Space Heater Making Crackling Or Clicking Noise—What Could Be Wrong?

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The weather is cold. You have a cup of hot chocolate on the table, you're covered with your favorite soft blanket ready to enjoy your new book, but when you turn on your space heater, it makes a sudden crackling sound that scares you. How can you enjoy the weather when you're distracted by the noise? If you're wondering what's wrong with your heater, we have answers for you straight from the experts.

Space heaters are known for making crackling or clicking noises. These are normal and don't indicate that something is wrong with your appliance. These sounds are caused by metal expanding and contracting due to releasing tension, or two metals bumping into each other potentially due to:

  • controls switching on and off,
  • vibrating electric coils,
  • the fan's movements, or
  • loose screws in your heater. 

Keep on reading so we can explain further what could be wrong with your space heater and how you can get stop it from making noise, if possible. Let's get down to it!

Modern electric fan heater on floor in light bedroom, Space Heater Making Crackling Or Clicking Noise— What Could Be Wrong?

Why is my room heater making noise?

Modern electric heater in stylish room interior

A space heater is an electric appliance that'll conveniently keep you warm and cozy during cold weather. It'll also help you save a lot on energy costs as you can just heat up the space that you're occupying rather than having the central heating system warm up the entire house.

This heating appliance is portable, so you can take it from your bedroom to your living room, wherever you feel like relaxing when it's too chilly to go outside. So far, so good, right?

However, these little space heaters are notorious for making noises. You may hear a loud bang, clicking, popping, or crackling noise whenever you use them.

And believe it or not, these noises are normal and aren't usually a cause for concern. You will understand this better when you familiarize yourself with the components of this heating device and understand how a space heater works.

Releasing tension

Most space heaters are made up of metal components and have a metal enclosure. The metal expands when heated and contracts once it cools. This is what causes the popping sound. We understand that it can surprise or even scare you, but this is normal among appliances subjected to high heat. You may also observe this with your oven.

Tension builds up as the temperature rises, and when the time comes that the metal needs to release this tension, it creates a sudden loud noise. It can happen as your appliance is heating up or during its cooling down phase.

Even if your heater has a plastic exterior, it surely has metal parts inside that expand when the temperature gets hot and contract when it cools down. Thus, the noise.

2-point control system

Many space heaters use a 2-point control system to regulate the temperature and prevent overheating. There is an electric switch relay wherein two pieces of metal bump into each other each time the switch is turned on and off when the temperature drops below or rises above the desired level. This is what causes the clicking sounds that you hear every now and then.

This is more commonly found in less expensive heaters because they lack the sophistication of thermostats; that's why they are cheaper. Again, the clicking sounds are normal and not dangerous at all.

Vibrating electric coil

Chihuahua in living room, focus on modern electric halogen heater

Electric coils are responsible for converting electric energy into thermal energy so your appliance can provide you with heat. However, this thermal energy is also converted to kinetic energy as the temperature rises. That's why there are vibrations that produce a constant buzzing sound as your heater is operating.

Fan in your heater

If your heater comes with a fan for blowing hot air into the room, you can also expect it to be noisy, especially those with low quality. There can be noise from fan bearings due to friction as they move. They get even louder when the fan blades and bearings are dirty and worn out or when they don't have enough lubrication anymore.

Loose screws

When there are loose screws in your heater's housing, the parts keep bumping into each other, making a noise.

Check all the screws in the housing and brackets if your heater is mounted on the wall. If they aren't fastened securely, the continuous vibration will make the components knock against each other, adding up to the noise.

Beware of screeching noises

All the noises from the popping, crackling, clicking, and grinding sounds that we discussed above aren't unusual for space heaters, and they aren't indicative that your appliance is failing or broken. You shouldn't worry about them at all, and it's best if you can learn to live with the noise.

Now when you hear sharp screeching noises when you turn on your space heater, that's the time when you have to be concerned. This denotes improper power conversion and a broken transformer especially when it is accompanied by uncontrollable vibration. Turn off your heater and remove it from the outlet immediately.

You should have your heating appliance checked by a professional electrician to avoid further damage, or it might be a sign for you to purchase a new one.

How do I stop my space heater from making noise?

A heater that can warm the air at home. South Korea.

As mentioned earlier, the clicking noises in your space heater are normal. In short, the noises come with the package. If you can't deal with the noise and want a quieter heating appliance, you can look for a heater with a smaller size. In general, smaller heaters make less noise than the bigger ones.

You can also invest in more expensive space heaters. They are usually equipped with a better quality thermostat that doesn't make frequent noises when regulating the room temperature.

Oil-filled radiators and infrared heaters are said to be the most silent types of heaters since they don't come with a fan. It also helps if they come with a wooden surface as wood is more flexible and doesn't make noise when it expands.

Check out this infrared heater on Amazon.

It is always best to read the customer reviews before deciding to purchase your new space heater. You can check their feedback regarding the noise level and see which one suits your comfort level.

Below are some ways to reduce the noise coming from your heater if you don't want to replace it yet with a new one.

How to fix a noisy electric heater fan

If the noise is coming from your electric heater's fan, there might be something that you can do to make it quieter.

  1. Open the heater to have access to the fan.
  2. Unscrew the fan from its place and remove it carefully.
  3. Clean the fan blades. Remove any visible dust and dirt that have accumulated over time.
  4. Clean the fan bearings and lubricate them afterward.
  5. Screw the fan back in its position and put the heater back together.

Click this link to find this fan lubricant on Amazon.

What to do with a vibrating electric coil

If the vibration of the electric coil causes the noise, again this is natural and expected since the coil vibrates due to the high level of kinetic energy. Experts recommend applying varnish on the electric coil just to prolong its lifespan. It also adds a layer of protection from environmental stress so that it won't vibrate as much.

However, as the varnish wears off over time, the electric coil will again make loud noises whenever it is vibrating. While you can have it replaced with a new one, it is quite expensive, and you might as well just buy a new and quieter space heater for your room.

Noises coming from mounted space heaters

If your space heater is mounted on the wall, check that it is properly screwed in its place. Make sure it is mounted properly and level on the wall. Secure the bolts and screws but don't make them too tight as you need to give your heater enough space for expansion.

Final Thoughts

Woman reading book in living room, focus on electric fan heater

It is normal to hear crackling or clicking sounds from your space heater. Aside from being a natural reaction to changes in temperature, some components are bound to create sounds as they operate.

But the sounds they make are very different from the loud squealing noises of a broken transformer. It's best to know the difference between these sounds so that you know if you should be worried or not.

If you want to read more about heaters, you may visit the following links:

Types Of Space Heaters For Homes

10 Best Heaters For A Screened Porch

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