­es usu­al­ly dis­ap­pear when the sys­tem is brought online and are not a cause for con­cern.

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If extra­ne­ous sounds appeared at the height of the heat­ing sea­son or did not dis­ap­pear after the start-up, then this is a sig­nal of the pres­ence of mal­func­tions, and prob­lems should be looked for not only in one­self or neigh­bors in the ris­er, but also in a heat­ing point or an ele­va­tor unit — the source of trou­ble may be far away out­side of hous­ing, as sound waves prop­a­gate well through pipes.

Noise elim­i­na­tion meth­ods

The source of noise often turns out to be in the loca­tions of com­mon house com­mu­ni­ca­tions. The coolant pres­sure at the heat­ing main input node is the high­est, so the slight­est mal­func­tions in it can imme­di­ate­ly declare them­selves in the form of strange sounds through­out the entire entrance. In a pri­vate house, the nois­i­est place is the fur­nace or heat gen­er­a­tor, where the boil­er and its entire pip­ing sys­tem are locat­ed.

On a note: Alu­minum and bimetal­lic radi­a­tors are espe­cial­ly sen­si­tive to pres­sure drops. Thin met­al trans­mits any vibra­tions through itself, like a mouth­piece. In such heaters, the slight­est tech­no­log­i­cal noise acquires an enhanced sound.

If the prob­lem turned out to be a mal­func­tion of the col­lec­tive prop­er­ty equip­ment, then it is not worth fix­ing it your­self. Worn nodes can lit­er­al­ly crum­ble at the slight­est attempt to unwind them, and all the blame will be placed on the one who unau­tho­rized­ly inter­vened in the work of a “per­fect­ly tuned” sys­tem. It is bet­ter to file a com­plaint with a ser­vice orga­ni­za­tion and wait patient­ly for their rep­re­sen­ta­tive to repair faulty com­po­nents.

A visu­al memo with the coor­di­nates of the addressees if it is nec­es­sary to apply for hous­ing and com­mu­nal ser­vices

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If you man­aged to diag­nose prob­lems with­in your own or neigh­bor­ing hous­ing, then you should deal with their elim­i­na­tion as soon as pos­si­ble. In this case, any delay is fraught with aggra­va­tion of the sit­u­a­tion and com­pli­ca­tion of repair work.

How to get rid of noise in the heating system

Each mal­func­tion in the heat­ing sys­tem cre­ates a type of noise char­ac­ter­is­tic only for it, which is a clue in the diag­no­sis. The list of mea­sures tak­en depends on what sounds the heat­ing pipes emit.

Buzz, howl

The loud­est and most annoy­ing kind of noise. Trum­pets can blare out of the blue and give rise to pol­ter­geist sto­ries. Nev­er­the­less, mys­ti­cism has noth­ing to do with it, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion with spir­its will not save you from the noise in the pipes.

When a hum appears, you need to look for a coolant leak. First of all, a thor­ough inspec­tion of your home is car­ried out, then all neigh­bor­ing apart­ments. If every­thing is dry, then the search con­tin­ues in the base­ment. A cloud of steam, a pud­dle or a whis­tle will help you eas­i­ly deter­mine the place where the water flows. In apart­ment build­ings, repairs will be car­ried out by the man­age­ment com­pa­ny, in a pri­vate house — by the own­er of the hous­ing. After inspect­ing the prob­lem area, a deci­sion is made on how to elim­i­nate the mal­func­tion — by repair­ing or replac­ing the assem­bly, some­times it is enough just to tight­en a poor­ly closed valve.

Anoth­er rea­son for the hum may be the use of pipes with a diam­e­ter small­er than the cal­cu­lat­ed one in the heat­ing sys­tem. In this case, the prob­lem area is deter­mined by ear, and the nec­es­sary sec­tion of the pipeline is replaced by a mate­r­i­al with greater per­me­abil­i­ty. With the right selec­tion of pipes and high-qual­i­ty per­for­mance, you no longer have to lis­ten to the pipes buzzing.

