Why Is Your Water Heater Making Strange Noises?

fixing a water heater

A water heater that functions properly is a silent helper, improving the comfort and functionality of your home. But what if you hear strange noises coming from the water heater? Why is it suddenly making those troubling sounds?

Before you panic, be assured that a noisy water heater does not necessarily spell impending doom. However, it does warrant some attention and understanding. Learn what your heater may be trying to tell you.

Expansion and Contraction

Every time you use hot water, the heater expands and contracts as the tank refills and begins to heat more water. This frequent change can lead to odd creaking or ticking sounds, and it’s usually a standard part of the water heater’s operation. But if you notice the noises getting louder or more continuous, contact a professional to come check it out.

High Water Pressure

Do you hear more of a whining or hissing sound? Your water pressure could be too high, and your heater may be straining to accommodate it. That means the noise is coming from the safety valve being forced open to release extra water. Adjusting the water pressure is an effective way to prevent a leaking water heater.

Sediment Buildup

If you’ve had your current water heater for several years, or if you live in an area with highly mineralized water, you may have buildup at the bottom of your tank. Popping or crackling noises indicate that water is bubbling up through that sediment layer. Luckily, you can troubleshoot this water heater woe by flushing out the tank on a regular basis.

Faulty Heating Elements

Persistent humming or buzzing noises could indicate that your heater’s crucial heating element is either worn out with age or caked with sediment. Ignoring this issue can lead to more significant problems down the line, like insufficient hot water or a complete breakdown of the heater. If your water heater buzzes nonstop, call a professional to inspect and possibly replace the heating element.

The sounds emanating from your water heater are more than just an auditory nuisance; think of them as your heater trying to alert you to a problem. Why does your water heater make strange noises? Depending on the nature of the sounds, they could indicate either a fixable problem or that it’s time to replace your heater.

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