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Why is my water heater making those strange noises?

December 23rd, 2020


Water heater making those strange noises

No doubt when you hear those strange noises of hammering, rumbling or hissing emerging from your water heater, it scares you. The first thought that comes to your mind is that your water heater has served its term and is doomed to break. The perspective of being left without hot water is not pleasing at all. You frantically start searching online what causes those sounds and seek for a solution.

Do not worry, read on to find out more about the reasons why your water heater makes those loud noises.

Reason # 1 – Deposit  

Deposit or sediment builds up in every water heater sooner or later. It resembles small sand pieces. Over time all this mass sinks to the bottom of your water heater tank where the heating element is located. Consequently water is mixed up with the sediment and trapped underneath it. When expanding hot water escapes from sediment at the bottom of a tank, it might cause that annoying rumbling sound. Regular flushing of your water heater will minimize the level of sediment build-up and ensure its proper operation. However, sometimes deposit collects to the point where flushing doesn’t help. If that’s the case, you may have to replace your water heater.

Reason #2 – High water pressure

If there is too much pressure in the hot water tank, your water heater will most likely produce that high pitched noise. First the temperature and pressure relief valve must be checked. This valve is designed to release water out of the tank in case of excessive pressure. If you see any water coming out of this valve, raise the alarm. Shut the water heater down and call a professional plumber.

Reason # 3 – Condensation or a Water Heater Leak?

When a large amount of hot water is drawn out of your water heater and a large amount of cold water enters the water heater tank, condensation usually takes place. This condensation can accumulate at the bottom of the heater and dribble onto the hot burner, making a hissing noise. Once the entire water heater is heated to 115° F, the sound should stop. A similar sound can also indicate a leak inside the heater. If you’re bothered by any sizzling or hissing sounds coming from your water heater, it would be better to call a plumber to see what truly causes the noise.

Reason #4 – Expansion of Plumbing Pipes

Expansion of plumbing pipes

Some expansion in the water pipes can produce a ticking noise because the pipes tap against their strap supports. The heat traps installed on the water heater might be another source of the noise. A small metal ball in the heat trap will rattle since it is also expanded by the heat of the appliance. To solve the problem, secure the pipe at the point where the sound is the loudest or install plastic spacers. Turning the water heater temperature down a few degrees might also help to reduce the pressure.

Now when you have read about the possible reasons for the strange noises coming from your water heater, another question is raised – should I attempt a DIY project or get a professional?

Of course, you can try to drain and flush your own water heater. You can even find precise instructions on how to do that. And you might think that you will save money in the long run. But what if something goes wrong and instead of saving money, you’ll spend more on repairs of your water heater? You can decide for yourself, but at Norwalk/La Mirada Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning we recommend to contact a professional plumber for such a task. At our company we have people who are capable of helping you to get rid of those weird noises as well as perform general water heater maintenance procedures to eliminate potential problems with your water heater in the future.

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Norwalk/La Mirada, CA 91766 | (562) 219-4085