Baseboard Heater Water Noise [5 Easy Solutions]

Baseboard heaters can sometimes sound like running water. This trickling sound is one of the most common problems baseboard heater users face. Some users also have to deal with popping, ticking, humming, and even banging noises.

The common reasons that cause your hot water baseboard heating system to make noise are built-up grime and bent fins, the air in the radiator, the baseboard heater placed too low, the expansion of heater metal, and the wrong voltage supply. 

Read our instructions below to fix the baseboard heater water noise easily and instantly on your own. 

Baseboard Heater Water Noise [Easy Solutions]

Here are some of the common reasons why your heater could be making humming or trickling sounds. Follow our guide and fix your noisy baseboard heater water ASAP. 

1. Built-Up Grime And Bent Fins

When your heater is dirty, it isn’t working at its maximum capacity. The best heaters are clean ones. This dirt can also be causing sounds to come out of your heater.

Bent fins can collide with each other when the heater is running. Possibly, this is what’s causing your heater to make noise. 


Before you inspect whether this is the source of your problem, you need to shut off the power supply to your baseboard heater. Wait for the heater to turn cool. Then open up the cover.

First, you need to clean the spaces in between the fins. If you haven’t done this in a while, it is likely to be filled with debris and dust. 

To get rid of the dirt, get your vacuum cleaner fitted with an appropriate attachment, or take a paintbrush and run it in between the fins while pointing the vacuum tube at it.

The fins in the baseboard heaters are not supposed to be bent or touch each other. So, next, we need to fix that issue.

Use a nose plier instead of your fingers. These fins are sharp. So, don’t touch them to avoid cutting your fingers.

2. Air In The Radiator

When the temperature is below the one you set on the thermostat, your heater will start up. Hot water circulates inside the heater and through the radiator, the heat is transmitted to your room. 

If the radiator has air bubbles inside it, then the water will bubble up as it reaches the radiator side of the heater. This causes the bubbling noise that you hear. 


Here’s how to bleed baseboard heaters:

There’s an air bleeder valve in your heater. All you need to do is open that valve and the air will come out. Some water will also come out, so keep a container underneath to protect your floors.

Your heater needs to be open when you bleed the air. You may need to use a screwdriver to open the baseboard heater valve.  After you are sure all the air has come out, close the valve.

3. Baseboard Heater Placed Too Low

Air needs to flow underneath the heater. If there isn’t sufficient space for that to happen, this could lead to reducing your heater’s lifespan.

Low placement is what may be causing your hot water baseboard heater to run water noise. Another usually seen problem is that the heater gets stuck to the wall. 


You need to at least maintain a 3/4 inch distance between the baseboard heater unit and the floor. Without this, the airflow will be restricted putting pressure on the heater. Gradually, the heater will get noisy.

Moreover, it could also be that you have very thick carpeting. In that case, you should place the baseboard heater higher up for good airflow.

You could also trim the carpet near the base of the heater. That works fine as well.

4. Expansion of Heater Metal

The metal expands as it heats up. The expansion of metal can lead to different components pushing and rubbing past each other. This could be the source of the noise you are hearing.


First, you need to hear where the noise is coming from exactly. Place your ear on the floor near the baseboard heater in each room. Be careful to not go too close. You can severely burn yourself on these things.

Once you have an idea of which baseboard heaters are making the most noise, turn off the power supply. Let the heater cool.

Take off the covers carefully. You’ll need to apply grease on all the metal components that may be causing the noise. These components include metal caps and joints.

The best lubricant for this job is a high-temperature and silicone-based one. Make sure you purchase one that has these qualities. Doing this should quiet down the hot water baseboard heater humming noise that’s been giving you sleepless nights.

5. Wrong Voltage Supply

This is another reason behind the hot water baseboard heater making noise. A baseboard heater that needs 140 V to run and is supplied with far more than that, can be making noises. Oversupplying voltage is also a safety hazard. It could lead to a house fire in the worst cases.


Check the voltage rating of your baseboard heater unit. Contact your electric utility company to see what you are being supplied with.

You also need to be careful about the amperage. For smooth operation, your heater needs to have a thermostat of higher amperage than the heater itself.

This will cover the extra amperage needed during startup. Extra amperage prevents strain from being put on the heater during startup. 

4 Maintenances To Allow Your Baseboard Heater to Work Efficiently

A few regular maintenance will permit your baseboard heater to work more efficiently and lessen your worry. Here are some pro tips to maintain your baseboard heater:

  • Keep the outside of your baseboard heater clean always. Never allow nesting of any dust and debris because dust hampers normal function.
  • Make sure your window curtain isn’t covering the heater. It will prevent proper airflow and normal functioning. And thus your baseboard heater will fail to distribute the heat properly.
  • Don’t forget to clean and vacuum the whole unit after the end of the season and again at the beginning of the season. It would be wise to have a cover so that any dust can build up during the off-season.
  • Regularly check the inside of your baseboard to ensure that nothing isn’t hindering its normal operation.

We can confidently declare that if you follow the above tips, you will find your baseboard heater is working more efficiently than ever before.


Is it normal to hear water running through pipes when the heat is on?

Noise coming from baseboard heaters is quite common. Although annoying, it mostly isn’t caused by something serious. Still, it is better to have it fixed.

How do you find a leak in a baseboard heater?

Look all over your house and see if there’s water dripping out or if there is any sign of moisture from anywhere in your heater. Sometimes a valve or elbow may be leaking. It is trickier to fix such leaks and is best left to professionals. 

Why do I have to keep adding water to my boiler?

If you are having to add water to your boiler often then there is something wrong with your heater. Usually, your baseboard heating system should need very little new water. Call a professional.

What happens if you add cold water to a hot boiler?

Your boiler will experience a thermal shock that is not good for your unit at all. The hot water in the boiler will react instantly with the cold water that you put in. You should avoid doing this.

What temperature is safe to drain a boiler?

It is safe to drain the boiler at 140°F.

Wrapping Up

Try identifying which reason is behind your hot water baseboard heating system making noise. Then, perform the solutions given for that reason.

Enjoy the quiet of winter nights once more after fixing the baseboard heater water noise. 

We love hearing from our readers and answering their questions. If you have any queries, comment below and you’ll hear from us soon.

About William

William is the founder of He has real life practical skills in fixing smoker & heating appliance issues. He loves to share his knowledge & helps others in fixing their appliances & saving their money. William firmly believes that anyone can repair his or her unit with the correct guidance & knowledge. See more at about us.

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