Dis­tri­b­u­tion unit of the cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem in the base­ment of an old apart­ment build­ing

Bubbling, crackling and clicking

Par­ti­cles of debris, sludge or exfo­li­at­ed scale, when mov­ing through pipes, beat against the walls and rub against them, cre­at­ing noise in the form of crack­ling or seething. A char­ac­ter­is­tic sound dur­ing clog­ging is also a click. To elim­i­nate this kind of noise, it is nec­es­sary to flush the sys­tem.

For­eign objects in the pipes will click until they come out. There­fore, all liq­uid is drained from the sys­tem through the drain cock. With the help of a hose, the old coolant with garbage is sent to the sew­er, the sys­tem is addi­tion­al­ly washed with water (steel pipes are tapped on the out­side with a wood­en mal­let to peel the scale from the inside from the walls), after which the heat­ing cir­cuit is refilled.

Impor­tant! Before drain­ing dirty water, it is bet­ter to dis­man­tle the drain valve in order to allow large frag­ments of debris to come out and not clog the shut-off device with them.

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Quite often, pipes crack and click due to a mal­func­tion of the valve or its instal­la­tion in the wrong direc­tion of flow. The curved through hole is eas­i­ly clogged, and over time a plug may form in it, com­plete­ly block­ing the move­ment of the coolant. Par­tial over­lap­ping of the pipe clear­ance with debris cre­ates noise dur­ing the pas­sage of water. If the valve is locat­ed the oth­er way around, then the liq­uid enters it not from the bot­tom side of the lock­ing disc, but from above, which leads to the destruc­tion of the stem and the sep­a­ra­tion of the valve. In this case, the move­ment of the coolant will also be accom­pa­nied by noise.

The most ratio­nal way out of the sit­u­a­tion is to replace the valve, since it is already par­tial­ly worn out in the wrong posi­tion and there­fore unpre­dictable after rein­stal­la­tion. In the absence of a new assem­bly, you can tem­porar­i­ly install the old one by replac­ing the thread­ed joint seal mate­r­i­al.

Advice: When choos­ing a new shut-off and con­trol valve, you need to keep in mind that ball (plug) valves are much more prac­ti­cal to use, can be installed in any direc­tion and are not as sen­si­tive to block­ages as screw valves.


If the ball valve is closed tight­ly, it can also become a source of noise. This is not a mal­func­tion and is elim­i­nat­ed by slight­ly open­ing it or com­plete­ly clos­ing it. Valves with ther­mo­sta­t­ic heads can also make noise if the tem­per­a­ture set on them is close to the actu­al room tem­per­a­ture. In this case, the entrance to the radi­a­tor is not com­plete­ly blocked, and the coolant pass­es through a small hole with a char­ac­ter­is­tic sound. To get rid of the noise, just turn the head towards the sprock­et.

Murmur, whistle

With the accu­mu­la­tion of air, it becomes audi­ble how the water mur­murs in the heat­ing pipes — a very com­mon phe­nom­e­non. Air can enter the sys­tem dur­ing repair work, sucked in through loose con­nec­tions — an air lock, regard­less of its ori­gin, pre­vents the nor­mal cir­cu­la­tion of the coolant. Not only does the water mur­mur annoy­ing­ly, but also the heaters do not heat up prop­er­ly. In the event of the for­ma­tion of an air lock that com­plete­ly blocks the lumen of the pipe, the radi­a­tors after the prob­lem­at­ic sec­tion of the pipeline will remain cold.

Air always accu­mu­lates at the high­est points of the sys­tem, as it is lighter than water. It is there that spe­cial valves or auto­mat­ic air col­lec­tors are usu­al­ly installed. Radi­a­tors locat­ed at the end of a hor­i­zon­tal branch must be equipped with a Mayevsky crane. In some types of sys­tems, each heater has a so-called “air vent”. The nodes of mod­ern designs are eas­i­ly rotat­ed by hand, old­er ones will have to be con­trolled using an adjustable wrench or a screw­driv­er.

