electric space heater on wood floor

The winter has come, and the cold is here with it. So you get out your trusty space heater and plug it in, so you don’t have to sit in a freezing house all winter. Space heaters are one of the most useful appliances for this reason but space heaters can malfunction. If you’re asking yourself why is my space heater making noise, like a popping or clanging, it isn’t uncommon but could be a problem.

Some noises are cause for concern, while others are harmless and have no reason to try and repair the unit. To understand what these noises mean and the best way to deal with them, read our article on noisy space heaters.

How Do Space Heaters Work?

Space heaters use a heating element and operate with electricity, kerosene, or gas, depending on the type of space heater.

Space heaters use a heating method called Joule heating which moves air over a heating element to warm it and uses convection to force the air out of the unit and into the space.

Common Noises Space Heaters Make

Space heaters can make an array of troubling noises that may alarm the user. Electrical appliances and products that use a heating element can make noises that sound odd and even dangerous to the owner.

These are some of the most common noises that come from a space heater:

  • Crackling
  • Popping
  • Humming
  • Buzzing
  • Clicking
  • Screeching
  • Rattling

Some of these noises are innocuous, but others may signify an appliance failure or electrical problem. This guide will educate you on what the different noises might mean, what causes them, and if there is any way you can fix it.

Causes of Noise from a Space Heater

Heater Expanding

When materials like metal heat up, they expand, and sometimes this can result in strange clicking or crackling noises.

There are many parts of a space heater that can expand and make these clicking noises

Noisy Fan

If you hear a strong hum or buzz coming from your space heater, this may be caused by the fan that blows the heat out of the unit and into your space. If the fan is old and worn-out or damaged in any way, it will likely result in an odd noise.

Some fans will make a low humming noise, and there isn’t any way to fix it. Other fans may become damaged slightly in transport, resulting in a funny noise when the fan spins.

Vibrating Electric Coil Heater

Some space heaters use vibrating coils that heat the air it sucks in, using friction, and then use a small motored fan to push out the hot air. The coils can make a rattling or popping sound that scares the owner.

It can be sharp to the ear but is no cause for concern as the coils are just doing their duty. If you hear this noise, turning off the space heater for an hour can help the coils cool off and be less noisy.

Loose Screws

Loose screws are common in many appliances, not just space heaters. Over time screws can come loose from normal wear and tear.

Incorrect Mounting Brackets

Sometimes the mounting brackets on the space heater aren’t installed correctly, leaving space between the heater and mount. This can result in an odd creaking or rattling noise. It’s nothing to be seriously concerned about but can cause an annoying noise.

Two-point Control

A two-point control system on a space heater means that the space heater uses less power or turns off when the warm is room, and the space heater gets warmer or turns on when the temperature drops below a certain threshold.

When the space heater switches between settings automatically, it sometimes makes off humming or jerking sounds, which is nothing to worry about.

Fixes For Strange Noises

Why Is My Space Heater Making Noise
Source: Shutterstock
  1. Tighten all screws and bolts.
  2. Turn the space heater off for a day.
  3. Call the manufacturer for replacement parts.
  4. Call an HVAC Expert to inspect it.

Bottom Line

So many people rely on space heaters to keep them warm during the winter months. If your space heater is acting up and making weird noises in your home, it doesn’t mean the heater is broken.

Hopefully, our article helps you see that many of these noises are just part of owning and operating a space heater. But others may require immediate action or an expert’s help.

Next time your space heater begins making a funny noise in the middle of the night, refer to this guide so you can remedy the problem and get back to a warm and peaceful sleep.


What is the noisiest type of space heater?

Oil-filled space heaters or convection-type space heaters usually make the most noise just because of the process through which they operate.

Can I buy a space heater that won’t make noise?

You probably can, but it isn’t a guarantee. So if you can’t stand space heater noises, check out one of these quiet and energy-efficient space heaters.

Are the noises dangerous?

Most of the noises that space heaters make are not a cause for serious concern. Especially, clicking and popping noises, which are extremely common.

However, when you hear a screeching noise or something that sounds like an airplane, you may want to turn it off and begin inspecting the situation.

Are space heaters safe?

Space heaters are safe to use but with any appliance that uses a heating element and electricity, there are potential hazards. Space heaters can start fires if there is faulty wiring or they are plugged into an extension cord.

There are general safety guidelines everyone should follow when using any kind of space heater.