Woman scared under covers.

3 Scary Sounds from Your Water Heater

Water heaters are an essential part of your home and it can be scary when it suddenly stops working. But scarier still is getting the warning signs of water heater failure and not knowing how to recognize them! Keep an ear out for the following noises to help you determine what the problem could be with your water heater before you lose hot water:

Popping

Popping is one of the most common noises you’ll hear—especially in areas that suffer from hard water. Mineral deposits such as lime and calcium, sand, and other sediment can settle at the bottom of your tank and build-up over time. This build-up can trap water and eventually creates a situation similar to boiling water in a covered pot—the boiling water creates steam bubbles that could lead to serious damage or even an explosion in older tanks.

THE FIX: Thankfully, this problem has a fairly simple solution. Regularly flush the sediment from your water heater to avoid the build-up.

Hissing, Crackling, or Sizzling

Similar to the above issue, hissing or sizzling noises can indicate that your electric water heater has a build-up of sediment that’s covering the heating element. This issue means your water heater isn’t functioning correctly and it will begin to make noises as it tries to do its job.

THE FIX: Drain your tank completely and remove the heating element (hire a professional if you’re nervous about performing this task yourself). Soak the heating element in a descaling solution and use a firm toothbrush or wire brush to gently scrub away any remaining residue.

Screeching

Water being forced through too small of an opening can cause an unusual screeching sound. Your plumber may check the following areas to determine the issue:

  • Inlet valve: The inlet valve being partially closed restricts water flow and causes the water to be forced through a smaller opening than normal.

  • T&P valve: AKA the temperature and pressure relief valve or safety valve, this valve allows water to escape from the tank if the pressure gets too high.


Regular maintenance is essential to keep your water heater operating at peak efficiency and performance, but sometimes it’s more cost-efficient to simply replace your unit. EJ Plumbing can help you determine the problem and best solution for your waiting heating needs. Contact our team at (650) 513-8852 or send us a message to schedule an appointment!

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