Why Is My Water Heater Making Strange Noises?

technician repairing tank water heater

For the most part, you shouldn’t be able to hear your tank water heater while it operates. That means that if you hear it making strange noises, there’s typically a problem you’ll need to address. Below we’ll explain four of the most common water heater sounds, why they occur, and what usually needs to be done to fix the issue.

1. Rumbling or Popping

This noise occurs when a layer of sediment has accumulated at the bottom of your water heater tank. That layer traps water underneath, and when that water boils, the bubbles burst against the sediment and make the popping or rumbling sound.

Usually, you can prevent and solve this issue by routinely flushing your water heater tank. However, if your water heater is older than 10 years and has severe sediment buildup, you may want to replace it.

2. Sizzling

Sizzling frequently signals a leak. The sound you’re hearing is leaking water dripping down onto the burner. Inspect the area around the tank for water, and contact a plumber for a repair. Keep in mind that if the tank is leaking due to corrosion, the best course of action is to replace the entire unit. Other types of leaks are much less risky to repair.

3. Whistling or Screeching

When your water heater makes this sound, it almost always means that there’s restricted water flow somewhere, typically at the inlet control valve. If the valve is shut partway, water will have difficulty flowing through it, and you’ll hear that accompanying noise. Opening the valve all the way should solve the problem.

4. Humming

A strange hum coming from the tank commonly has to do with a loose heating element. Inside the tank, the heating element is situated vertically. If it loosens, and it will vibrate rapidly and make a humming noise as water flows around it. A plumbing repair technician only needs to tighten the element back into place to solve this issue.

For reliable water heater repair in Baltimore, contact our expert team at Albright's Mechanical Services today: (410) 834-0148.

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