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Affinity Gas Services Blog

Strange Water Heater Noises and What They Mean

It can be alarming if your water heater starts to make any usual sounds. Your imagination may run wild with the different things that could be going wrong. The good news is that no matter how unusual the sounds are coming from your water heater, the problems are usually not too serious.

If you have a hot water tank that sounds like a tea kettle or other unusual sounds, give our team a call and schedule a check-up for your water heater. You can keep reading to learn more about some of the most common sounds that can indicate something is wrong with your water heater.

Popping or Rumbling

You have probably heard of hard and soft water. If your home has hard water, it has a higher mineral content. Even within the classification of hard water, there can be more or fewer minerals. The worse that your hard water is, the more minerals are coming into your home and are in your water heater. Even though you can’t see these minerals with your naked eye, they can build up over time to create sediment inside of your home’s plumbing systems.

Inside of your water heater, they settle on the bottom of the tank on top of the heating element. When the heating element turns on to heat water inside the tank, it causes these minerals to move around. You may hear a rumbling or popping sound, depending on how many minerals are in the tank. Hard water and needs to be addressed because the minerals can corrode the inside of your water heater and lead to rust. 


If you have an electric water heater, then crackling is normal to hear from time to time. Of course, if you begin to hear crackling persistently, then you need to get your water heater checked out. But crackling is of particular concern if you have a gas water heater. Crackling can indicate that there is moisture in the gas lines.


Ticking is another sound that can be completely normal sometimes, but it’s problematic if you hear it too much. Your water heater has pressure-release valves that help to balance out pressure inside your water heater when it gets too high. It is completely normal to hear a ticking sound once in a while as your water heater works to normalize pressure inside the tank.

If you start to hear persistent clicking or clicking that happens frequently, then you need to schedule a service appointment. It’s an indication that the pressure inside of your water heater is consistently higher than it should be. Even if your water heater is still working fine, it might not be for long, unless you take care of the underlying issue.


Hearing a whistling sound usually means that valves around your water heater are loose and allowing air to escape. Your water heater needs to be completely airtight for it to have the best chance at a long lifespan without rust and corrosion.

Anytime you hear whistling coming from your water heater, you need to address the problem. Sometimes the valves can be tightened, but other times they need to be completely replaced because they have aged and worn down. 

Contact Affinity Gas Services today to schedule an appointment with our professionals. We’re “The Gas Efficiency Experts.”

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