Causes And Fixes Of Water Heater Noises

Posted on: 15 July 2019

Loud, clanging noises or pops from your water heater can be alarming. There are a couple of different things that can lead to this problem. Whatever the cause, you need to address it promptly, or you could end up with a failed heater and a cold shower. The following will help you understand the potential causes as well as what you need to do to solve the problem.

Loud pops

Loud pops tend to occur when hot water has been running, and the tank is now refilling. Minerals and sediment in water tend to separate out under heat. It then settles on the bottom of the tank. As the water heats inside the tank, that which is trapped beneath the sediment layer will bubble through and cause the popping noises. Your first task is to check the temperature setting on your heater. High temps that cause the water to boil will lead to more popping, so lowering the temperature to about 120 F will help. You should also have the heater professionally drained, and the sediment cleared. If you live in a hard water area, having an inline water softener installed on the water heater will also help.

Clangs and pops

If the pops tend to be accompanied by clanging, then the sediment may actually be limescale forming on the walls of the water heater. The cause is the same as above -- minerals like lime in the water are evaporating out of the water, but they are rehardening on the walls. As the sediment layers crack, they pop and fall into the tank, causing the clanging noise. Lowering the temperature and flushing the tank will help, but there is one more thing to do in this case. Water heaters are equipped with anodes that are supposed to attract the minerals so that they don't adhere to the walls. Your anodes may need replacement if you are having this issue.


Hissing is never a good sound, and it can indicate a major or possibly dangerous problem. Hissing is most likely caused by steam escaping from the water heater. There are multiple valves on a heater, including the inlet and outlet valves, as well as an emergency overflow valve. The tank is under pressure from heat and steam, so a failed valve can lead to the scalding water bursting out of the tank with explosive force. Shut down the tank if possible and call for immediate plumbing help if you hear hissing.

For more help, contact a water heater repair service in your area.


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