What’s That Sound? 5 Common Water Heater Sounds

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Your water heater works tirelessly to ensure you and your family have endless access to hot water. But have you ever stopped to listen to the array of sounds it makes?

From barely noticeable hums to disruptive clanks, your water heater often tries to communicate with you just from the sounds it makes. In this blog, we will decipher five common sounds your water heater might make and what they mean.

Steady Hum

A gentle and steady hum from your water heater indicates that it is operating normally. You may hear a low humming sound as the heating elements warm inside the tank. Disclaimer: Make sure you are familiar with what your water heater typically sounds like because, in some cases, humming can indicate that components in your unit are coming loose.

Ticking and Clicking

A ticking and clicking sound from your unit may cause alarm, but it is usually nothing to worry about. These sounds occur when the water heater is heating up or cooling down and are caused by the expansion and contraction of the metal components.

Popping and Crackling

If you hear popping and crackling sounds from your water heater, it could be due to sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank. You may also hear banging sounds because of this issue. Over time, the minerals in the water settle and harden, and the sound you hear happens when the heating element interacts with sediment. If this problem persists, you may need to schedule a water heater flush to remove the sediment.

Screeching and Whistling

This common water heater sound is hard to miss. Screeching or whistling sounds can often be attributed to water flow issues. It may be because of a partially closed or malfunctioning pressure relief valve. Be sure to have a professional evaluate this situation to ensure proper water flow and prevent potential damage.

Hissing and Sizzling

A hissing or sizzling sound could indicate a problem with the water heater’s ventilation or a potential water leak. If you suspect a water leak, it is imperative that the issue is promptly addressed before any serious damage occurs.

By familiarizing yourself with the common sounds your water heater might make, you can ensure its longevity, efficiency, and peace of mind. If you suspect an issue with your water heater, call one of the trusted plumbers at Standard Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. You can contact us at (205) 386-4001 or schedule your appointment online. 

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