A water heater should be fairly silent when supplying your house with comfortable, warm water. However, some water heaters make annoying popping, cracking, thumping, and banging noises. While some homeowners simply ignore them, these noises may indicate serious plumbing issues.
Identifying the Noise
The first step in dealing with a loud water heater is to identify the noise. Is it a humming, popping, or banging? Being able to describe the noise helps a professional plumber identify the cause of the problem quickly.
1. Sediment Buildup – is by far the most common cause of noisy water heaters. Mineral particles found in water can eventually accumulate, settling at the bottom of the tank to form a layer of sediment. What causes the popping noise? As the sediment settles, it can leave gaps. When water heats and rises in the tank, it pushes and eventually explodes through the layers of sediment. The popping noise is the sound of sediment breaking apart.
*Solution: Flush the water heater regularly. Turn off the water heater and turn on the hot water faucet. Secure a long hose to the drain valve of the water heater and open the valve to drain the water from the tank. Notice the colour of the water. The water is usually murky when it is full of sediment; wait until the water runs clear, then close the valve.
2. Water Hammer – occurs when water running through the pipes is abruptly stopped. The rushing water has no place to go and ends up slamming against the shut-off valve, causing a loud banging sound. This is not a serious plumbing issue, and the solution is rather simple.
*Solution: Call a plumber and have a water hammer arrestor installed in the section where the noise usually occurs.
3. Loose Parts – are often indicated by a humming noise. When water is moving, loose parts in the tank pulsate, causing a hum.
*Solution: While humming should not pose any danger, you can tighten the loose parts or call a licensed plumber to thoroughly examine the tank and make repairs as needed.
While water heaters can be noisy, the noise is usually not indicative of anything dangerous. However, excessive noise can be a sign of a bigger problem. And if you have a gas-powered water heater, carbon monoxide can be a concern.
If you are worried about your noisy heater in King City or nearby in Ontario, call Plumbing Authority Inc. at (647) 992-7473 to discuss your water heater issues with one of our licensed plumbers.