hot water heater noise

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  • This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 24 years ago by Avatar photoSylvanLMP.
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    • #278041
      Avatar photoAnonymous

        I have a gas hot water heater that makes a rather loud popping / scratching noise when the flame is on and the water is being heated. Is this fixable?

      • #297563
        Avatar photoArt_xyz

          Many times this happens with old water heaters that have a lot of particle build-up in the bottom of the tank. You may be able to reduce the noise by draining and flushing the tank but I don’t know if it is worth the effort.

        • #297564
          Avatar photohj

            Actually the buildup is around the center flue of the heater. Water gets into the little nodules and the hot gases turn it into steam. Pressure forces the steam out of the nodule and when it meets the water in the tank, it condenses into water, releasing the energy it absorbed and causing a mini-explosion which is the noise. Eventually this will wear a hole in the tank and you will have a leak.

          • #297565
            Avatar photoSylvanLMP

              A question comes to mind. Do you have this heater installed near a laundry room or other high humidity area? Basement etc?

              What is the relative humidity in the area? In another words, some times damp areas will cause a pinging sound from these tanks during the heating cycle.

              Remember you have a steel tank with a flame under it. Picture a glass of ice water in a glass sitting on a counter. In a few minutes you will feel water build up on the outside of this glass condensation (more on humid days).

              The same with this big steel tank.

              As your drawing (using) hot water your also allowing cold water into this tank at the same time. As this big tank drips (just like the glass of ice water) this dripping spills on the burner and causing a hissing sound, BUT when this condensation drips down the center of the heater the hot flue gases spinning around the flue baffle causes normally a popping sound.

              You may want to try to install a dehumidifier in this area as a simple stop gap.

              If this doesn’t work you could have your licensed Master INSURED plumbing contractor install a return circulation line to temper the incoming cold water supply and this will prevent most of the extreme temperature fluctuations. Coefficient of expansion per inch per degree (thermos stress) also causes strange sounds.
              Good Luck.

              [Edited by SylvanLMP on 11 April 2000]

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