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Water Heater Making Noise Like Water Running

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This article that will answer your curiosity on reasons your water heater could be making noise.

Hearing water running from the heater shows there's a need for immediate action to fix the noisy water heater before it gets worse.


In this blog post, I will be taking you through a quick check you can take on your water heater to understand causes of the noise from the water heater, the different types of noise the water heaters make as well as highlighting possible solutions into the various kinds of noises. At the end is maintenance tips you can practice to keep your water heater operation intact and effective.

So let's dive into the quick check on noisy water heater.

How to Conduct A Quick Check On Noisy Water Heaters

When you experience your water heater making a running noise, here is a quick check to find out the fault.

Examine the water meter

The water meter helps to measure the volume of water used in the building. When checking it out, turn off all taps in the building supplying water into the water heater, take before and after assessment on the pressure gauge and the reading.

Check the Pipe leading to the water heater

A leak pipe can surely cause a water heater making noise even when all taps are off. You can only get this by turning off all taps and placing your ear closer to the pipe that supplies the water heater. If there's a leak from the pipe, it will give a running water sound that indicates water draining from the water heater.

Meanwhile, it can also be caused by broken pipes connected to the house. Check out the pipe in the house, including the toilet if there is overflow that is causing water heater noise.

Check out the T & P valve.

When TP valve is faulty in the water heater, it may result in draining water out from the water tank, leading to the running water noise you may be experiencing. If this is found out, the TP valve needs to be repaired or changed to stop the water heater making noise

Running this quick check will let you understand the types of noise your water heater might probably be having.

Here are highlights various kind of noises you might experience from your water

Fixing hot water heater

Types of noise from the water heater and the possible solutions

Sizzling Sounds

Not uncommon to the kitchen, when your hot pot gets heated, burning up water from the surface of the metal element, or that of a heated oil – this regarded as sizzling sound

In the context, sizzling sound occurs when the water heater is leaking (dripping) on the heating element, causing the stimulation from the heater to dry up the water. Such Sizzling sound can easily be noticed when you take a walk around your water system. The smallest leak from your water tank can lead to a more damaging effect if not fixed quickly.

When you notice this sizzling sound, the prime action to take is to disconnect the heater from the power surge, then take a check on it to find out the licking part. Your observation may warrant you to get the help of a local plumber to solve the issue. Alternatively, replacing the water heater's tank may be a better idea in this case.

Popping Sounds

Right inside the water heater is a heating element that helps to hot up the water in the tank to a preferable degree F.

When sediment from mineral deposits such as debris, sand or other lime formation are built up on the heat exchanger or the surface of the heater, it gets too thicker and forms limescale inside. It's mostly common in gas hot water heater compared to electric water heater.

At some point when the water is heating up and gets tracked with the sediment buildup on the lower heating element, it enables moisture steam to get in-between the mineral crust and hot metal. The result is forcing the water to heat through the mineral deposits on the surface of the heating element causing a rattling or crackling sound as the water is boiling.

When you observe the popping noise from your water heater, the possible solution to take first and foremost is to  open the drain valve at the bottom of the heater's tank to drain up the water from the tank. Right after then, you clean up the mineral deposits from the element to ensure all are well trashed out.

If the element has been affected badly to the point you cannot handle, then changing the water element is advisable at this point to free your water from making the rumbling sound.

Screeching sounds

A water heater screeches when it's making this piercing, high-pitched sound that can be unpleasant and annoying.

In a case where your water heater is making a screeching noise, it's as a result of an opened valve from the water heater which allows water to pass through the open space that causes the noise.

The valve is a closed system which helps to relieve excess temperature and pressure in a water heater if either reaches a critical point.

In most cases, the screeching noise becomes intense when the water is getting hot due to the water heater valve is not completely closed.

It is a minor issue that you can correct immediately when observed. Ensure you take a check on the water valve to get it closed. In the case of a damaged valve, you can place a call to a professional plumber to replace it for your convenience.

screeching sound from water heater
Image credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

Knocking/Hammering Sounds

Usually caused when the shock arrestor or water hammer arrestor is not being installed on the pipe that supplies the water heater. Water hammering is related to a shock wave effect that causes a vibration of plumbing pipes when they strike against each other in the wall

The water hammer noise from the water heater may get intensed as water pops inside the wall from the vibration from the heater.

A possible solution to correct water hammer sound is simply to install a shock arrestor, otherwise known as water hammer arrestor, which will help to reduce the vibration to avoid impending damage from the wall.

Clicking sounds

Not as bad as intended, a clicking sound may probably occur due to thermal expansion of the hot water. It's quite normal for a water heater to make this clicking or tapping noises in its moderation.


The clicking noise indicates the switch turning on and off to control the flow of water in the heater. It's also normal during the ignition phase of a gas fired water heater.

If you begin to notice a constant noise increasing, it might be an electronic component controlling the switches or other related fault. This can be critically examined by a local plumber.

Maintenance Practice to Prevent Your Water Heater Making Noise

Perform a Physical inspection

Conducting visual inspection regularly, or at least once or twice-a-year can give your water heater a lasting lifespan. Visual checks of your water tank ensure you get a proper look into any leaking, rusting or physical damages that are wrecking some parts of your water heater maintenance.

Install a Water Softener

As a result of sedimentary composition in your heater's tank causing a rumbling noise, installing a water softener in your water line will drastically save your water from buildup of lime formation and other mineral substances. Get in touch with a local plumber to help you fix a water softener up.



Draining Off Water and Flushing The Tank

It is reasonable to wash your water tank at least once a year. Flushing the tank and washing it with some solutions that will decompose the lime formation and clean all pile up dirt can prevent heavy build up of these compositions and keep the element cleaner.

Doing this will increase the efficiency of the heater as well as keeping it functioning efficiently for a longer period of time

Constant Check on Pressure Relief Valve

A T&P valve is a safety valve that is usually in most water heaters to keep the pressure and temperature in moderation. It is a very important part of the water heater that helps to open and release excess temperature and pressure inside the tank when the heat surpasses the normal water pressure.

A faulty pressure release valve should immediately be fixed to avoid the tank explosion. Affirmatively, it can cause an explosion when the pressure and temperature is higher for the tank to contain and no valve to release the excess. Therefore, a regular check on this can save you from a fatal accident or injury it may cause.

Fixing Broken Pipe


Running water noise may also be caused from a broken pipe either from the hot pipe or the cold pipe, causing a leak from the water tank. A constant check and replacement of broken pipes supplying water to the water tank may save you from water shortage as a result of this leak as well as save you from noise running from the water heater.

Now that you're enlightened on the various issues that could cause a noisy water heater with solutions on how it can be solved, we will like to hear from you the type of noise you're experiencing.

Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is an expert DIY home remodeler and mom to three. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her working on new home improvement projects or writing about her favorite kitchen appliances or DIY projects on Kitchen Infinity blog.

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