Is your water heater noisy?

Having a loud, noisy water heater is mostly a nuisance, but sometimes it can also mean a problem is present. As a water heater ages, sediment accumulates at the bottom of the tank. This is especially true if the water heater has not been drained on a regular basis.

Water heater sediment

The noise described as “rumbling” or “banging” is usually the sound of expanding heated water escaping from sediment at the bottom of a tank. This situation is not dangerous, but it is a sign that the water heater has lost much of its efficiency.

  • Rumbling
  • Shaking and vibration sounds
  • Banging when the water heater is heating up

As sediment builds up, more and more heat is lost up the chimney. This results in less heat getting into your water. The overheating of the bottom of the tank also reduces the tank life and can lead to the failure of the water heater.

Certain areas are notorious for “bad” water. In these areas, flushing the water heater can extend its life and save money on energy costs. However, once sediment is allowed to build up and solidify, it is similar to coral. This sediment can be almost impossible to remove from residential model heaters. To prevent this solidification, a homeowner can flush the water heater periodically. If the sediment can be flushed out, it should fix the problem. If not, it may be time to replace your water heater.

Other Noisy Water Heater Issues

A screeching or high pitched noise from your water heater can be the result of high incoming water pressure. This can be a problem and should be diagnosed and repaired as quickly as possible. Water heaters are designed with a temperature/pressure relief safety valve. This valve is designed to open and release water when the temperature is too high or if there is an excess buildup of pressure inside the tank.

  • High Pitched Noise
  • Screeching From The Tank

If for some reason this valve fails to open and the water heater is over pressurized, this should be addressed. Long term excess pressure in the plumbing system or water heater can lead to cracks, leaks, and in very rare cases, a burst water heater.