6 Reasons Your Water Heater Is Making Strange Noises


Have you ever been taken by surprise when your trusty water heater starts making bizarre sounds? 

Many folks experience clinking, hissing, or rumbling sounds emanating from their water heaters. It might sound bizarre, but there are practical explanations for these cacophonies. 

To give you an idea, here are six reasons why your water heater is treating you to an impromptu concert. 

Sediment Buildup

Imagine your water heater as a giant teapot, but over time, it accumulates gunk at the bottom. These bits and bobs are minerals and debris that settle down and cause a bit of a ruckus when the water heats up. It’s like a musical crescendo that you didn’t ask for!

So, what’s the solution? Well, you can either don your DIY hat and flush the tank yourself or call in a plumbing company to give your water heater a good cleanup. By removing this sediment, you’re not just silencing the noise; you’re also helping your water heater work more efficiently. Win-win!

Water Hammer

Picture this: you turn off a faucet or your dishwasher, and suddenly, there’s a loud bang in your plumbing system. It’s like a mini-earthquake right inside your water heater. This phenomenon is called water hammer, and while the water heater isn’t the culprit, it’s a close associate.

To put an end to this plumbing percussion, consider installing water hammer arrestors. These nifty devices act like shock absorbers, quelling the noise and safeguarding your plumbing from potential damage.

Expansion and Contraction

Your water heater tank is like a living thing. As it heats up and cools down, it expands and contracts, creating tiny pops and clicks. If your water heater resides in a colder environment, these sounds might be more noticeable.

The good news? You don’t need to call in the plumbers for this one. These noises are perfectly normal and usually harmless. But if you can’t stand the serenade, you can insulate your water heater to reduce the temperature swings and the accompanying noises.

T&P Valve Operation

The Temperature and Pressure (T&P) relief valve in your water heater is a safety superhero. It keeps your tank from overheating or building up too much pressure. Sometimes, it might release a bit of hot water or steam, resulting in a hissing or sizzling sound. That’s your valve doing its job, no worries!

But if your T&P valve becomes overly chatty, it might indicate an issue. In such cases, it’s best to reach out to a plumbing company for an inspection or even a valve replacement.

Electrical Element Issues

If your water heater is electric, peculiar noises might be linked to the heating elements. When these elements wear out or get a bit rusty, they can make sizzling or popping sounds as they heat the water. This auditory performance is often more pronounced during the heating cycle.

In this case, you might need to replace those heating elements to quiet things down and maintain your water heater’s efficiency. A pro can guide you through the process.


Water heaters, like anything else, can overheat, causing the water inside to boil. This can lead to a bubbling or boiling noise that’s hard to ignore. But besides the noise, overheating can be downright risky, potentially causing tank damage or worse.

If you suspect your water heater is boiling over, take action pronto. First, double-check your thermostat settings to make sure they’re in a safe range. If the problem persists, it’s time to consult a plumbing company or technician to uncover and resolve the issue.