Ideally, a good water heater is a quiet one, so whenever you hear any unusual noises coming from your system, it’s worth investigating. One of the most common issues we hear about is customers hearing a popping noise coming from their hot water heater. Like many problems, ignoring strange noises won’t magically make the problem go away. If anything, it’ll only get worse!
So, let’s take a closer look (or listen) to popping noises in hot water heaters. We’ll also discuss other common noises and what they likely mean. Remember, whenever in doubt, call out a professional to have a look, as there isn’t much they haven’t heard before and they’ll be able to quickly sort out your problem.
Why does my gas hot water heater make popping noises? This may be why…
The most common and likely reason for popping sounds in a hot water heater is sediment build up. The main issue with a deep layer of sediment at the bottom of your hot water tank is it will cause is that your hot water system to become less efficient, thereby affecting things like your water pressure, heat and temperature.
This is a very common occurrence in hot water heaters, especially in areas with hard water or water with a high mineral content. The good news is it is also relatively simple to fix.
What causes sediment build up in hot water heaters?
Sediment is caused by the natural minerals in the water and is particularly and issue in areas with “hard water”. The sediment in water is perfectly safe to drink, however, over time, it can lead to mineral deposits and scale on the inside of your tank. Enough of this build-up will affect the efficiency and functionality of your system.
In most cases, this will affect the efficiency of your system and be more annoying than dangerous, but in rare cases the steam bubbles can build up enough to cause your hot water system to rupture. If you’re having issues with your heater, it’s always best to have it sorted sooner rather than later.
How do I stop the popping sound coming from my hot water system?
The most reliable solution to solving popping noises coming from your hot water system is to flush out your steel tank. While it is possible to perform this yourself, you should only do so if you have some experience and skills. Servicing your tank poorly could damage water lines or parts of your heater, which in turn will cost you more when you have to call out a professional.
Steps to flush your hot water heater tank.
- Turn off your energy supply: For a gas hot water heater, you’ll need to turn off the gas valve. For an electrical system, turn off at your circuit breaker.
- Turn off the water supply: Ensure your water supply has been turned off before removing pipes.
- Depressurise the tank: The best way to do this is to turn on a nearby hot water tap. Remember to turn off the water afterwards. Another method is to use the temperature relief valve on your hot water tank.
- Attach a drain hose: Using the proper tools, detach your cold-water supply pipe from the bottom of your hot water system and attach a drain hose in its place. It’s highly recommended you turn your gas or power supply off 24 hours before trying this.
- Disconnect your hot water outlet pipe: Usually, this will be connected at the top of your tank.
- Flush your tank: Place you garden house into the now open hot water outlet pipe and allow the cold water to run through your tank. Run the water through until no more rusty or dirty water comes through the other side.
- Reconnect your hot water system: Reattach everything and see if you are still having issues with your hot water system.
When to call a professional hot water repair service
If you’re in anyway unconfident with flushing a hot water system yourself, have flushed the system to no avail or you notice any serious issues, you should call an expert in to fix the problem. Major problems with you hot water unit need to be addressed by professional, as they’re too complicated and/or dangerous for an unqualified person to take on themselves.
Same Day Hot Water Service has a team of experts who know hot water systems and can help with diagnose any noise you’re concerned about.
Not sure if it’s a popping sound? Here are 8 other sounds made by gas heaters.
Whenever you hear odd noises coming from your hot water system, it’s best to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. Depending on the noise, it could be a severe issue that needs to be addressed by a professional. So, let’s run through some of the most common noises, other than a popping noise, you’ll encounter and the most likely cause behind them.
Banging or hammering Noises
Sometimes referred as a water hammer, sudden banging noises often come from a sudden change in the water direction or the water stopping suddenly.
Water hammering can pack a lot of force to the point it can burst pipes. If you hear any banging, it’s best not to ignore it, as a burst pipe is a serious plumbing issue.
Sizzling or hissing Sounds
Usually, hissing noises are an issue that can arise from an electric water heater. Any sizzling sounds coming from your water heater could be a sign of sedimentation build up or moisture build up on your heating element, which can decrease how efficiently your water heats. Flushing and draining your system can go a long way to solving this issue.
Whistling or screeching sound
If your water heater is making whistling or high-pitched screeching it is usually a sign of water under too much pressure being forced into too small a space. Chance are one of your valves are not opened completely. Follow the noise and try finding the source of the noise, as the problem valve may need replacing. If it’s not coming from your pressure relief valve, pressure reducing valve or drain valve, it may be an internal valve.
There is a serious risk of steam burns performing this task, so leave fixing loose valves to a professional.
Humming or rumbling sounds
A humming noise is a sign your system’s heating element is coming loose. The loose element vibrates against the water which is why you end up with a humming noise. Tightening the element will solve this problem.
Ticking sounds can be usually chalked down as a change in water pressure or loose pipe straps. Most of the time, this isn’t a major issue, unless you’re noticing your water pressure is becoming more erratic.
In a gas-powered water heater, crackling noises are often a result of moisture build-up around the element. Though it may be annoying, this usually goes away with time and is something that isn’t a big concern. It may also be a sign of sediment build-up, so if it continues or you notice any other concerning symptoms, like rust build up or inefficiency with your water heat or pressure, have your system looked at.
Sounds like water’s running.
This may be a normal operating sound showing water is entering your tank. Occasionally, it can be a sign your tank is leaking, especially if the noise is continuous or happening a lot. If it keeps happening or you’ve noticed water pooling, book a service for your heater.
Sounds like vibrating.
Yet another sign that you may have a sediment build up issue at the bottom of the tank. You should either flush out your tank or call out a professional to service your system for you.
Whenever you notice your hot water system is making noises it shouldn’t be, it’s better to have it looked at sooner rather than later.
When it comes to hot water systems, there’s only one name to remember. Same Day Hot Water Service is here to help with all your hot water needs, whether you need a new unit to replace your old water heater, need a service or have urgent repairs.
Get in touch today to find out how we can fix that sound coming from your hot water system.