Onalaska, Wisconsin

4 Worrisome Water Heater Sounds February 10, 2020

Onalaska, La Crosse County
4 Worrisome Water Heater Sounds, Onalaska, Wisconsin

When you rely on a water heater to provide a consistent source of warm water, you may be wary when it starts making sounds. Although it doesn’t operate noiselessly, a loud heater is often a sign of mechanical issues or potential failure. There are times, however, that it isn’t. Know which is which and ease confusion by using the brief guide below.

What Do These Water Heater Noises Mean?

1. Popping or Rumbling

A popping sound from your water heater points to the presence of sediment buildup at the tank’s bottom. The formation of mineral deposits is usual in areas with hard water, so if you don’t have a softener, expect sediments to collect and harden. These scale buildups—comprised of calcium and magnesium carbonate—trap the water underneath, causing the popping noise.

Apart from installing a water softener, regularly flushing the water heater helps in reducing the level of mineral deposits. Doing so lets you avoid a substantial buildup, which often results in rumbling sounds and less efficient performance.

2. Crackling or Sizzling

water heater La Crosse, WISometimes, the sediment buildup can bury the heating element of an electric heater, causing a sizzling or crackling noise. However, that’s not the only possible reason for this sound—sometimes, it’s a sign of water flow restriction. Look at the water valve to see if it’s entirely open to let the water flow. When this doesn’t resolve the issue, check the temperature and pressure relief valve. If there’s no water coming out of the tank because of high pressure, it’s time to call for professional help.

It’s also likely that the hissing sound came from the condensation dripping on a hot burner. Perhaps, it’s due to a leak in your water heater. Either way, only a plumber can diagnose the trouble.  

3. Ticking

If you hear a ticking sound, chances are it’s related to fluctuations in the water pressure. High levels of stress often result from high temperatures, causing your pipes to expand and contract as heated water flows inside. Sometimes, this causes the clicking noise, so identify the source, secure the joints, and lower the temperature if possible.

Heat traps in heaters keep the heat inside as a way to conserve energy, and this can also cause the clicking noise.

4. Humming

The humming noise you hear in your electric water heater isn’t a cause for alarm—it possibly came from the vibrating upper heating element as cold water enters the tank. You can tighten it to stop the unnecessary shaking and the resulting sound.


Whenever you hear any unusual noise coming from your water heater, call a plumber from A+ Family Plumbing for the quick response. Serving communities throughout La Crosse County, WI, they’ve provided top-notch plumbing services, including water heater repair and drain cleaning, to homes and businesses. Get in touch at (608) 783-5558 for prompt care or visit them online for more information.

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