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Why Is My Boiler Making Strange Sounds?

woman-surprised-by-loud-soundUsing a boiler is a great way to enjoy even, comfortable heating throughout your house during the winter. Among the choices for heating in Brighton, MI, a boiler remains one of the best—and they have the extra benefit of needing far fewer repairs than furnaces thanks to the smaller amount of moving parts.

But you may encounter boiler problems at some point, and one of the most common signs something is wrong is when the boiler makes odd noises. Boilers run quieter than furnaces—that’s another one of their advantages—so when any sound from your boiler catches your attention, it might indicate a need for repairs.

But what causes these strange sounds? We’ll look into the usual suspects.

Kettling Noises

“Kettling” is a specific kind of boiler noise that sounds like clunking and banging. We know this sounds alarming, but you don’t have to worry the boiler is about to “blow.” What’s probably happened is limescale has accumulated on the heat exchanger, the bottom part of the furnace where heat from the gas jets is transferred into the water.

When limescale develops, it stops flow of water through the tank, leading to some water overheating. When the water boils, it creates the popping “kettle” sound. Even though the boiler won’t blow apart, limescale build-up harms efficiency: have technicians look into it.


A gurgling boiler probably has air trapped inside it. A boiler is designed as a closed system with no air, which helps to prevent corrosion. (Corrosion only starts when water and metal meet in the presence of oxygen.) Air can get inside the boiler through leaking, which can be occurring out of your sight. Another possibility is sediment along the bottom of the tank.

This traps a layer of water over the heat exchanger, which then bubbles up through the sediment. You want any leaks repaired as soon as possible, and the boiler flushed if there’s sediment in the tank.


Hey, we’re back to tea kettle sounds. This noise could be a combination of the two above: air trapped in the boiler or kettling from limescale. You’ll need repair technicians to find out the specific cause of the problem.

In some cases, they can easily bleed out the extra air. Another possibility is a blockage in the boiler system has caused a drop in the water pressure. Repair experts need to locate and remove the blockage to fix this.

Whooshing or Vibrating

This can be a startling noise, but it’s likely that it’s trouble with the air intake the burners use to ignite. If the burners don’t receive enough air, unburned gas will build up inside the combustion chamber. When the ignition finally lights the burners, all that gas will combust at once—whoosh! Don’t try to tamper with the gas systems on the boiler yourself. Only allow professionals to handle it.

You can rely on our heating experts to ensure your boiler is back in shape in no time.

If your home had a voice … it would call First Choice! First Choice Heating & Cooling serves Fenton and the surrounding areas.

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