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  • Writer's pictureGilad Ifrach

Why is my water heater making noise?

Water heaters can make a variety of noises, each indicating different potential issues. Here are some common noises and their possible causes:

1. Popping or Crackling Noises

Cause: Sediment Buildup

  • Over time, minerals and sediment from hard water can accumulate at the bottom of the water heater tank. When the burner heats the water, it causes the sediment to shift and pop, creating these noises.

Solution: Flush the Tank

  • Turn off the water heater and let it cool. Drain the tank to remove sediment buildup. Regular flushing (once a year) can help prevent this issue.

2. Hissing or Sizzling Noises

Cause: Leaks

  • Hissing or sizzling sounds can indicate a leak in the tank or a leak in the connections, allowing water to come into contact with the heating elements.

Solution: Inspect for Leaks

  • Check for any visible signs of water around the water heater and connections. Tighten loose connections or replace faulty parts. If the tank itself is leaking, it may need to be replaced.

3. Banging or Knocking Noises

Cause: Water Hammer

  • Water hammer occurs when water flow is suddenly stopped or changed, causing pipes to bang or knock. It’s not directly related to the water heater but can affect the entire plumbing system.

Solution: Install Water Hammer Arrestors

  • Installing water hammer arrestors or cushions can help absorb the shock and reduce the noise.

4. Rumbling Noises

Cause: Sediment or Scale Buildup

  • Similar to popping noises, rumbling can occur due to larger amounts of sediment or scale buildup, causing the water to boil and create these sounds.

Solution: Deep Clean or Replace the Water Heater

  • Flushing the tank can help, but if the buildup is severe, you may need to deep clean the tank or replace the water heater.

5. High-Pitched Screeching Noises

Cause: Partially Closed Valve

  • A high-pitched screeching noise is often caused by water being forced through a small opening, such as a partially closed valve.

Solution: Check and Adjust Valves

  • Ensure that the inlet and outlet valves are fully open. If the noise persists, check other valves and connections for proper adjustment.

Regular Maintenance Tips

  • Annual Flushing: Regularly flush your water heater to remove sediment buildup.

  • Check the Anode Rod: Inspect and replace the anode rod every 2-3 years to prevent tank corrosion.

  • Temperature Settings: Keep the thermostat set to around 120°F to prevent overheating and reduce sediment formation.

  • Inspect for Leaks: Regularly check for any signs of leaks around the water heater and its connections.

If these solutions do not resolve the noise or if you are unsure about performing maintenance yourself, it is advisable to contact a professional plumber to inspect and service your water heater.

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