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How To Fix A Noisy Water Heater

Your water heater is an essential component of your plumbing system, so when you hear strange noises it can be alarming. Find out what is causing issues with your hot water system in our guide!

Few things match the frustration of when you turn the water heater on, and it makes an unusual noise.

The importance of a water heater during winter and in cold areas cannot be understated. It provides warm or hot water for use in the bathroom, the dishwasher, the laundry machine and more. But if it starts making noises out of the blue, it could spell trouble and a lot of inconveniences.

That said, depending on the kind of noise your hot water heater makes, you may be able to address the issue. So, here are the four most common water heater noises and their common causes. By knowing the sounds and the relevant causes, you can easily fix the heater.

Identifying And Solving The 4 Common Water Heater Noises

Fixing Noisy Water Heater Tools

1. Banging Or Rumbling - Sediment Buildup

There’s a good chance you will encounter a banging or rumbling sound from your water heater in its lifetime. The reason for this can be traced back to the water heater tank: the longer a water heater runs, the more sediment accumulates in its tank.

When these sediments come in contact with hot water, they shift inside the water tank, causing the instantly recognisable banging noise. Sediments can cause a range of problems the longer they build up, so it’s imperative to get them resolved as quickly as possible.

How To Solve This Issue

If you’ve dealt with plumbing or water heating systems before, you can remove the deposit build-up with some effort. First, flush and drain the hot water tank to examine how bad the scaling is. Accordingly, you may need professional help to clear it out properly.

Next, use a long water hose to remove as much of the build-up as possible. You can also use a descaling solution to break the scaling down if necessary. Once the sediment clears out, consider washing the tank with freshwater before using it again.

You should also have the heater looked at annually. A plumber will flush out the tank for a nominal fee and clear the sediments out quickly and effectively.

2. Crackling Or Hissing - Sediment Buildup/Condensation

You may hear a crackling or hissing sound if you have an electric water heater. Much like the banging or rumbling sounds in tank heaters, you will encounter crackling sounds from an electric heater due to sediment build-up.

Due to the sediment build-up, your electric heater’s heating element must work harder to heat water. When this happens, you will see a noticeable increase in your electric bills, so be sure to keep an ear out for this problem.

Alternatively, if you have a gas water heater, you may find it making hissing sounds. This is due to condensation inside the heater, which then drops onto the burners, often causing sizzling sounds. Usually, a hissing sound in gas water heaters is a sign of a potential leak.

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How To Solve This Issue

For electric water heaters, the solution is to clear out the sediment build-up annually. You may rely on a licensed plumber or your DIY skills to solve the issue.

As for the hissing sounds from a gas heater, it’s best to rely on professional help. You shouldn’t delay contacting a plumber; contact them the moment you hear the noise. If left unattended, it can lead to serious concerns related to the heater and your safety.

3. Screeching - Water Pressure Buildup

Screeching noises coming from a water heater are very similar to those made by a kettle, as is the reason behind them. A water heater emits a screeching or screaming noise when the water flowing through its check valves gets restricted significantly. If water can’t get through the check valves properly, pressure builds up, which can be alleviated by a water hammer arrestor, thereby preventing potential problems.

How To Solve This Issue

The difficulty of solving this issue may vary from one heater model to the next, but the gist of the solution remains the same.

First, examine the pressure-releasing valve to see if it has built up too much pressure, as this is where this fault occurs most frequently. But if it’s not the pressure relief valve causing problems, consider also looking into the inlet and outlet valves. You may be able to ensure that they are adjusted properly using the manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Ticking - Heat Traps/Loose Parts

Fixing Noisy Hot Water System

Ticking or popping sounds can be a sign of different problems, as no single component in a water heater makes this noise. Your heater could create a ticking sound because of water pressure changes, expanding and contracting heat traps or loose pipe straps.

Fortunately, the problems associated with ticking sounds all have a fairly easy fix. And the consequences for not attending to them immediately are not severe.

That said, water pressure changes come with the greatest potential for damage. If the changes in water pressure are too frequent or drastic, they can damage the heater, necessitating repairs.

How To Solve This Issue

To stop the ticking noises from your heater, you should begin by identifying the source of the problem. This is usually simple and quick, taking a few minutes at most.

You can control the water pressure in the heater using the pressure-reducing valve. Next, install extra straps or insulation to resolve the issue with loose pipe straps. And lastly, for the heat traps, you can switch them out for non-heat trapping nipples.

But if the ticking continues at an alarming rate, you should call a technician.

Be At Peace With Your Hot Water System!

A water heater making noise can be quite alarming, but more often than not, it is not a cause for concern. The issues that cause your heater to make noises can often be swiftly diagnosed and treated, ensuring your heater is making noises no more.

When you encounter such noises, you should first turn the heater off and wait for it to cool down. Dealing with a noisy heater is a simple matter of identifying the source of the problem, and the noise itself can lead to the correct solution.

Lastly, even if your heater doesn’t make any noises or show any signs of a problem, you should have the device looked at. A professional will be able to resolve the issue and provide you with valuable information on the matter so that it doesn’t occur again.

If you ever need help installing or repairing a water heater in Sydney, contact Service First Plumbing. Our efficient and affordable services will be available anywhere in Sydney, 24 hours a day and throughout the year.

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