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What to Do When Your Water Heater Is Making Noises

May 13, 2023

The function of the water heater is to heat cold water to be able to use the washing machine, the shower or in any other sink in the house. Once the water heater begins to make noises. it is an indicator your water heater is failing and needs professional help. Electric water heaters can also produce hissing, sputtering, or crackling noises based on sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank. Flushing the water heater annually helps prevent these type of problems.

Banging or Hammering

Most of us have heard the term water hammer. This sound is produced by the plumbing system when the water changes direction abruptly or the water stops, this creates a build-up of pressure within the system. Water hammer has the power to deform the water tank and even burst the pipes in the home. It is important to contact a plumbing company to find and fix the problem immediately.

Screeching, Screaming, or Singing

Sounds of this type are produced when the flow of water through a valve is restricted.

It is recommended to first check the temperature and pressure relief valve which is usually located on the top or side of the water tank. The purpose of this valve is to let the water escape when the pressure inside the tank is high.

If this valve is the one causing the sound, call a plumber to resolve the issue.

If the sound is not coming from the temperature and pressure relief valve, it may be coming from the main inlet and outlet valve or from a pipe near the water heater. Make sure the water pipes are not damaged or kinked and if they are in bad condition call a plumber.

Popping Noises

These popping sounds are caused by sediment and lime build up inside the tank. These sounds are created by bubbles of steam forming under the sediment and then bursting when the water is heated. There is a solution to this problem, which is to use a liquid descaling product that helps remove limescale and minerals, but it is not always effective. The best solution is to drain and rinse the tank once a year to remove accumulated sediment.


Loose pipe straps and pressure changes in the water. Can cause ticking noises in and around the water tank.

Loose pipe straps are not serious problems. But it is recommended to fix this small problem by tightening or replacing the pipe straps. This prevents the ticking sound and prevents the pipes from moving. To stop any ticking sounds it is good to install a thermal expansion tank on the water heater to prevent expansion within the tank and pipes.

Sizzling, hissing, or crackling

Sizzling, hissing, and crackling noises are commonly heard in electric water heaters. They are generally the product of sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank, which can be fixed by flushing and draining the water heater once a year. This happens when the heating element in the bottom of the tank gets under the accumulated sediment. But it's not just irritating noises that are always the problem. One of the biggest problems is that the heating bill will increase because the water heater will work twice as hard to heat water with the bottom heating element covered by sediment.


Hot water tanks have a common problem which is sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank, especially in areas where the water is not filtered by the city and have hard water. The problem is the minerals in the water that accumulate in the tank over time. Each time the water warms it expands and pushes the sediment to the edges and down the tank, producing a rumbling sound.

If you already tried these tips and your water heater still making noises, we specialized in water heater repair, water heater installation and replacement. We even install tankless water heaters. Give us a call today at 281-967-3130 for a FREE estimate.

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