Why Is The Water Heater Making Noises?

The hot and cold water is likely to be the least thought about systems that are inside most homes across the country.

Most people take for granted that when they walk up to the faucet or turn on the shower that they will have hot water when they want it.

Unfortunately, just like all of the major mechanical systems inside the home, the hot water heater will eventually begin to fail.

The lack of hot or warm water throughout the house is an easy giveaway that there could be a problem with your hot water heater.

However, there are some other things that are common with hot water heaters that are known to indicate that there might be something seriously wrong with the hot water heater.

As part of our research for this article, there are several different noises that homeowners have reported that they heard coming from the hot water heater.

Inside this article, we decided to the four most common of all the noises and a solution that most homeowners should be able to repair.

4 Most common noises that a hot water heater can make

  • #1 Loud Popping sounds
  • #2 Loud Screeching sounds
  • #3 A Crackling sound
  • #4 A Sizzling sound

Loud popping sounds

If you happen to hear strange popping sounds coming out where you have your household hot water heater you might be dealing with a potentially serious situation.

A loud popping sound is normally caused by an excessive buildup of debris inside the hot water heater.

This debris can go undetected for quite a while and end up doing some serious damage.

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If you are hearing the popping sound from your hot water heater chances are very strong that you have a buildup of some type of sediment at the bottom of your hot water heater.

If you know that you have hard water, to begin with, it is likely you have calcium or other minerals that have collected in the hot water tank.

Fortunately, you remedy this yourself by flushing out the tank to remove any of the sediment.

Most water heaters have a drain at the bottom of the tank and you can attach a garden hose to the drain and run the hose away from where your tank is located.

By opening the valve and letting the water and sediment drain of you should be able to clear it out.

Loud Screeching sounds

The hot water heater is an integral part of the water system in the house. It is designed to supply the whole house with all of the hot water through the internal water lines.

It heats and stores water and when it is needed for showering/bathing or other purposes the water is directed through the hot water lines throughout the house.

All seems normal until one day you happen to hear an unusual screeching noise coming from the utility room where your hot water heater is located.

The primary cause of a screeching noise coming from the hot water heater is some type of water flow restriction.

This restriction will prevent the water heater from filling up normally.

The primary cause of water flow restriction is stuck or faulty water inlet valve.

The solution might be as simple as checking to see if the valve is partially closed.

If the handle is partially close you will want to turn it to the fully open position and the screeching noise should silence.

If that does not silence it, you likely have a faulty inlet valve and it will need to be replaced.

You can get a replacement manual valve and replace it by shutting off the main water valve and remove the old valve and put in the new one.

When you turn the main water valve back on you should notice the screeching has stopped.

A Crackling sound (for gas hot water heaters)

While hearing strange noises from the certain appliances or components of the major systems in your home may be unnerving.

However, not all of these noises are necessarily bad or an indication of a problem.

This is especially true when you are talking about your hot water heater. 

If you happen to have gas appliances and include your hot water heater, you may eventually experience strange noises.

One of those noises that are specific to gas hot water heaters is a loud crackling sound.

This crackling noise can be a bit unnerving if you happen to hear it, however, unlike other scary noises, this one is caused by some condensation in the system.

When there is a buildup of condensation on the of the burner inside the hot water heater it will commonly cause a crackling noise.

This noise can be annoying at times, but it is hardly anything to worry about and will cause not to cause any damage or present any dangerous conditions.

A hissing sound

The hot water heater in your house is designed to both heat and supply the hot water to all parts of your home.

Regardless of whether your model of water heater uses electricity to power the heating elements or it uses gas and a burner to heat the water it generally works the same way.

During the daily operation of a hot water heater there many different scary or strange sounds that can be heard coming from the utility closet that often houses the unit.

If you happen to hear a hissing sound coming from the utility closet where hot water heater is located it can be a number of things.

A hissing sound can be caused by condensation that is created when the hot water tank is being filled.

When the cooler water comes in contact with the warmer surfaces of the exposed tank it can generate a hissing sound.

However, there is also another thing that can cause a hissing sound and it is much more serious.

The hissing sound could be caused by a leak in the hot water tank and since it is under pressure, the releasing of the water can generate a loud hissing noise.

It is easy to eliminate a leak as the problem by doing a quick check of the inside of the utility closet.

If you don’t see and visual sign of a leak (water pooling or running across the floor) then it is likely that it is not a big deal.

However, if it is an actual leak coming from the tank, you will likely have to call a plumber and have it replaced.

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