Vertex Mechanical’s HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical Blog

Water Heater Noise: What’s the Story?

Like most homeowners, you probably don’t think too much about your water heater. As long as the water for your morning shower is hot — then your water heater is out of sight and out of mind. Unless, of course, there’s a cry (or knock) for help…

If you’re hearing the undeniably unique water heater knocking sound, you’ll know exactly what we mean. Your water heater is making a knocking, banging, or popping sound because of the large amount of solid sediment (minerals) in the tank.

Read our blog to learn the story behind the water heater knocking sound, the problems it can cause, and how to fix it!

Why is My Water Heater Making a Popping Noise?

broken water heater

If your car was making a weird popping noise, you wouldn’t ignore it — so you shouldn’t ignore your water heater making a popping noise either. Chances are very good that if your water heater is making a noise, it is because the tank is full of sediment. When the water in your water heater heats up, it bubbles, bumping the mass of sediment around the tank which causes the sound.

Since sediment in the water heater tank is responsible for the water heater noise, the question is: how did it get there? The answer is hard water.

If you have hard water, it doesn’t just leave mineral deposits on your glassware and your sink. Over time, the hard minerals can actually form large deposits inside your water heater tank. Something as seemingly innocent as hard water can lead to the banging, knocking, and popping water heater noise you’ve come to hate.

What Happens If I Ignore a Water Heater Knocking Sound?

Your water heater is full of sediment from years of heating hot water. And you’re likely wondering if there are any other problems caused by the water heater knocking sound.

There absolutely are. So even if you can live with the annoying noise, you should still take care of it. Here are 4 problems that can come with sediment build-up in your water heater:

  1. You’ll run out of hot water sooner — The bigger the sediment buildup becomes, the less room for water there is. That means you’ll have less hot water, and those morning showers will keep getting colder and colder. In fact, if your family tends to run out of hot water, sediment is one of the main reasons why.
  2. The water heater efficiency will decrease — As the sediment begins to coat the heating element in the water heater, the electrical element will have to work harder to produce the same temperature water. Since it works harder and uses more electricity, it costs you more on your monthly bill.
  3. Your hot water heater will stop working — If the electric heating element gets too coated in sediment, it’ll stop heating altogether. At that point, you’ll need some emergency plumbing services to get your hot water back. In addition, you’ll probably be facing down a water heater replacement, which isn’t cheap.
  4. The hot water heater may leak all over the floor — If the sediment goes unabated for too long, it can eventually destroy the water heater tank itself, spilling 30 to 50 gallons of water all over your floor. This is the worst case scenario for certain, but it is common enough that it’s worth doing something about it.

Banish the Water Heater Noise with Vertex

full-service plumber in Lancaster PA

While we may be better known for bringing the crucial heating and cooling solutions to homeowners in Lancaster and Berks County, Vertex Mechanical is also a full-service plumber as well. We have experience handling all types of plumbing and water quality issues — and we’re more than ready to fix your water heater noise.

The main way we purge sediment in your water heater is by performing a sediment flush. During this simple procedure, a Vertex Mechanical plumber flushes all of the loose sediment from the water heater. Normally this is enough to stop your water heater from making the knocking or popping noise.

If you want to be more proactive, you can tackle the hard water issue, which is the root of the problem. We can install water softening hardware that completely prevents the buildup of minerals in your water heater, on your dishes, and everywhere else.

Whether you want to schedule a water heater flush, or you want to have a consultation to talk about water softening, we are the expert plumbers to trust. Contact us today to start the conversation.

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