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Are Water Heaters Supposed to Make Noise?

Water heaters are common household appliances that serve the purpose of heating up the water in your home. Though they may require maintenance, their presence is more beneficial than not. If you hear noises from your water heater, you may be concerned as to if there is an issue.

Water heaters are supposed to make noise, and some noises your water heater makes are completely normal. However, some noises indicate a problem that must be resolved. Common issues that make noise include a buildup of calcium (popping), closed valve (screeching), and a water leak (sizzling). 

Throughout the remainder of this article, I will share a few topics related to the question, including the sounds water heaters may make, what they mean, and how to get the issue resolved if there is one. Just because your water heater is making noises doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem, but if there is, there are a few common things that it most likely can be attributed to.

What Sounds Indicate a Problem With a Water Heater?

As your water heater ages, it may not function the same way that it used to, or certain parts may need to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced. There are a few noises that could indicate there’s a problem with your water heater, and these sounds may help you figure out what needs to be done to fix your appliance.

Some of these sounds include popping, banging, screeching, and even sizzling. You may even hear rumbling, hissing, or humming, and different things can cause these noises.

Tankless water heaters come with a distinct set of sounds on their own that may include clicking, which can be caused by several reasons that we will cover later on in the article.

What Do the Sounds of a Water Heater Mean?

The sound that your water heater makes can better help you pinpoint if there’s an underlying issue. If you’re hearing popping noises, your water heater may have too much buildup from minerals. It could also indicate an issue with the water if it has aluminum anode rods indicating that the ph level may be too high. 

If you hear screeching coming from your water heater, there may be an issue with the water flow within your system. A partially closed valve could be the issue of this problem. On the other hand, if there’s sizzling, there could be a leak in the water heater itself, or it may also indicate that the water may just be having some trouble flowing.

If you hear any crackling noises, they may be caused by condensation on top of the burner, and in this instance, there is nothing that would need to be solved. 

Here is a video that goes a little more in-depth on what noises your water heater may be making and what they may mean as well as some solutions to get rid of the noises, which I will also cover more in detail in the following information below: 

How Do You Fix a Water Heater if there’s an Issue?

Depending on the sound your water heater is making, there may be nothing wrong, but there may be an underlying issue that needs to be looked at and fixed. Depending on the sound it’s making, there are a few different solutions to get your water heater fixed and make sure it’s working properly, efficiently, and effectively.

One of the quickest and most efficient things you can do if you believe there is something wrong with your water heater is to hire a skilled technician. An expert will be able to take a look at your water heater and let you know what’s wrong exactly with your appliance. Getting your water heater looked at can help give you peace of mind and get things resolved quickly. 

If you want to troubleshoot at home and find a solution yourself, it may be better to delve into the specific issue behind your water heater’s sound(s). Here are specific solutions for different noises:

Popping Sounds

If your water heater is making popping sounds, the way to fix the issue of buildup minerals and sediment is to flush out the water heater. Flushing out your water heater can also prevent buildup from happening in the future, and you can do this as often as possible.

If the water itself is the cause of the popping, the residue will have to be removed, and the aluminum anode will need to be replaced with a magnesium one.

Sizzling Sounds

If your water heater is making sizzling noises, you can troubleshoot this issue by working with the valves. Access the temperature and pressure relief valves, which is responsible for releasing water from the storage tank, then switch off the power and water supply if this element is making the noise. 

Make sure that all valves that need to be open are, and get a plumber to repair or fix the valve that was making the sizzling sound.

Humming Sounds

If your water heater is humming, eliminate this noise by tightening the heating element.

Rumbling Sounds

Get rid of the rumbling noises by cleaning out the dirt in your water heater tank. Getting rid of the residue will save you money in repairs that could be needed if the issue is left unresolved. Also, make sure the element tubes are clean. This step may also help eliminate crackling or popping noises.

Screeching Sounds

Screeching noises can be eliminated in a similar way to eliminate sizzling sounds—make sure that the valves, especially in your water lines, are open, which will help them function properly and eliminate the noise.

Other Noises

Tankless water heaters may come with different noises that you need to pay attention to or investigate. Tankless water heaters such as gas water heaters may make a clicking sound, which has to do with the flow switch. When you hear the clicking, it is typically the flow switch coming on and off, which is a normal process that starts and stops the water flow.

If more noise or louder noise is coming from the water heater, there may be an issue of hard water, and debris can be attributed to the sound.

There are water softening devices available and water softening systems to soften the water, which will eliminate the sound coming from the appliance and may be necessary for the functionality of the water heater. They eliminate the water’s hardness caused by the buildup of minerals and are affordable solutions to assist your system.

You can grab this iSpring ED2000 one for under $200.

Any other noises coming from the water heater can be caused by leaks within the system, dirty fan, or issue with the burner.


Your water heater may be making a number of sounds that can mean different things. The appliance may be functioning as normal, carrying out its usual duties, or there may be a greater issue that needs to be looked into and resolved. 

There are a number of solutions that can repair various parts of the system that can be done within a moment’s time or with the help of an experienced professional if needed. Either way, if there is an issue, it most likely can be attributed to a certain cause and get resolved.

Additional Water Heater Resources

To learn more about water heaters, check out some of our other articles about water heaters:


  • Vincent Steele

    Vincent is a freelance writer based in Santa Ana, California. When he isn't writing articles for Temperature Master, he can be found biking or hanging out with his cat, Shelly.

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