Troubleshooting A Noisy Water Heater

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An improperly functioning water heater can disrupt your entire life, leaving you standing in the shower under an ice cold stream of water. However, most water heater malfunctions and problems are usually indicated before they occur by noises that your water heater is making. Understanding what those noises could mean for your water heater can help you identify problems before they become serious, allowing you to have preventative maintenance done instead of expensive repair or replacement work.

Rumbling and Shaking

Any sort of rumbling or vibrating sound coming from your water heater when you turn the hot water on can be attributed to a buildup of sediment. This is normal for most water heaters, as minute amounts of calcium and other minerals will adhere to the sides of the tank over time, creating a layer of hard, chalky material. This material can greatly reduce the amount of hot water that your tank can hold, contribute to corrosion and rust which can cause leaks, and can ruin the overall efficiency of your water heater. In order to have this problem fixed, you should contact a plumber to flush your water heater's tank and install an anode rod, which is a rod of magnesium or a similar substance that attracts those minerals and prevents them from damaging the tank.

Knocking and Banging

Loud knocking and banging when you turn your hot water on or off, commonly referred to as water hammers, occur when the sudden cut off of water flow causes the pipes to actually shift and bang against their supports. In the short term, this presents little more than an inconvenience, but over time this can actually cause damage to your plumbing and greatly increase the risk of a burst pipe or a leak occurring. In order to have this problem fixed, you should have a plumber come in and install a water hammer arrestor on your hot water heater, which will prevent the sudden change in pressure from causing any damage. 

High Pitched Squeals

Any sort of high pitched noises that are coming out of your hot water heater, especially if they are only audible if you are standing near the water heater while it is in operation, usually point to water leaking out of the tank itself. Alternatively, this can sometimes be because of a loose valve or damaged water line. Visually check around the water heater for any signs of a leak, and tighten all water supply valves. If the noise does not go away, you should contact a plumber to inspect the unit.

For more information, contact companies like Drain Doctors.


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