Like any other appliance in your house, your water heater can sometimes run into some issues. Some may be serious, rendering it impossible to heat the water, while others are minor issues that require a quick check-up to ensure they don’t worsen with time.
Often if there’s something wrong, your water heater will make noise, including a rumbling, cracking, or hissing sound. If you notice your water heater making noise, you might be concerned about the seriousness of the issue and if it will affect your system’s ability to heat water.
Is your water heater making noise? Some noises can indicate more severe problems than others. Listening to your system is the only way to identify the problem.
To help you out, we’ve listed a few of the most common noises and the likely causes. Read through these tips to determine whether it’s time to call a plumber to repair your system or replace your water heater altogether.
Why is my water heater making noise?
We get this question from homeowners often. Here’s a list of common noises and their causes:
- A screeching noise
This is undoubtedly one of the most common and disturbing noises you can hear from your water heater. The noise is mainly caused by pressure issues and can be quite serious if ignored.
If you hear a screeching or screaming noise from your water heater, it’s likely a problem with the water line valves. When the water valves don’t fully open, the water is forced to squeeze through. This builds up pressure, resulting in a high-pitched, irritating sound.
Luckily, while it is a serious issue, it’s also one that can easily be fixed. Call a professional plumber, tell them about the issue, and let them run a diagnostic on your system. They will identify why the valves aren’t opening and offer a permanent solution.
- A humming sound
It’s also common to hear a humming sound from your water heater. This is less serious than the first sound, but it should still be addressed as soon as possible.
Like many other devices in the home, water heaters are made up of different components fastened together with screws and bolts. Over time, the parts are prone to becoming loose.
A humming noise is a sign that a component of your system is loose. As such, the solution is to ensure that every part is well fastened.
While you may be able to solve the issue on your own, hiring a professional minimizes the risk of creating even more problems.
- A rumbling noise
Hot water tanks are prone to sediment build-up, especially for residents in areas with hard water issues. The minerals in the water usually settle at the base of the tank and can cause numerous problems. A good indicator of sediment build-up is a rumbling noise coming from the water heater tank.
Usually, as the water heats up, it expands. As a result, it pushes the previously settled sediments upward, and they collide against the tank’s walls, causing a rumbling noise.
To solve this water heater noise, drain the tank and remove the sediments. You can also try to break down the sediments using a descaling solution. If you can’t do this yourself, we would advise you to call a professional plumber to assist you.
- Sizzling, crackling, or hissing noise
Homeowners with electric water heaters are more likely to hear these sounds. Like the rumbling noises, these ones are also linked to sediment build-up.
The noises can get loud and usually occur if sediments have accumulated and cover the lower heating element. This isn’t a severe problem but besides the noise, it will have an impact on your energy bills.
This is because the heater will be straining to heat the water, as the lower element is covered with sediments. The more it strains, the more energy it uses, and the higher your bill will be.
For gas-powered water heater owners, a sizzling sound isn’t uncommon. This noise isn’t caused by sediment build-up but is usually due to internal condensation. As the water drips onto the hot burners, it produces a hissing sound. You might be dealing with a serious leaking issue if you hear a hissing noise.
The best solution is to call a trusted professional plumber. They are best suited to get your water heater back to normal and will catch any serious issues before they cause damage to your system.
- Knocking or hammering
If you’re experiencing a hammering or knocking noise from your water heater, you are most likely dealing with sediment build-up or water pressure issues.
If water crashes into your system’s shutoff valves too rapidly, you will likely notice a knocking sound. Also, the sediments prevent the steam bubbles from reaching the surface, which in turn, will cause the same knocking sound.
How do you fix it?
If your water heater noise is because of either reason, you have two options. First, get a water hammer arrestor to help absorb the shock in the water resulting from the rapid closing of shutoff valves. This will quickly get rid of the hammering sound.
The second option is to call a qualified plumber to resolve the issue. This is the most recommended option.
- Tapping Noise
Lastly, a hot water heater making a noise might indicate faulty valves. A malfunctioning valve will result in a tapping sound, meaning you need to adjust or replace the valves.
The tapping sound might also result from sediment build-up in the water tank. As mentioned earlier, flushing the sediments or using a descaling agent to dissolve the minerals is the best way to fix that.
Ensure you contact a professional plumber to get the work done. Remember, if done wrong, it can lead to higher monthly energy bills or more serious problems with your system.
Is your water heater making noise? Let Plumb-Tech help.
A water heater making noise can be both irritating and alarming. If this happens, you need not worry; a plumber can quickly resolve most issues. With the above facts and solutions, you can get your hot water system up and running in no time. If you hear any of the above noises, contact a professional immediately.
While some issues might seem minor, they could be the beginning of a larger problem. Also, trying to complete the tasks yourself can put you and your entire household at risk. Here at Plumb-Tech, our licensed professionals are available to help you with any of your plumbing needs. Book an appointment today.