Are the Strange Noises in Your Water Heater a Cause for Concern?

We all have water heaters in our house, and I am sure at some point or another everyone has heard strange noises coming from their water heater. Some of those noises are normal, but others could be warning signs that your water heater is not working at the best capacity. This article will give you some information on how a water heater works, the normal noises and the not so normal noises, and most importantly how to maintain your water heater to improve its longevity. According to Mr. and Ms. Weingarten wrote the Water Heather Workbook, The Bible of water heater maintenance and troubleshooting. Below are some of the information they compiled in their experience with water heater servicing.

The inner workings of the water heater: The construction of the water heater has not changed much in the past 50 years. Most of them consist of a steel tank with an inner lining of glass to keep the tank from rusting. Some water heaters have better glass than others depending on the manufacturer. Either way, due to limitations in the coating process there is always a small amount of steel exposed. Anode Rods are inserted inside the tank to protect the steel. The anode rods are used to minimize the corrosive minerals through the ionization process.

What are theses strange noises coming from my water heater: Water heaters make noises, some are normal and just amplified through the pipes. However, if your water heater seems to be making a crackling or boiling sound that could be caused by the sediment that accumulates at the bottom of the water heater. As the water becomes heated, hard-water minerals re-crystallize and form a substance on the inside of the water heater called scale. Scale or calcium carbonate will settle to the bottom of the tank where it creates a layer between the gas burner and the water. This layer is called sediment and can slow the heat transfer from the burner to the water, which in turn lowers the energy efficiency of the tank. The sediment can be re-circulated into the lines, jam check valves and cause the pump to burn out. The lower elements can also burn out due to the sediment. This is when you begin to hear the noises. The noises are small amounts of water under the sediment turning to steam bubbles.

How to prevent build up of sediment: You can reduce the build up of sediment by flushing out the tank twice a year. You can easily add this task to your routine of changing the batteries in your smoke detectors which should also be done twice a year. The same time you change your clocks for day light savings, flush your water heater.

Before you attempt to flush your water heater, always shut off the gas or electric power and let the water cool a bit. Turn off the incoming water to the tank, usually at the top of the tank and attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Open the drain valve and turn on any hot water faucet in the house to let in air. Once the tank is drained, turn the cold water on and off until the water runs clear. Close the drain valve, and turn off the hot water in the house. Turn the cold water back on to the water heater and you are done.

Water heaters are a very important appliance in your home and it seems the most neglected. It is not that difficult to properly maintain your water heater, and doing so twice a year when you change your clocks could increase its longevity. So don’t forget, the maintenance of your water heater and avoid the strange noises

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