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Water Heater Noises: What Do They Mean?

It’s not uncommon for an appliance to make some noises as it’s working. Depending on the type of water heater you have, these noises can be nothing to worry about. Or, they can indicate something more. Read below to learn more about the most common water heater noises, what they could mean, and if they require professional assistance.

Water Heater Noises and What They Indicate

Beeping – When your system is beeping, it could be signaling a problem. While it depends on what kind of water heater you have, the problem is most likely a water or gas leak. Other problems the beeping may signal are low fuel, overheating, or high pressure.

Knocking – Knocking may typically indicate a visitor, but this water heater problem is not a welcome one. If you hear knocking coming from your appliance, you could have an issue with sediment buildup. Other indications include discolored water and a rotten egg smell. Sediment buildup is a common water heater problem and can be fixed by flushing the system and/or installing a water softener or water filter.

Hissing – If your water heater is hissing, you may have the temperature set too high. The hotter the water, the more pressure that will build up in the tank. When the valve finally releases that pressure, it may let out a whistling noise.

There could also be a simpler reason for the hissing noise. If you just finished a shower or a load of laundry – or anything else that uses a large amount of water – the noise could just be condensation hitting the hot surface of your appliance.

Humming – This noise is typical of an electric water heater and may be caused simply by the heating element vibrating as cold water runs through the tank. It can usually be fixed by tightening the element.

Screaming – The thought of hearing any appliance in your home scream is scary, but the reason your water heater is screaming isn’t so terrifying. Most likely, this water heater noise indicates that a valve is not opened all the way. Make sure you check your valves.

Ticking – Ticking noises are a common noise that comes from your heat trap. While it typically isn’t a cause for concern, you can replace your heat trap to quiet the noise if you want.

When you hear any of these or other water noises, we suggest you take a look at your water heater manual. If you do not have your manual, try searching for your water heater model online. Visit the manufacturer’s site and some message boards. If you think you figured out the problem and fixed it, you should still follow up with a technician. If you still aren’t sure, call our licensed technicians. They can answer your questions and come out if needed. Remember, we have 24-hour emergency services.

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