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I have an old space heater running along the outside-facing walls. It's a very simple heater: it consists of a pipe, a heat sink all along it, and a cover. I don't know what's inside the pipe; most likely water or oil.

When the heater turns on and turns off, it makes very loud clicking sounds in the bedroom -- loud enough to consistently wake up my wife and me. These clicks happen every couple of seconds for several minutes. And considering it heats up and cools down basically every hour, this results in interrupted sleep and anger at the heater.

My best guess is that the metal is ticking when expanding and contracting, but what can be done to reduce the noise? Surely it wasn't ticking like this when it was brand new.

Some possibilities:

  • Reducing how hot it gets. Then it could stay on continuously rather than cycling. But I don't think I have control over this.
  • Putting dampening material in the heat sink, if it's the heat sink that's making the noise. But I don't know what material would be safe.
  • is it possible its electric? that click could be a relay turning on
    – Steven
    Oct 28 '12 at 16:29
  • @Steven, I clarified the description. It's not a one-time click; it happens every couple of seconds. And it doesn't sound like a relay; it sounds much more like metal expansion.
    – Philip
    Oct 28 '12 at 16:34
  • If you can reproduce the problem at will, take the cover off the heater, start it to ticking, and localize the sound as best as possible. You may have a loose mounting screw, or a short stretch of heat exchanger that needs a yank and a bend with a needlenose to get it to quiet down. Oct 28 '12 at 17:59

It could be noise due to the fluid moving inside. I would try to let any air out of the pipes and re-fill it to the recommended level.


I wouldn't suggest putting any sound dampening material in the heater as it will prevent air circulation, and could make it overheat and cause damage to it.

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