Should Heating Oil Systems Make Noise?

Written on: August 23, 2022

Find Out What Noises Are Normal—and What Are Not

boiler noises new yorkIt won’t be long before we’re “cranking up” the heat again in our Hudson Valley homes. At the beginning of the heating season, local heating oil companies field a lot of calls from anxious customers worried about noises they hear after their oil furnace or oil boiler starts operating.

As with any piece of equipment, many of the sounds you will hear from your heating system are perfectly normal, especially when it starts and stops operating.

Let’s put the focus on furnaces first. A furnace refers to the heating unit in a warm-air, or forced-air, system. After the air is heated in the furnace, a blower forces it through ducts. The warm air is then released through vents or registers in your home.

To help you distinguish between minor and major problems with your warm-air furnace, here’s a list of common sounds you may hear. These are general guidelines provided solely for educational purposes. A correct diagnosis can only be made after a system inspection by a heating oil service professional.

Banging Noises from Boilers

A lot of folks in the Hudson Valley have a hot water (hydronic) system. To deliver heat to your home, water circulates around your boiler’s combustion chamber. A circulator pumps the hot water through pipes to heat baseboards or radiators. Eventually, the water returns to the unit to begin the cycle again.

Steam boiler systems work similarly except they generate steam, which rises up to radiators (no circulators are needed). A low water cut-off shuts down the boiler if water levels drop too low, preventing boiler damage

A noisy boiler can be a fairly common problem for people who have a closed loop hot water boiler. Similar to a radiator in your car, your boiler is filled with water. But if air leaks into the system, the pressure rushes through the pipes. This results in a banging noise.

Why does this happen? Air can be drawn into the system in several different ways. This includes a defective valve, a broken bleed screw, a pressure leak, or previous repairs done to piping.

Another possibility is a problem with the expansion tank. Because water expands when heated and contracts when cooled, extra space is needed to store air. This is called an expansion tank. But air can be drawn back into the boiler from this device.

Trust the Professionals

If you have any concerns about the operation of your heating system, please get in touch with a heating oil service professional and request a heating system inspection.

Did you know that you can qualify for rebates when you install a new oil furnace or oil boiler? Read more about heating oil equipment rebates in the Hudson Valley.