Why Does My Heater Make A Clicking Sound When It Starts?

You’re no stranger to the familiar clicking sound your heater makes when it kicks on. It has become a regular companion during the cold winter months, but have you ever wondered why it happens? This article aims to shed light on the mysterious clicking sound that accompanies the start of your heater. From potential causes to troubleshooting tips, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of this common occurrence and be armed with knowledge to address any concerns that may arise. So sit back, relax, and let’s uncover the secrets behind that distinctive click.

Possible Causes of Clicking Sound

If you’ve noticed that your heater is making a clicking sound when it starts, there are several possible causes. It’s important to identify the source of the clicking so that you can determine whether it’s a simple issue that you can fix yourself or if it requires professional attention. Here are some potential causes of a clicking sound in your heater:

Faulty Igniter


The igniter is responsible for lighting the burner in your heater. If the igniter is faulty, it may not be able to properly ignite the fuel, resulting in a clicking sound as it tries to ignite repeatedly.


In addition to the clicking sound, you may also notice that your heater takes longer than usual to start or that it fails to start altogether. A faulty igniter may also emit a small spark or glow that is not strong enough to ignite the burner.


A faulty igniter can be caused by wear and tear over time, or it may be the result of a power surge or electrical issue. It’s also possible that the igniter has simply reached the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced.


To resolve a faulty igniter, you will need to replace it. This is typically a straightforward process, but if you’re not comfortable working with electrical components, it’s best to leave it to a professional.

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Loose Electrical Connections


Loose electrical connections can also cause a clicking sound in your heater. When electrical connections are loose, they can create sparks or arcing, leading to a clicking noise.


Aside from the clicking sound, you may notice intermittent operation of your heater, or it may fail to start altogether. You might also experience flickering or dimming lights when the heater attempts to turn on.


Loose electrical connections can be caused by vibrations or movement of the heater over time. They can also occur as a result of improper installation or maintenance.


To fix loose electrical connections, you will need to locate and tighten any loose wires or terminals. However, it’s important to exercise caution when working with electricity. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult a professional to avoid any potential hazards.

Dirty Burner


A dirty burner can also contribute to a clicking sound in your heater. Over time, dust, debris, and other particles can accumulate on the burner, disrupting the flow of gas and causing the burner to click as it tries to ignite.


In addition to the clicking sound, you may also notice an uneven flame or a delay in the ignition of the burner. A dirty burner can also lead to decreased heating efficiency and increased energy consumption.


A dirty burner is typically the result of insufficient cleaning and maintenance. Regular cleaning is necessary to remove any buildup and ensure optimal burner performance.


To resolve a dirty burner, you will need to clean it thoroughly. Start by turning off the heater and allowing it to cool completely. Remove any debris or buildup from the burner using a soft brush or cloth. Avoid using abrasive materials or cleaners, as they can damage the burner. If you’re unsure how to clean the burner properly, it’s best to consult a professional.

Malfunctioning Fan Motor


The fan motor in your heater is responsible for circulating warm air throughout your space. If the fan motor is malfunctioning, it can cause a clicking sound as it tries to start or operate.


In addition to the clicking sound, you may also notice that the fan is not operating at full speed or that it’s making unusual noises. Your heater may also fail to distribute warm air effectively, resulting in uneven heating.


A malfunctioning fan motor can be caused by various factors, including wear and tear, lack of lubrication, or electrical issues. It’s also possible that the fan motor has reached the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced.

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To fix a malfunctioning fan motor, you will likely need to replace it. This can be a more complex task, as it involves working with electrical components. It’s recommended to seek the assistance of a professional to ensure the motor is replaced correctly and safely.

Defective Relay or Control Board


The relay and control board in your heater are responsible for regulating the operation of various components, including the ignition sequence. If either of these components is defective, it can cause a clicking sound as the control board repeatedly tries to initiate the ignition process.


