Your Water Heater is Making Loud Noises: What Do You Do?

The last thing you want to deal with when relaxing at home is hearing weird noises coming from your water heater. This can be difficult to diagnose, especially when the noises are inconsistent. Your water heater has a big job to do: heating up your water so you can have showers, wash your dishes, and clean your clothes.

Whether you hear banging, sizzling, hissing, or crackling noises, there are many common water heater noises and causes. Your best bet is to hire a professional plumber in Boerne to properly diagnose and treat the issue.

Common Water Heater Noises and Their Causes

Whether you have a traditional water heater or a tankless version, here are some of the common noises you may hear when sediment has built up, your unit is aging, or a part needs to be replaced.

1. Rumbling

Sediment build-up is a big issue with water tanks, especially if your home has hard water. When mineral deposits settle at the bottom of the tank, they can lead to many problems. As the water heats up, it expands and pushes up through the sediment to get to the top, causing the sediment to push out against the sides and bottom. This produces that rumbling sound you may be hearing.

If you’re handy, you can flush and drain the water tank with a hose to get out the sediment, or try a descaling solution to break down limescale.

2. Popping

Popping is also caused by sediment and limescale build-up. You may hear this when steam bubbles start to form underneath the sediment, bursting as the water heats up. A descaling product could help break down the minerals, but a flush and drain would also work.

3. Sizzling, Hissing, or Crackling

You usually hear these sounds coming from electric water heaters, caused by sediment build-up at the base. You can avoid this by flushing and draining the water heater each year. If not, the lower heating element can get buried by sediment and start to produce those noises. Your energy bill will also likely increase if you do not address this problem. That’s because the water heater is struggling to keep up yet can’t produce enough heat to do the job.

If you hear sizzling sounds with a gas water heater, this is caused by internal condensation as moisture drips onto the burners. This could be a sign of a leak somewhere, which would need a plumber’s attention.

4. Ticking

These noises can be caused by changes in water pressure, energy-efficient heat trap nipples, or loose pipe straps, which are harmless situations for the most part. Ticking sounds due to water pressure shouldn’t damage your system, provided the changes are not frequent or significant.

Energy-efficient heat trap nipples are designed to improve functionality, but you can always switch them out for non-heat trap nipples if you are annoyed by the ticking sound.

If the problem is caused by loose pipe straps, simply tighten or replace them, or consider lowering the heat a bit.

5. Tapping

These noises indicate that the valves need to be adjusted or replaced. Sometimes, they can also indicate sediment buildup in the water tank.

6. Screeching, Singing, or Screaming

If you hear high-pitched noises (similar to a boiling tea kettle), this is what happens when there is restricted water flow through a valve. First, check the temperature and pressure relief valve. If the sound is coming from the relief valve, turn off the gas, electricity, and water, then reach out to a plumber.

If that’s not the source of the sound, the inlet valve, the outlet valve, or water lines could be to blame. Make sure the valves are open all the way and inspect the lines to make sure there are no blockages or kinks. If you notice damaged lines or the sounds continue no matter what you do, call a plumber.

7. Banging or Hammering

When water is forced to abruptly stop or change direction, a pressure surge can occur, possibly resulting in burst pipes or even the deformation of the water tank. A water hammer arrestor or pressure-reduction valve can rectify these problems. Again, calling a plumber is advised whenever you are dealing with a high-pressure situation.

Get a Free Quote From Plumb Star Plumbing

If your water heater is making any of these noises, call Plumb Star Plumbing to troubleshoot the situation and recommend the best course of action: repair or replacement. Contact us for a free quote and schedule an appointment at (830) 981-8702.