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Why Is My Water Heater Whistling?

Causes & Solutions to a Whistling Water Heater

Storage tank water heater

A water heater is an essential appliance in any home, providing hot water for showers, dishwashing, laundry, and more. However, when a water heater starts making a whistling sound, it can be a cause for concern. Not only is this whistling noise annoying, but it can also point to underlying issues with your water heater that need to be addressed. In this blog, our plumbing experts at Arctic Air Conditioning cover the common causes of a whistling water heater, provide steps homeowners can take to resolve the issue, and explain when it’s best to call a professional.

Four Common Causes of a Whistling Water Heater

1. Sediment Buildup

Over time, minerals in water, such as calcium and magnesium, can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater tank. This sediment buildup can cause the heating elements to overheat, leading to a whistling or popping sound. The sound occurs as water is forced through the sediment, creating pressure and noise.

2. Pressure Relief Valve Issues

The pressure relief valve (PRV) is a safety feature designed to release excess pressure from the water heater tank. If the PRV is malfunctioning or there is excessive pressure in the tank, it can produce a whistling sound. This is often due to high water pressure or a faulty valve.

3. Loose Fittings & Connections

Whistling noises can also originate from loose pipe fittings or connections. As water flows through the pipes, it can create vibrations that result in a whistling sound. This is particularly common in older water heaters where fittings may have become loose over time.

4. Water Inlet & Outlet Connections

The connections where cold water enters and hot water exits the water heater can sometimes become partially blocked or restricted. This restriction can cause water to flow through a smaller opening, leading to a whistling noise as the water is forced through.

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How To Fix a Whistling Water Heater

If your water heater is whistling, follow these steps to see if you can remedy the problem:

1. Flush the tank

To address sediment buildup, homeowners should flush the water heater tank regularly. To do so, you should turn off the water heater and the cold water supply. Then, attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of your water heater tank and run the hose to a suitable drainage area. Open the drain valve and allow the water to flow out of the water heater tank. Once the tank has been flushed, close the drain valve and turn the water supply back on. If you don’t feel comfortable attempting this on your own, you can reach out to a professional plumber for help.

2. Check the Pressure Relief Valve

Inspect your pressure relief valve to ensure it’s functioning correctly and that it isn’t causing whistling. To do so, locate the pressure relief valve on the side of the tank and then life it to release some water and pressure. If this doesn’t work, then your pressure relief valve may need to be replaced.

3. Tighten Loose Fittings

Examine all the pipe fittings and connections around the water heater, as loose connections can be causing the whistling noise. If you notice any that are loose, use a wrench to tighten them.

4. Clear Inlet & Outlet Connections

Ensure that the water inlet and outlet connections are free from obstructions. To do so, turn off the water heater and the water supply, and then disconnect the inlet and outlet pipes. Inspect and clean the connections to remove any buildup, and then reconnect them securely. This is a more complex fix, so if you suspect the inlet or outlet connections are the cause of your whistling water heater, you may want to call a professional for repairs.

When To Call a Professional Plumber

If the whistling sound persists despite your efforts to troubleshoot, it’s time to call a professional plumber for water heater repairs. At Arctic Air, our plumbers have the expertise to diagnose complex issues, ensure safety, and provide lasting solutions, preventing potential damage to your home and extending the life of your water heater.

Contact Arctic Air today to schedule water heater repairs in Old Bridge or the surrounding areas of Central New Jersey.

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