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What causes your water heater to make loud rumbling noises?

What Causes Your Water Heater To Make Loud Rumbling Noises?

Loud noises coming from your hot water heater is obviously concerning. The good news is that it isn’t dangerous; it’s not going to blow up. But you do need to fix the problem so you can keep taking those hot showers we all enjoy, especially in the winter!

So what’s causing the noise and what should you do about it?

The most common culprit is that sediment has built up at the bottom of your water heater tank.

Where does the sediment in the tank come from?

It’s from the water itself. As water makes its way from rain falling on the ground, through waterways and into our water systems, it collects minerals (mostly calcium and magnesium.) Homes that have ‘hard’ water are particularly susceptible to mineral buildup.

What does this sediment do to your water heater?

As the sediment builds up in the tank you will began to hear a rumbling sound. As the amount of sediment increases, the noise increases.

The sediment sinks to the bottom of your tank where the heating element is. Water gets mixed in and trapped underneath the sediment. As your water heater’s burner heats that water, it creates steam bubbles that are forced to escape the sediment layers and that’s what causes the loud knocking or rumbling noise.

The sediment acts like insulation, reducing the heat transfer within the tank, so your water heater’s burner has to work harder. And working harder mean less efficiency and higher utility bills.

A bigger issue is that sediment buildup can overheat the water heater’s metal tank, causing it to deteriorate. It will only be a matter of time before the tank will rust and begin leaking or burst, causing possible water damage in your home.

So how is this water heater problem fixed?

Your hot water heater needs to be drained and the sediment flushed out. You can do it yourself or call a professional plumber. Draining your water heater is fairly straight forward but the process has number of steps that must be followed exactly to avoid damage.

We’re biased, of course, and suggest you let one of our licensed plumbers do it for you. While we’re there we can thoroughly inspect your water heater to make sure there are no other problems. An efficiently running water heater not only saves on utility bills but also prolongs the life of your water heater.

So if you don’t feel confident about doing it yourself or don’t have the time, just give us a call and we’ll be right over.

If you have any questions feel free to contact us at (804) 358-9333 or at jamesriverair.com. If you want to learn more about our Tankless Hot Water solution visit this link: Tankless Water Heaters.