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Charter Home Comfort Blog

What Those Strange Water Heater Sounds Might Mean

Hearing unusual sounds come from your water heater can feel alarming. Are the sounds normal or is something going wrong? We are going to highlight several of the more common water heater sounds below and outlining in greater detail what they mean.

When you better understand what might be wrong with your water heater, you can schedule a water heater repair in Grosse Pointe, MI ahead of a major water heater problem. Ideally, you should schedule a tune-up and inspection for your water heater once per year anyway, and now is a great time to schedule that appointment. You can keep reading to learn more about water heater sounds and what they mean.


When you hear a popping or kettling sound come from your water heater, it is usually caused by sediment build-up due to hard water. These tiny pieces of sediment come from the minerals found in your home’s water source. Even though you cannot see them with your eye, the minerals can build up quickly over time inside of your water heater. When the heating element turns on, they move around and result in a popping or kettling sound. A layer of sediment along the bottom of the tank will also trap a layer of water below it that will bubble up through the sediment as it heats up—this is another source of the kettling and popping sound.

Rumbling or Banging

Sediment can also cause a rumbling or banging sound if the problem gets significant. These minerals heating up inside of your water heater can actually cause tiny explosions that result in rumbling or banging. But rumbling and banging could also have other implications. 

There’s a chance that your water heater will experience a water hammer incident. When water hammer happens, the water suddenly begins moving through the lines in the opposite direction, resulting in a rumbling or banging sound.


Crackling can be completely normal if you have an electric water heater. But you should only hear it once in a while. Hearing a persistent crackling sound can mean trouble for your electric water heater. When you have a gas water heater, crackling can mean that there is condensation on the burner, a more serious problem that you definitely want to get checked out sooner rather than later.


When you hear ticking, it means that the pressure valve is opening to release some of the pressure from inside your water heater when the pressure levels get too high. It’s normal to hear ticking once in a while, but if you begin to hear persistent ticking, that means pressure inside of your water heater is consistently higher than it should be. It’s definitely a problem worth checking out so that you can get down to the source of the increased pressure and fix it.

Contact Charter Home Comfort today to schedule an appointment with our professionals for water heater service. Old fashioned values with tech savvy results!

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