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7 Common Causes For Your Water Heater Making Noise

They say that if you listen right, you can hear music in anything. The polyrhythmic pops and knocks of your water heater might inspire a drummer’s next tune, but over time, they’re more than likely just going to inspire a headache in you. There are a number of reasons your water heater might be making noises; we’re going to look at seven:


Sediment Build-Up

This is probably the most common cause of noise from a water heater – fortunately, it’s also the easiest to deal with. Sediment will inevitably build up in your heater; it tends to happen more quickly in areas with hard water. This can cause all kinds of pops and clicks as the sediment bangs up against the walls of your heater. Luckily, you can probably flush the water heater yourself; if you’re a bit nervous about the task, we can help. We perform routine maintenance on hot water tanks in Winnipeg, which can help you avoid the most common cause of noisy heaters.


Depending on where the leak is occuring, you may hear a variety of different sounds. A leak that’s dripping water from the tank onto the heating element will cause a sizzling sound as the water quickly evaporates. A leak onto the ground will cause the sound of water dripping. No matter where the leak is, you’ll want to get it repaired; you may even need to have the heater replaced.

Heating Element

Your water heater will usually have two elements  – an upper and a lower. When cold water circulates through the system, it can cause the upper element to vibrate. This humming noise is just a by-product of a normal process in the water heater, and it’s rarely cause for concern. Try to think of it as your own automatic theremin player.

Water Hammer

Water hammer can actually be fairly destructive; it occurs when water changes direction or stops very quickly – something akin to waves crashing against the shore. There are a couple of tools you can use to reduce the effects of water hammer, from air chambers to mechanical water shock arrestors. This should stop the knocking sound and increase your water heater’s life span.

Loose Pipes

You know what they say – loose pipes sink nights (or something like that). When water runs through your pipes, and they aren’t properly secured, they can knock up against your walls and cause a ruckus. You can prevent this by lowering the pressure on your water heater and/or by securing your pipes.

Restricted Water Flow

There are a number of things that could restrict water flow, from a partially opened water inlet valve to a partially opened outlet valve. Okay, those things are pretty similar, but they lead to the same place – a sound similar to a sizzle. Make sure the shutoff valves are completely open so water flows freely.

Heat Trap Nipples

The odd name of these fixtures probably got your attention. Without getting into detail, they’re a method of conserving heat in your water heater – energy conservation has become one the most important elements of new plumbing fixtures. They can, however, create a ticking noise during the heat preservation process. You could replace them with non-heat trap nipples, but you’ll lose efficiency. Learn to accept the noise if you can! For Plumbers in Winnipeg choose Clean Line. 

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