Water heaters are miraculous, but sometimes they can act in ways that make you want to go back to boiling all your water on the stove. OK, maybe not, but they do make sounds that have you wondering what has gone wrong. The good thing about water heaters, especially the older tank style, is that they tend to give you warning. If you hear strange sounds, consider these potential causes.
This one affects gas water heaters in particular. As water flows in and out of the tank, it can deposit sediment that settles at the bottom. Under the bottom surface of the tank lies the burner compartment. Sometimes what can happen is that the sediment traps some water at the bottom, the burner heats up that water -- and the resuting bubbles of heated water start moving the sediment, as if the sediment were boiling. For this problem, you'd need a plumber to drain out the tank and remove the sediment. Not only is the sound unpleasant, but the moving sediment can eventually clog pipes. Get the tank serviced and the sediment removed in a timely manner.
In addition to sediment, you often have scale in the tank. Scale can form on heating elements (in electric water heaters) and on the sides and floor of the tank. As the scale heats up, sometimes it can explode off the surface it was on. As you can imagine, this makes a loud noise, and you risk having all that loose scale drift down and clog pipe openings. Ensure you have a water softener attached to the house's plumbing, if you live in an area with hard water, and have a plumber clean out the tank of the water heater.
Your Temperature Gauge Is Badly out of Whack
Another potential cause of noise, particularly a boiling noise in electric water heaters, is that the temperature gauge is faulty and the temperature inside the heater is much higher than you thought. This is somewhat of an emergency because you do not want the tank cracking from built-up steam pressure. Call a plumber immediately. Note that this can happen with gas water heaters, too, so don't assume that just because you have a gas heater, that this issue might not apply.
It's always better to call a plumber, like Plumb-It Inc, and have him or her look at the water heater instead of assuming. Having a plumber come out to evaluate something does not cost much, and some offer free quotes or fast diagnoses if you have that same plumber do the repair work. Don't let your water heater continue to scare you -- have a plumber fix what's wrong.
Keeping your home's plumbing system in good working order is a family job. Have you taught your kids what should never be flushed down the toilets or poured down the drains? Do your kids know what to watch for to know that there is a plumbing problem that needs to be addressed? If your kids know what to look for, they will be less likely to contribute to making a minor plumbing problem more serious. This blog will show you things that you should teach your kids so that everyone can work together to protect the entire plumbing system in your home.