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Atlantic Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

Weird Sounds From Your Water Heater? Here’s What They May Mean


How often do you listen to the sounds your water heater makes? Probably not often. Your water heater is designed to run as quietly as possible, and the minor sounds it does make turn into the standard background noise of day-to-day life.

So when your water heater starts to create odd or strange sounds, you’ll notice them. You might feel tempted to then ignore these sounds, but please don’t do this. Most unusual sounds from water heaters are warning of something wrong. You may need to schedule water heater repair in Smyrna, DE with our professionals before you have a more serious trouble that will leave you without any hot water at all. When you know when to call for help, you can prevent much bigger water heater problems in the future.

We’ll list some of the more common cautionary sounds you might hear from your water heater and what they may mean.


This is a popping sound similar to what you would hear from a coffee maker. It’s a comfy, cozy sort of noise … and you don’t want your water heater to be making it! The most likely cause is a build-up of excess sediment inside the water heater tank. When a layer forms across the bottom of the tank, over where the heat exchanger is, the water heated by the heat exchanger will bubble up through the sediment layer and create the popping sounds. A sediment layer will start to severely lower the efficiency of a water heater as well as the hot water volume. Technicians can fix this with a tank flush, or a full tank cleaning in more severe cases.


This is a much less cozy sound. In fact, you might think your water heater is about to explode. It’s rare for this to happen, but the sound still requires your attention. This can warn there is dirt inside the tank, or that the dip tube is broken and hot and cold water are mixing at the top of the tank, which will soon lead to a drop in water temperature.


Is your water heater cooking up a steak? No, it’s probably making this sound because of water flow problems due to faulty valves, partially closed valves, or bent lines. If you have a gas water heater, this may also warn that water is leaking out of the bottom of the tank and falling onto the heat exchanger below—a serious problem that needs to be fixed right away. 


This is a noise you may hear from an electric water heater. Water flow around loose heating elements inside the tank is causing the electrically powered heating element to vibrate. Call a technician and they can tighten the heating element. If not fixed, the heating element may come loose from the vibrations. 

When in doubt about anything with your water heater, give us a call. You don’t want to tamper with the water heater yourself: we can take care of any issue quickly, effectively, and safely. 

At Atlantic Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Inc., “We Take Pride in Your Comfort!” Call us 24/7 for service!

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