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What Those Weird Water Heater Noises Mean

You probably don’t think about your water heater much—unless it starts making a racket from behind the utility closet door. If you hear this appliance calling out for attention, don’t ignore it. Diagnose the noisy water heater and have it repaired to restore normal operation.

Why is my water heater making a noise? A fair question many homeowners ask! Here’s a quick guide to water heater sounds you may be hearing and what they mean:

Popping, Cracking, or Clanking

If you hear any of these noises while your gas- or oil-fired water heater is operating, mineral deposits may have accumulated at the bottom of the tank. What causes this accumulation?


  • Mineral deposits build up naturally as calcium and magnesium carbonate precipitate out of the heated water.
  • Over the years, lack of maintenance can lead to a thick layer of mineral buildup.

This accumulation can block heat transfer and lower water heater efficiency. Mineral deposits can even shorten the lifespan of your unit. Fortunately, the tank clues you in on its need for maintenance by making popping, cracking, or clanking sounds.


Electric water heaters are less common these days, but if your tank is powered by electricity, you might hear a hissing sound when the heating electrodes turn on. This also indicates mineral buildup inside the water heater.

Banging or Booming at Start-Up

Before you read any further, turn off your gas- or oil-fired water heater and call a professional for repair services if you hear the tank making a loud bang or boom at start-up. This sound could indicate a dangerous situation where gas or oil is reigniting when the burner starts. The chance of a gas or oil burner puffback explosion puts your family and home at risk.

In less dangerous situations, the banging or booming sound may simply mean your water heater is experiencing higher-than-normal thermal expansion. When this is the cause, you’re most likely to hear a bang or boom when the water is reheating after you used up all the hot water or after the water heater has been turned off for a while. It may require the addition of an expansion tank to make the noise go away.

Water Heater Repair in Central Jersey

The bottom line is if you hear weird water heater noises, it’s best to turn it off and have it looked at by a professional before running hot water again. From improving efficiency to preventing an explosion, having your noisy water heater serviced is sure to benefit you! To schedule water heater repair in your New Jersey home, contact Arctic Air Conditioning today.

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