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Baseboard Heat Sounds Like Running Water [4 Common Reasons & Solutions]

We all love winter, don’t we? To enjoy a warm and comforting winter, baseboard heat in your house is mandatory. But nobody will like it if the baseboard heat makes a continuous noise.

Why does your baseboard heat sound like running water?

The main reason is the air bubbles inside the heater. These bubbles are formed due to imbalanced pressure.  The other reason can be the continuous contraction of the fin.  The metal expansion can also cause similar sounds. But these can be fixed easily.

This was just the summary. We’ve compiled all the probable reasons with easy solutions for you. 

So, read along and fix your baseboard heat for a hassle-free winter!

Baseboard Heat Sounds Like Running Water: Causes & Solutions

First, you have to know about the parts of the baseboard heat. This will help you to easily identify and solve the problem. We have listed all the reasons for the sound down below. Along with easy guidelines to fix each of them. 

Let’s start working!

Air Bubbles Inside The Radiator

This is the most common reason behind the sound. 

Generally, when heat mode is on, the thermostat heat commands activate. A pump starts to rotate the hot water near the furnace.

When it comes to the radiator side, it loses some heat. This heat is passed through your room. The hot water keeps circulating, making your room warm.

You shouldn’t be hearing this sound unless the radiator is creating the problem. This happens when air pockets are formed inside the radiator. When the water passes through the air pocket, it creates bubbles. 

These bubbles struggle to pass through the radiator. That’s why you hear the gurgling sound. 

Many times, this also causes the heater to breathe cold air instead of hot.


To remove the air bubbles, you need to use the bleeder valve of your heater. You just need to open the valve slowly. You can use a screwdriver to do so. Just make sure the heater is turned on. The air will come out along with the water, so put a small bowl underneath. 

Once the air comes out, close the valve, and you’re done.

Colliding Metal Components Inside The Heater

If you have a hydraulic baseboard, you may hear the sound. It’s mainly caused by the expansion and contraction of the thin metal vanes.

This happens when the baseboard circulates the heat. The noise becomes greater if the fins bend and rub against each other more frequently. 


You will need a fin comb and a 1-inch wide blade to solve this problem. If you don’t have a fin comb, a metal scraper or a plastic putty scraper will do.

Here’s a couple of fin combs for you to look into:

Fin Comb KitCheck Latest Price
FCR6 Ring Fin Comb SetCheck Latest Price

Remove the thin wafer metal and separate it from the heater, then straighten the metal. 

Now with the comb or scrapper, start where the fin is the least bent. Gently move to the most bent part. Work carefully as there can be an overheating furnace.

Make sure you separate everything all in the way. When finished, turn on the switch. You will find it normal again.

Wrong Placement of The Heater

You may hear the sound while the heater changes temperature. The metal in the baseboard starts to adjust during the temperature change, causing the noise.

You may also hear this sound when you turn your heater on or off. Or when the switch is on a relay of turning on and off. It may come from the baseboard or the thermostat.


First, check if the heater is adjusted to the wall. It may be attached to the wall by glue or any other setup.

There’s a high chance that you’ll find that it’s stuck with the wall. You’ll need a utility knife for this. Slowly separate the heater from the wall or from whatever that’s causing its adjustment to the wall.  

When it is freely movable again, the issue is solved. But to avoid further problems, you should maintain wall tile to baseboard transition

Metal Expansion of the Heater

Another probable reason can be the metal expansion. It could also happen due to the metal pushing and popping past other components. These components are also similar to metal such as caps, joints, etc. 


The only solution is applying lubricants. Remove all the covers and apply grease to the metal where it tends to collide.

Not all lubricants are good. Only high-temperature silicone-based grease should be used. 

Here are some good quality greases you can make use of:

Super Lube Silicone Lubricating GreaseCheck Current Price
Haynes Silicone GreaseCheck Current Price

Air Bubbles Inside The Heater

Sometimes air bubbles are created inside of the baseboard. This creates an imbalance of air pressure inside, causing the sound 


First, you should check the pressure gauge per unit from the instruction manual. From there you’ll find how to adjust the appropriate pressure. So adjust the pressure accordingly and your problem will be solved.

How To Make Your Baseboard Heater Work More Efficiently

Keeping your heater under inspection and maintenance is important to make sure it works efficiently. This way, you’ll not have to worry about any sounds either. Here are some tips you can follow to make your heater work at its best:

  • Regularly clean your heater. This will keep your baseboard heaters running smoothly.
  • Regularly wipe the dust off from the fins and vacuum. 
  • Keep the inside of the heater under regular check. 
  • Heaters draw cool air from underneath. So keep other materials like carpet, furniture, etc away from it for good airflow. 

If you follow these, we can guarantee you a more efficient baseboard heater.

We sincerely hope you will apply these and solve your issues.


Question:  Need I apply lubricants frequently?

Answer: Yes, it is recommended to reapply the lubricants every six months.

Question: Should I often bleed the air system?

Answer: Once a year is enough. Before every winter you can do that.

Question: Is there a problem If I keep the heater on all the time?

Answer: Yes. It can be proven dangerous. Because an extremely hot appliance in your room is very risky. So place the heater accordingly.

Bottom Line

That’s basically everything we could inform you about baseboard heat sounds like running water.

If you still face problems, we recommend you contact the company.

Best wishes to you!