Watch Out for These Water Heater Noises

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Do you hear noises coming out of your water heater? You are not the only one to make this observation.

Many people have experienced strange sounds in their hot-water tanks, but they are confused about explaining what’s going on.

The best step is to call experts in plumbing services. They’re the right people to perform an inspection. Even if there’s really nothing wrong with the heater, they can offer suggestions to reduce or prevent these noises.

However, to acquaint yourself with the sounds and know the steps plumbers take, check out this list:

1. Steam Showing from the Tank

If you notice steam coming from the water heater, there is likely a pressure valve leak. Hot water can cause pressure inside the tank to rise quickly. A faulty pressure valve will allow steam and hot water to come up through any openings for the excess heat and steam to escape safely.

The simplest way to check if this is the cause of your strange noises is to take a glance at the pressure relief or safety valve. If you see water or steam coming out of it, that might be the source of the noise.

If all it does is release excess steam, then there might be something more serious going on with the heating element/storage tank, etc., and professional help will be needed to assess whether repairs are needed.

2. Rattling from Inside Tank

On older tanks, the insulation surrounding the tank might have deteriorated over time. This makes what was once a safe container into an extremely hot metal box filled with boiling water.

When this happens, strange rattling sounds can come from inside the tank when water is being used in any way. These can include running a hot tap, taking a shower, etc.

At this point, repairs are needed to fix the problem. Plumbers can provide you with up-to-date insulation. Note that the average life of a water heater is between 6 and 12 years old. Once they reach these ages, consider replacing them instead of repair.

3. Knocking or Pinging

This particular sound is commonly present when there is rust inside the tank. It often occurs after a hot water shortage due to calcium deposits expanding from contracting metal parts in the system.

In some cases, noise only happens during times of low demand for hot water, such as late at night or early in the morning when showers have been taken earlier in the day.

As long as that’s not happening constantly, your heater should be fine without any intervention needed. However, if it seems to worsen with increased use of hot water throughout the day, it might be time to call a plumber or at least purchase a tank with better insulation.

4. Clanking from the Vent Pipe

This can be one of the more alarming noises because it sounds as if something is rusting away inside the walls directly behind where your water heater lives.

In reality, what’s happening is that a build-up of minerals and sediment has caused pressure to build up in the vent pipe. That pressure will cause vibrations, which result in this strange noise coming from your heat exchanger/vent pipes.

A professional should be called out for this problem. Cracks might be forming as a result of excess pressure. They should be addressed as soon as possible before they cause major damage to your unit or worse.

5. Gurgling or Gushing Sounds

Your water heater can make gurgling sounds for many reasons, each with its respective solutions. It is as simple as the sediment buildup mentioned earlier, causing pressure inside the heater. It will cause noise from any opening, so pressure can escape safely without breaking anything.

The same can happen if there’s a loose connection within the system where gas lines meet water connections. If this is the problem, you want a professional hydraulic plumber to look at this problem ASAP before it gets worse.

Another reason for this noise could be air being drawn into the tank through an open relief valve. It could mean your pressure valve is faulty and needs replacing.

6. Ticking Sounds

This noise can be one of the more difficult to identify. It is very similar to the sound made by a cricket or several crickets. However, if you aren’t keeping those as pets and this ticking sound varies in time, then there’s a good chance that something is wrong with your unit.

Check any temperature/pressure relief valves for leaks, i.e., steam coming out from them. If it is not the case, then the problem is likely to be related to sediment buildup.

Water heaters running in good condition do not make noises, so if they do, that’s a sign for you to do something about it before the problem gets worse.

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