First of all, you need to try to bleed the air from the radi­a­tors of your apart­ment. The oper­a­tion starts with the cold­est fix­ture, if any. Often it is local air pock­ets that inter­fere with heat­ing. If this does not work, then you need to ask the neigh­bors from the top floor to find the appro­pri­ate faucet and open it. In dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions, it is bet­ter to call a qual­i­fied plumber. A char­ac­ter­is­tic whis­tle serves as an indi­ca­tor of suc­cess — the release of air.

Advice: To avoid get­ting burned, open the Mayevsky tap smooth­ly, being care­ful — the hot water in the sys­tem is under pres­sure. In addi­tion, to col­lect the water that will flow from the radi­a­tor, you must first pre­pare a con­tain­er of suf­fi­cient vol­ume with a wide neck.

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Knocking, rattling

Knock­ing is usu­al­ly caused by a loose pipe or radi­a­tor brack­et. The slight­est vibra­tion dur­ing the pas­sage of the coolant through such a unit caus­es rat­tling, and if the sup­ports are very loose, the radi­a­tor beats against the fas­ten­ers. The sys­tem will stop mak­ing noise if the brack­ets are firm­ly fixed. To damp­en vibra­tions, a heat-resis­tant rub­ber gas­ket can be installed between the instru­ment and the sup­port.

Some­times knock­ing can be caused by too close par­al­lel or cross­ing pipes. With tem­per­a­ture defor­ma­tions, one pipeline begins to touch anoth­er, beat against it and becomes a source of noise. Sound­proof­ing can save the sit­u­a­tion if the exist­ing gap is enough to accom­mo­date it. Oth­er­wise, to elim­i­nate the knock, you will have to shift the prob­lem area.

In some cas­es, knock­ing on heat­ing pipes in apart­ment build­ings is caused by the dis­con­tent of the neigh­bors. This type of noise is usu­al­ly dis­tin­guished by the absence of peri­od­ic­i­ty and occurs in the form of a reac­tion to cer­tain pro­vok­ing actions. That’s just “enjoy” the spe­cif­ic sounds have all the inhab­i­tants of the ris­er. Here, tech­ni­cal mea­sures will not help, sound­proof­ing can only par­tial­ly save. Con­flicts with neigh­bors are resolved only through dia­logue and diplo­ma­cy.

Expert advice on preventing unwanted sounds in the heating circuit

The like­li­hood of noise in heat­ing pipes can be reduced by adher­ing to the fol­low­ing rec­om­men­da­tions from pro­fes­sion­als:

Impor­tant! In search of the source of noise, a dry stick (shov­el han­dle) can help, one end of which is pressed tight­ly against the ear, and the oth­er — in turn to the ele­ments of the heat­ing sys­tem. In a prob­lem area, the noise will man­i­fest itself loud­er and clear­er.

Conclusion

In this arti­cle, at the house­hold lev­el, the ques­tion is con­sid­ered: what to do if the heat­ing pipes are noisy? The first and most impor­tant step is to locate the source. Then you need to objec­tive­ly assess your strengths and the pos­si­ble con­se­quences of try­ing to elim­i­nate the mal­func­tion in order to decide whether to do trou­bleshoot­ing imme­di­ate­ly or post­pone repairs until the end of the heat­ing sea­son.

Some of the prob­lems in the oper­a­tion of heat­ing can be elim­i­nat­ed with your own hands, but in dif­fi­cult cas­es you can­not do with­out spe­cial­ists. In apart­ment build­ings, it is bet­ter to entrust the solu­tion of the issue to pub­lic util­i­ties, while not for­get­ting to con­trol their actions. Respond­ing to the noise in the pipes in a time­ly man­ner, you will save your health and nerves, as well as pro­tect the heat­ing sys­tem from more seri­ous dam­age.

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