Why Is My Hot Water Heater Making Noise

Why Is My Hot Water Heater Making Noise

If you’ve ever been in the creepy basement of your home and heard weird sounds coming from another part of the house, you know that sometimes strange noises can signal danger. The same principle applies to hot water heaters. The sound of your hot water heater can be a red flag that something is wrong and needs to be addressed immediately. There are a number of different noises that a hot water heater might make, which means there are also different reasons why it is making those sounds. Understanding why your hot water heater is making certain sounds will help you determine what measures you should take next. Read on to learn more about why a hot water heater makes noise and how you can troubleshoot any issues that may arise with yours.

Why Is My Hot Water Heater Making Noise?

There are a variety of reasons why your hot water heater may be making noise, and it’s important to determine the source of the noise before taking any action. The most common source of noise from a hot water heater is the pump, which can be located at the bottom or top of the unit. The pump is responsible for transferring hot water from the unit to your plumbing system, and can produce a loud humming or clicking sound. In addition to this noise, you may also notice that the water temperature in your home fluctuates or drops off completely. 

Why Is My Hot Water Heater Making a Humming Noise?

  1. If your hot water heater is humming, it is likely because the internal components are vibrating as they spin. 
  2. This can happen as a part of the normal operation of the unit, but it can also be an indication that there is something wrong with the hot water heater.
  3.  A humming noise from your hot water heater could indicate that the unit is simply running at a higher-than-usual speed due to a higher-than-normal demand for hot water. This noise, however, is also associated with the buildup of lime deposits within the unit. These deposits make the spinning components of the unit vibrate as they try to spin within the hard water buildup. 
  4. While this buzzing noise doesn’t indicate that the unit is about to break down, it does indicate that the lime deposits need to be removed. 
  5. In some cases, the humming sound can be corrected by increasing the water pressure in the unit. If the humming noise persists, your hot water heater will likely need to be replaced.

Why Is My Hot Water Heater Making a Squealing or Whistling Noise?

  • If your hot water heater is squealing or whistling, it’s likely because of inadequate water pressure to the unit. 
  • Hot water heaters need a steady supply of water in order to function properly, and when the water pressure isn’t high enough the unit will squeal or whistle. 
  • If you have recently installed a new hot water heater or recently had a water line replaced, this could be the cause of the whistling or squealing noise. 
  • You can correct this by adjusting the water pressure in the unit. If the whistling or squealing noise persists, you’ll want to call a professional plumber to correct the issue.

Why Is My Hot Water Heater Making A Rumbling Or Growling Noise?

  1. A rumbling or growling noise from your hot water heater is likely caused by a clog in the unit. 
  2. This is a relatively common issue, but it may require an expert to correct. In some cases, you may be able to clear the clog yourself.
  3.  If the growling noise starts suddenly, though, the clog may be serious, and you may need to have the unit replaced. 
  4. The rumbling or growling noise will likely persist until the clog is cleared, and there is no way to know how long that will take.

How To Stop My Hot Water Heater From Making Noise?

Turn the water heater off at the breaker

The main cause of hot water heater noise is pressure inside the tank. When the internal pressure is greater than the external pressure, the water heater will “push” against the tank walls and make groaning noises. Because the hot water heater tank is pressurized, there is no way to relieve the pressure without shutting off the water heater. Most hot water heater noise problems can be solved simply by turning off the breaker to the water heater. If the noise persists after you’ve turned off the water heater, then you should get in touch with a plumber. They’ll be able to tell you if the problem is serious enough to warrant replacing the water heater. If not, then you can turn the water heater back on.

Install a pressure release valve

Pressure relief valves, or PRVs, are pressure valves that are installed on the side of the water heater. They’re designed to relieve excess pressure in the hot water heater tank. If the water inside the tank is heated to its boiling point, it will evaporate and create steam. As the steam builds up pressure inside the tank, it can escape through the PRV. If the water inside the tank heats up slowly, the steam will create pressure inside the tank. This pressure can cause the tank to hiss, groan, and even rupture. Most hot water heater noise problems can be solved with a PRV. PRVs are fairly inexpensive and easy to install. When installing a PRV, make sure to turn off the water heater before you start the installation.

Add insulation to your hot water tank

The insulation inside your hot water tank can wear out over time. This can cause your hot water tank to overheat, which leads to increased internal pressure. If you notice that your hot water heater is making noise, you might want to add some insulation to your hot water tank. The best way to do this is to shut off the water to your hot water tank and open it up. Remove the insulation and then wrap it in new insulation. Shut the hot water tank back up and turn the water back on. If the noise is coming from the sides of your hot water tank, the insulation won’t help. In that case, you should contact a plumber and have them replace your water tank.

Install a glow-ring or thermal disc adapter

A glowing ring is a device that fits on the bottom of your hot water tank. It’s designed to convert the excess heat from your water heater into infrared energy. The infrared energy heats up the bottom of the water heater, which in turn increases the pressure inside the tank. The increased pressure relieves the pressure created by the thermal expansion of the water. Glow rings are cheap and easy to install. They come with instructions for proper installation. If a glow ring doesn’t solve the noise problem, then you might want to try a thermal disc adapter. A thermal disc adapter is more effective at increasing pressure than a glowing ring.

Try a different brand/model of water heater

If all of the above solutions fail, you might want to try a different brand/model of the water heater. Hot water heater noise is usually caused by pressure inside the tank. You can combat the pressure by installing a larger water heater. But if you install a larger water heater without addressing the source of the pressure, the noise will persist. When shopping for a new water heater, you might want to consider a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters don’t create the same kind of pressure that traditional water heaters do. If the noise is coming from the exterior of the tank, then you can simply try a different model. If the noise is coming from the interior of the tank, then a different model might not help.

Bottom Line

General hot water heater noises are not necessarily reasons for concern, but if you hear something that has you feeling uncomfortable or disturbed, it’s best to have a professional examine the unit. A reliable plumber can determine what is causing the noise and the best way to address it. If the noise is caused by a serious issue, the unit may need to be replaced, which is something you should discuss with a professional. To avoid issues with noise, make sure to clean and maintain your hot water heater regularly.