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Why Is My Water Heater Making Noise?

Is your home’s water heater making noise? Should you ignore it or schedule maintenance? Will it stop working? These are just a few questions you may ask. Water heaters often make noise, and most sounds are indicative of issues. Here, you will learn about some of the most common water heater noises and how to handle them.

Popping, Crackling, and Rumbling

Water heaters store and heat water in tanks. As the water heats up, sediment settles on the water heater’s element tubes. Over time, layers of mineral buildup may trap water, which will gradually bubble up and loosen the sediment.

The crackling, rumbling, and popping sounds you hear are made when hot water forces its way through. If the unit is less than 10 years old, a yearly tank flush will cut the noise and restore efficiency. In some cases, tank expansion and contraction create these sounds. Try lowering the thermostat setting to 120 degrees and call for service if that does not help.


When a water heater makes humming noises, its elements may be loose enough to vibrate as water moves past. A loose heating element isn’t a major cause for concern, and the fix is easy.

Hammering and Knocking

Those in the water heater repair industry call this phenomenon “water hammering.” It occurs when water passes through pipes forcefully enough to knock them against the wall. While most water hammering occurs when pipes are not fastened, it can also happen when fixtures lack holding tanks and cannot ensure a steady flow.

Water hammering isn’t the biggest problem on our list, but it can cause damage to a home’s plumbing and walls if not addressed. During a tankless water heater repair, ask your plumber to install a water hammer inhibitor.

Screaming and Screeching

High-pitched screeching and squealing sounds occur when water goes through small openings. Most problems are due to stuck valves, which may be on the water heater or near an appliance, shower, or sink. 

These noises usually do not indicate serious issues. There may be a problem with one of the water heater’s valves, a fixture, or an appliance. No matter where the issue lies, water heater repair service providers can get the job done right.


A water heater that makes groaning sounds likely has excess pressure in its tank or its lines. Groaning also indicates the buildup of sediment inside a water heater’s tank. If you don’t already have a water softener, and it has been a while since the water heater’s tank has been cleaned, contact a water heater plumber as soon as possible.


Hissing noises typically indicate leaks. To find the source, look for steam or water coming from the unit or one of its pipes. Water heater leaks require professional intervention, and replacement may be the only way to handle a significant leak. If your system makes hissing noises, look for a leak and call a water heater repair plumber immediately.


A leak may also produce a sizzling sound when water touches the hot exterior of the tank. It is normal for these units to have some condensation, but large puddles are problematic. If your water heater is making sizzling noises and there’s water on the surrounding ground, call for a professional assessment and a potential replacement.

Ticking and Tapping

These noises often come from heat traps or check valves that keep water flowing in the right direction, and some sounds are made when water heats and cools in a home’s pipes. If the sound is bothersome, a water heater repair plumber can replace faulty parts. In most cases, however, there’s no need to worry about tapping and ticking noises.

Is Your Water Heater Making Noise? Here’s What to Do

If your water heater is excessively noisy, prompt action is crucial. While handy homeowners can do some minor plumbing jobs, water heater repairs should be done by the experts. Prevent property damage and reduce the risk of injury by calling a water heater plumber for repairs when your system is making noise.

Call an Experienced Plumber for Water Heater Repair

Does your water heater need to be checked because it’s making too much noise? Milestone can help. Our team has provided water heater repair services for many years, and we’d love to help you. We are committed to customer satisfaction, and that’s why we devote our time to diagnosing plumbing problems and providing accurate, reliable solutions. 

If you need water heater repair, installation, or maintenance, we are the team to trust. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call (214) 267-2405 or (817) 267-2405.