In addition to the clicking sound, you may notice erratic or abnormal operation of your heater. It may fail to start, or there may be a delay in the ignition process. Other symptoms can include error codes on the display panel or a complete loss of functionality.


Defective relays or control boards can be caused by electrical issues, power surges, or simply normal wear and tear over time. These components are crucial for proper heater operation, and any defects can disrupt the ignition process.


To resolve issues with a defective relay or control board, you will need to have the faulty component replaced. This is a task that should be handled by a professional, as it requires specialized knowledge and experience.

Common Troubleshooting Tips

If you’re experiencing a clicking sound in your heater, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take before calling a professional. These tips can help narrow down the potential causes and potentially resolve the issue.

Check for Loose Panels

Start by checking if any panels on your heater are loose. Loose panels can cause vibrations that lead to a clicking sound. Ensure that all panels are securely fastened in place.

Inspect/Clean the Igniter

If you suspect a faulty igniter is causing the clicking sound, you can inspect it for any visible signs of damage or wear. Clean the igniter to remove any buildup that may be affecting its performance. Be careful not to damage the igniter in the process.

Clean the Burner

A dirty burner can be cleaned to remove any debris or buildup that may be causing the clicking sound. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure proper cleaning.

Inspect and Tighten Electrical Connections

Check all electrical connections in your heater, including wires and terminals. Ensure that they are securely connected and tighten any loose connections. Exercise caution when working with electricity.

Replace Faulty Fan Motor

If you suspect a malfunctioning fan motor, it may need to be replaced. Contact a professional to properly diagnose and replace the faulty motor. Attempting to replace it yourself can result in further damage or injury.

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Replace Defective Relay or Control Board

If you’ve determined that a defective relay or control board is causing the clicking sound, it’s best to seek the assistance of a professional. They will have the knowledge and expertise to safely replace the faulty component.

When to Seek Professional Help

While there are troubleshooting steps you can take, there are certain situations where it’s best to seek professional help for your clicking heater.

Loud or Unusual Clicking Sounds

If the clicking sounds coming from your heater are particularly loud or unusual, it’s recommended to call a professional. This can indicate a more serious issue that requires immediate attention.

Repeated Clicking Without Heating

If your heater repeatedly clicks but fails to produce warm air or heat your space, it’s a sign that there may be a more significant problem at play. A professional can help diagnose and resolve the issue.

Repeatedly Tripping Circuit Breaker

If the clicking sound from your heater causes the circuit breaker to trip repeatedly, it’s a clear indication of an electrical issue. This should be addressed by a professional to avoid any potential hazards.

Burning Smell or Smoke

If you notice a burning smell or see smoke coming from your heater, it’s important to turn it off immediately and seek professional assistance. This is a sign of a potentially dangerous situation that requires prompt attention.

Preventive Maintenance Tips

To help avoid clicking sounds in your heater and ensure its optimal performance, consider implementing these preventive maintenance tips:

Regular Cleaning and Inspection

Regularly clean your heater, including the burner and other components, to prevent the buildup of dust and debris. Inspect the heater for any signs of damage or wear and address them promptly.

Changing Air Filters

Regularly change the air filters in your heater as recommended by the manufacturer. Clean filters ensure proper airflow and help prevent issues that can lead to clicking sounds.

Annual Professional Maintenance

Schedule annual maintenance checks with a professional heating technician. They can thoroughly inspect and clean your heater, identify any potential issues, and provide necessary repairs or adjustments.


While a clicking sound in your heater can be concerning, it’s important to remember that many of the potential causes can be resolved with proper maintenance or minor repairs. By identifying the source of the clicking sound and taking appropriate action, you can ensure the continued efficient performance of your heater and maintain a comfortable environment in your home or workspace. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable addressing the issue yourself, don’t hesitate to contact a professional who can provide expert guidance and assistance. Remember, prioritizing the safety and functionality of your heater will contribute to its longevity and your overall comfort.