Noisy Water Heater

noisy water heater

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Water heaters heat up cold water for use in showers, dishwashers, clothes washers, or through any sink faucet in your home.

When this essential equipment starts to make noises, diagnosing the issue might be a bit difficult, particularly if the noise is not consistent.

In this article, you will have a better understanding of the kinds of noises that can be made by a water heater and what they mean.


Most water heater problems require a professional plumber who has been trained for that purpose. Even if you are an experienced DIYer, you should avoid working on water heater tanks in order to prevent likely issues, such as gas line leaks.

Noisy Water Heater: Rumbling

The buildup of sediments in water heater tanks is a commonly occurring problem, especially in areas that have hard water.

As the water within the tank heats up and expands, it goes to the top of the tank through the sediments, shifting it to the bottom and sides of the tank and causing a rumbling sound.

An experienced DIYer may be able to drain and flush the heater tank using a lengthy hose to get rid of the sediments, or even a descaling solution for limescale breakdown in the tank.

However, we advise that you call a professional plumber to flush the tank once in a year if you are not so experienced with this.


Like rumbling, popping is mostly due to sediment and limescale buildup inside the tank. This noise comes from the bubbling of steam underneath the sediment, which then bursts as the water gets hot.

This can be solved by descaling to break down the minerals and limescale, however, it may be a better option to drain and flush the tank.

Also, popping noises can also be due to an aluminum anode rod being exposed to alkalinity in high levels. A plumber can use a magnesium anode rod as a replacement for the aluminum anode rod.

Crackling, Sizzling, or Hissing

Crackling, hissing, and sizzling noises are common with electric heaters. They are due to the buildup of sediments at the tank’s bottom, which is solved by draining and flushing of the heater tank annually.

Nevertheless, this problem has other indicators apart from discomforting noises.

As the heater tries to heat up the same quantity of water with a significantly reduced capacity of its lower element, you can expect a much higher heating bill.

Sizzling noises can also come from a gas water heater, but the problem is quite different. In gas heaters, sizzling sounds are due to internal condensation, which sizzles as it drips down on the burners.

Condensation formation within the tank could indicate a tank leak. We recommend you call an expert plumber to handle the issue.

Noisy Water Heater: Ticking

Water pressure changes, loose pipe straps, and heat trap nipples for efficiency-boosting can all be responsible for ticking sounds around and within the heater tank.

On the bright side, many of these are not real problems that require a solution.

As long as there are no dramatic and frequent changes in the water pressure (such as quickly opening and closing of the home’s main control valve), then no damage to the system will result from it.

Likewise, heat trap nipples that boost efficiency actually help to improve the water heater’s functionality. However, if you cannot stand the ticking noise, they can be replaced with non-heat trap nipples.

Loose pipe straps are not a severe problem, but it is advisable to tighten or replace any loose pipe straps. In addition to stopping the ticking noise, it will make sure the pipe does not shift.

As an alternative, you can reduce the heat a little bit in order to decrease pipe expansion and stop the noises.

Screaming, Screeching, or Singing

Any high-pitched sounds like that of a stovetop kettle when boiling can be considered as screaming, screeching, or singing. These are usually due to the significant restriction of water flow through the valve.

You should first check the temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve normally found beside the heater tank.

This T&P valve is used to relieve pressure from the tank by allowing water through it. If this valve is responsible for the noise, turn the gas, water, and electricity supply off immediately and get a plumber.

If not, the noise may be from the outlet/inlet valves or any other water line nearby. Fully open any valve and inspect the water line for any deformations which may restrict water flow.

If the noises continue or the lines are broken, get a plumber to fix the issue.

Hammering or Banging

The term “water hammer” refers to a hammering or banging noise coming from the plumbing system when water changes direction abruptly or is stopped by force, causing a surge of pressure in the system.

Water hammer can burst your home pipes and even cause the heater tank to expand and be deformed.

Get a professional to help resolve this and consider the installation of a pressure-reducing valve or water hammer arrestor to prevent any recurrence.

Call us at (559) 940-0890

Clovis Plumbing Services