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Was That a Ghost or Just a Water Heater That Needs Service?

Beware the Haunting Sounds of a Faulty Water Heater

Of all the scary stories and spooky fictitious events that spread during the fall season, one of the most truly horrifying is hearing noises coming from a homeowner’s plumbing. The noises coming from plumbing are not just things that go bump in the night. They can be real indicators that something is seriously wrong with piping and appliances. The hot water heater is no exception. Strange and scary noises can come from a hot water tank when it is in need of repair. 

Knowing the signs and sounds of a tank that needs water heater services from a professional plumber can help homeowners prevent damage caused by a faulty water heater and loss of hot water at inconvenient times. 

Popping or Knocking

water heater

One of the more common, haunting noises that can come from a water heater is the sound of popping or knocking. Often, it is accompanied by perceptible vibrations through the plumbing or the floor. Fortunately, the source of this noise isn’t ghosts and ghouls, and the cause of it is easily prevented and repaired. 

The knocking is caused when the tank’s heat sources turn on and begin a heating cycle. In hot water tanks, sediment build-up is common from undissolved solids and hardness in the water. The sediment that settles out of the tank forms a barrier between the heat source and the water. The barrier traps the heat and causes tiny bubbles of water to boil. The boiling water is the source of the noise. 

To prevent the noise, a plumber will drain the tank and flush the solids away. Routine flushing of the tank will prevent the sediment build-up. 

Screeching and Squealing

In plumbing, the sound of screeching and squealing isn’t supernatural. It is always the source of water that isn’t flowing freely. Anytime there is screeching coming from pipes, there is an obstruction of some sort. In piping that is poorly installed, screeching can result from too high water pressure or too many bends in the piping. If the noise has gradually gotten worse over the years, then the problem is likely because of scale build-up inside the pipes. The source of the scale can be either corrosion within metal pipes or mineral build-up from hard water. 


Cranking sounds coming from a water heater aren’t from the rattling of bones. They are usually an indicator of problems with the burner of a hot water tank. When crackling sounds are heard, they indicate that the water heater tank is in need of repair. The source of the sound is from water that is falling on the burner while it is hot. The water can come from condensation or a leak in the tank. Leaks in the tank require immediate hot water heater service from a qualified professional. 

fixing a water heater

Condensation from flue gas can be common under two sets of circumstances: when tanks are too full of cold water from high demand or condensed flue gas water vapor from high-efficiency hot water tanks. If the tank is a high-efficiency model, the condensation is probably an indicator that the drain line for the flue is clogged and needs to be cleared.  

About Roman Plumbing

Roman Plumbing is a plumbing contractor performing water heater services in the New Port Richey, FL area. They offer a full line of plumbing services with the highest level of customer satisfaction.