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Why Is My Water Heater Making Noise? 5 Noises & How to Fix

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Why Is My Water Heater Making Noise?

It’s not often that homeowners take notice of their home’s water heater. When functioning properly, water heaters are typically kept out of sight and out of mind.  Yet, if you notice the water heater making noises, it’s time to take a second look. The average lifespan of a residential water heater is 8 to 12 years. The life cycle of this water system is dependant on variables such as usage patterns, water type, and maintenance routines. To prolong the life of your gas or electric water heater, we recommend performing at least a water heater tune-up with a professional at least once  year. To help diagnose your water heater issue, we’ve compiled a list of the most common water heater noises, explaining what they mean and how to fix them:

Water Heater Noises to Look Out For:

Popping Noises Are Produced From Mineral Deposits

If your water heater is making a popping noise, there may be a large buildup of mineral deposits and sediment in the water tank. When water becomes trapped beneath this buildup, it causes pockets of air and popping sounds to ocur in the system. To fix this issue, have your water heater flushed each year by a professional plumbing service. Stephens Plumbing offers water heater repair, tune-up, installation, and maintenance  services to homes in Downers Grove and other areas of Illinois.

This popping water heater noise may affect the quantity of hot water in the home. As this issue becomes more severe over time, the excess sediment may cause the water heater to overheat. This will cause damage to internal components and will decrease the lifespan of the water system. In severe cases, a popping water heater sound may lead to cracks and leaks in the water tank.

Why Is My Water Heater Making Noise?

Screeching Sounds Are an Indicator of a Partially Closed Inlet Control Valve

If the water heater is making a screeching noise, this is an indicator of a water flow restriction issue. Most often the inlet control valve is to blame. When this valve is not fully open, water is restricted and the screeching occurs. An easy fix for this common water heater noise is to simply check to ensure the valve is fully open. 

Crackling Noises Are Caused By Excess Condensation

Another common water heater issue in homes is buildup of condensation on the burner. If the water heater is making a cracking noise, this is a sign of a condensation issue. While the sound may be alarming, there is nothing to worry about, this problem should take care of itself rather quickly. 

Sizzling Sounds May Signal a Water Heater Tank Leak

If the water heater is making a sizzling noise, this is a clear indicator of a water leak in the tank. When water drips on the burner a sizzling sound occurs. If you notice a sizzling water heater sound or water around the base of your heater, call a professional plumbing service right away. 

Humming Sounds

If you notice the water heater is making a humming noise, this may be due to a loose heating element. When this component isn't properly tightened, it will vibrate throughout standard operation and will produce a noticable noise. Give our team a call by phone at (630) 968-0783 to receive assistance with this problem.

How to Drain a Water Heater

If your water heater is making a crackling, popping, or sizzling noise, excess mineral buildup may be the culprit. Draining the excess sediment and minerals may eliminate these common noises and restore the heater to normal operational patterns. Follow the steps below to safely and quickly drain a hot water heater

  • Connect a hose to the valve that is located at the bottom of the water heater unit. Place the other end near a floor drain.
  • Turn off the power to the unit, Turn off the cold water tap that flows water to the heater.
  • Open the drain flow knob to allow the trapped water, minerals, and sediment to exit the water heater tank
  • Continue to discharge the water for a total of 5 minutes.

Water Heater Repair Issues

Not Noisy? Learn More Top Water Heater Issues

Some issues aren't able to be detected by noticable water heater noises. Other types of problems may be hard to pinpoint and resolve if you’re unaware of other common signs associated with water heater failure. Keep reading to learn more about other common water heater issues.

Minimal Hot Water

In need of more hot water? Turn up the temperature on the water heater! Be careful not to turn it too high - a few degrees should help bring more hot water into your home. If the hot water supply remains low, we recommend checking the water heater to cocnfirm if it's making noise. We also offer reliable HVAC services such as furnace repair, boiler installation, and humidifier replacement. Give us a call by phone at (630) 968-0783 or book an appointment online to receive assistance with a plumbing or HVAC issue.

No Hot Water

If you have no hot water in your house, this is a sign of an issue with the internal heating element in the water heater. In a gas water heater, it could mean the pilot light has gone out. If the pilot light is on, the internal element may need to be replaced (found in both gas and electric water heaters). Call a plumbing professional for this quick repair. 

Why Is My Water Heater Making Noise?

Water Has Odor

Smelly water typically indicates bacteria in the water. Flushing the water heater tank should remove the bacteria and eliminate the odor. If the odor persists, it may be time to invest in a new water heater.

Leaking Water Heater

A leaking water heater needs to be dealt with ASAP to avoid further damage. When a water tank begins to leak, this is usually a sign that it’s time for a replacement. Stephens Plumbing offers water heater repair and replacement services to homes in areas such as Darien, Naperville, Oak Brook, Wheaton, Westmont, and Downers Grove. Give us a call by phone at (630) 968-0783 or fill out our Contact Form to receive help with a water heater problem.

Benefits of a Gas Water Heater

Gas water heaters are found in roughly 60% of the homes in the United States. There are many reasons gas is the preferred water heater model including:

  • Natural gas is much cheaper than electricity, meaning gas water heaters cost less to run
  • Gas water heaters heat more water per house when compared to an electric water heater, making them ideal for larger family homes
  • When the power is out, a gas water heater will still run

When deciding on a water heater for your home, gas is a great option, especially for larger families. 

Benefits of an Electric Water Heater

Electric water heaters have smaller footprints, making them a great option for tight spaces. If you’re looking at purchasing an electric water heater, you may be intrigued by these additional benefits: 

  • Electric water heaters heat only the water you need
  • These water heaters can have a small or large tank and do not require additional piping, slimming down their profiles
  • Water is not constantly heated, so there is no energy waste

Water Heater Repair & Installation Services in Illinois

Hot water is essential to our daily comfort. At Stephens Plumbing, we offer both gas and electric water heater repair and installation services to areas such as Wheaton, Clarendon Hills, Plainfield, Oak Brook, Aurora, Bolingbrook, Downers Grove, and Naperville, Illinois. Your comfort is important to us,. Our team of certified plumbing professionals is always available to fix a water heater that is making noise. In addition to water heater issues, our team also provides plumbing services for clogged drains, malfunctioning sump pumps, and broken water lines. Give us a call by phone at (630) 968-0783 or schedule an appointment online to receive immediate support.