Why Is My Hot Water Heater Making Knocking Sounds?

Sometimes, any noise that is coming from your water heater with knocking sounds is alerting you that something is wrong in the system. Also, a faint knocking noise may mean a little alarm. However, a hot water heater may occasionally make knocking or popping sounds that fall somewhere between severe or trivial alarm extremes.

In this article, we are going to help you understand what can accelerate these knocking sounds and what you need to do about it.

Probable cause and source of Hot water heaters’ Knocking sounds

Knocking sound are likely caused by sediments or mineral deposits that have gathered at the bottom of your water heater tank. These knocking sound-causing agents are famously known as scale. Mostly, the sound is due to the reduced volume at the bottom of your hot water heater’s tank.


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Once there is reduced volume, there is a force that leads to steam bubbles to rise as the burners of your heater heat the tank. These bubbles become trapped and start to rattle around creating sounds at the bottom. It is the rattling and trapping of the scale that produces knocking and sometimes popping sounds.

How do these sediments enter your hot water heater tank?

Do you ever wonder how these sediments get into your heater tank? Well, the first entrance of these agents is hard water. An excess amount of hard water that houses mineral salts leads to the accumulation of sediments of calcium and magnesium that might cause significant damages to plumbing components and pipes.

Deposits do get left behind at the bottom of your heater tank which is mostly made of metal but lined with glass. Once settled at the bottom, deposits and mineral remain to start to rattle, causing wear to the tank lining. Through the deposits rattling forces, the tank corrodes, thereby leading to particles that produce knocking sounds.

How sediments cause knocking sounds from the heating burner

Once sediments get trapped underneath the bottom of your hot water heater tank, they get clogged near the heating burner. When the gas burner heats the water, water boils and then bubbles up until it escapes the sediments layer. While sediments layers are moving up and down, you will hear knocking sounds.

Why Is My Hot Water Heater Making Knocking Sounds

How to stop knocking sounds from your hot water heater

Once you start to hear disturbing knocking sounds and after you have identified the cause, the next step is making sure you have found a solution to stop such sounds – they need to be stopped because they can lead to your heater tank wearing out thus entirely damaging of your water system. Below are ways to stop your hot water heater sounds:

Ways to stop your hot water heater sounds

  • If you are using a fuel-powered heater tank, get the gas control on pilot settings. Pilot settings reduce popping and knocking sounds.
  • If you are using an electric-powered heater tank, shut off the circuit breaker that powers the tank, and you will reduce or completely do away with knocking sounds.
  • Turning off your cold-water supply will also help by shutting off valves from the hot water supply section, thus reducing sounds.
  • Attaching a hose to your hot water heater tank’s drain valve is another way to stop knocking sounds. The drain valve is located at the small spigot section that is at the bottom of the tank. To reduce sounds, turn on the hot water at the sink near the tank so that there will be no gap of air that’s created in the heater, thus reducing sounds.


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Why Is My Hot Water heater making Knocking Sounds-Watch our Video

Welcome back, Coachella Valley. Rick Cubas here, owner of Preferred Air Conditioning, Heating, and Plumbing coming to you live with another segment of preferred pointers. In this segment, what I want to talk to you about is a very frequent question we get from our homeowners today is Rick, why does my water heater make these snap, crackling and popping sounds in the middle of the night? Well, it’s been found that we actually have the fourth hardest water in the entire country right here in the Coachella Valley.

And when I’m referencing hard water, I’m meaning the calcium and the magnesium that’s in our water supply. Now, this is not an unhealthy thing. It’s there for actual taste and for nutrition, but it wreaks havoc on our plumbing systems, especially in this case water heaters. In this next video that I’m about to show you, it’s actually going to show you the amount of sediment that we typically come across when we’re either flushing a water heater out or replacing a water heater because of the sediment buildup.

See, what happens is that sediment over time just builds up at the bottom of your water heater, and now you have your heating element that has to heat up all that sediment at the bottom before it actually heats up your water. So this is very inefficient. It’s utility money that you’re spending on that’s going right out the window. But what happens is as it’s heating up, that sediment breaks apart and when it breaks apart, it’s making those knocking sounds and those popping sounds. So it’s not ghosts that are floating around in your house and it’s not the boogeyman in your garage.

It’s simply hard water, hard water, referencing the calcium and magnesium buildup. Check out this video so you can actually see what I’m talking about. We’d love to talk to you more about it. See us online at www.preferredservicesca.com or call us at 760-863-0832. Until next time, this is Rick Cubas, owner of Preferred Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing. Old fashioned service, customer preferred. Thank you.

Are you stressed over plumbing problems bugging you all day? You’ve found the right solution to all your Indio plumbing and Hot water issues. Our Preferred Heating and Plumbing consists of a professional team of local plumbing contractors that will work with you until your plumbing issue is resolved.

For plumbing repairs, Water Heater installations, and even air conditioning contractors and AC service, reach out to an experienced Indio and Palm Springs plumbing company to help you out. We have a culture we live by where we assure you of no hidden charges, up-front flat-rate pricing, and no overtime charges or surprises.

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