What’s That Sound? Strange Noises from Your Water Heater Explained

Noises from Your Water Heater Explained

Virtually no one listens to the sounds emitted by their water heater, but when they do, it may mean something more serious! Your water heater is meant to stay in the background of your noisy daily life, so when you do hear something, it could signal a more serious problem.

Odd noises that may sound like an intruder in your home could actually be attributed to this common household appliance. Though it is oddly tempting to ignore the temper tantrums of your unit, you may be choosing to overlook something more serious! You depend on your water heater for so many things to ensure the running of your household smoothly, which is why opting to call for help at the first signs of trouble can prevent you from spending time without hot water.

Below, we will discuss some of the more common sounds you might hear from your unit along with what they usually mean.


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The Popping Noise

You may know the popping sound your coffee maker makes and associate it with something cozy and familiar. Unfortunately, when that same comforting noise is coming from your water heater, it could spell trouble! This noise often means your unit has a large layer of sediment collected on the bottom of your tank where the heat exchanger is located. The heated water will eventually rise up in bubbles through the sediment and create that common popping noise.

A water heater with so much sediment not only sounds bad, but performs even worse. This lowers its ability to remain energy efficient and while you may not want to, hiring professionals to flush your tank can help solve the problem!

The Rumbling Sound

Though hardly commonplace and generally categorized as extremely rare, if you hear a small built-up rumbling noise akin to an explosion, make sure you pay attention! Usually, the reason for this racket is the cause of either dirt building up inside of the tank, or the dip tube needs attention.

The Sizzling Sound

You may in some instances hear a sizzling sound that’s similar to a juicy steak on a stovetop. This will signal that there’s an issue with your valves and the water flow is clogged up. For gas water heaters, this is especially a serious problem as it means that water is slowly leaking into your heat exchanger and it needs attention as soon as you hear it!

The Humming Vibration

Electric water heaters may sometimes sound like they are humming or vibrating. This is most commonly caused by a loose heating element that has water flowing around it. The water flow will cause the heating elements to vibrate, but fortunately, this is an easy fix if you call a professional. They can tighten your loose element and ensure proper function.


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Never tamper with your water heater by yourself! Oftentimes, homeowners inadvertently make a simple problem much worse by throwing caution to the wind and not calling in professional reinforcements. By having us come in, we can ensure that your unit remains in safe working condition.

For all of your HVAC needs contact the experts at JD Swallow today!

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