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Specialists in Electric Hot Water Cylinders

Why Does My Water Heater Make a Popping Noise?

16 May 2023

Under normal circumstances, you should hear some sounds from your water heater. You’ll likely hear it filling during and immediately after use, for instance. Or you might hear the electrical elements heating the water. However, that should be the extent of the sounds you hear. Anything more such as a popping noise or banging sound or an electrical sizzling sound could be a sign that something’s wrong.

So, what if you hear a popping noise from your water heater? This is relatively common, particularly for older water heaters in areas with hard water. It’s a sign that there’s a good deal of build-up within the cylinder and means that it has not been serviced in too long.

The Cause of Water Heater Popping

If your water heater sounds like you’re popping popcorn ahead of family movie night, it’s definitely a cause for concern. However, it doesn’t mean that your cylinder is on its way out. Instead, it means that you need to have it serviced. If you have an unvented cylinder, you should be having it professionally maintained to comply with your insurance requirements, anyway.

In areas with high amounts of dissolved solids in tap water, those minerals never really go away. They settle to the bottom of the water heater during use. There, they create layers of material that affect the way your cylinder heats. They also trap water and air between them. When the area warms, the water and air heat up, expanding and eventually breaking through the layers of sediment. That causes the popping noise that you hear.

Here is a useful article from Scottish Water about the possible causes of noise in pipework.

How to Stop Noise

Want to stop the popping noise from your water heater? It’s possible, but it will require that you drain the tank and remove the sediment causing the problem. Note that you should never work on an unvented cylinder on your own. It requires certified specialists. At EasyFlow, our team has experience with all major unvented cylinder brands sold and installed in the UK, as well as many older/less-known brands.

How Our Technicians Fix a Problem

First, we’ll conduct an in-depth inspection of the water heater, the tun dish, your piping, valves, and all other components. This is part of our annual maintenance plan and is designed to help stave off problems, like leaking valves, that could spell big trouble down the road.

After verifying that the only problem in need of service is the noise, our technicians will turn off the power/cut the gas and close the cold-water valve that allows water in from the mains. Next, we’ll attach a drain hose to the bottom of the cylinder and ensure that the hose is routed correctly to drain the water safely outside your home. We’ll then open a hot tap somewhere in the home to prevent a vacuum from forming and then drain the water and sediment from your cylinder.

Don’t let a popping sound from your water heater drive you crazy. Removing sediment will stop the sound and prolong the life of your water heater. It will also ensure that your cylinder works properly and will also reduce your home’s energy consumption. Get in touch with EasyFlow today to schedule your inspection and draining, and to learn more about our annual maintenance plans.


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