Why Water Heaters Make Noises and How to Know if Something is Wrong
The water heater has a special place in modern home plumbing systems, since not only is it one of the most convenient machines, but also one of the most potentially dangerous. The Internet is full of hot water heater explosion videos. So when your heater starts making unexpected noises, it pays to be able to decode their meaning.
Normal Water Heater Sounds
Technically, these sounds could signal some harm, but they are not immediately threatening. They also have relatively easy fixes.
- Humming: the heating element is loose
- Rumbling/Popping: if your unit is a little old, then this can be chalked up to water forcing its way past sediment that has built up or mineral deposits rattling around inside the tank
- Ticking/Clicking: some valves make this sound whenever they redirect water, which is a part of their normal function
Dangerous Water Heater Sounds
These sounds alert you to some serious issues that are better fixed sooner rather than later.
- Screeching: a valve somewhere is not fully open or is blocked
- Rattling/Hammering: this usually relates to loose pipe and socket fittings
- Hissing: this is a sign of a leak somewhere in your plumbing system, especially if you hear it near your water filter