A water heater is one of the most neglected and underrated major systems you have at home. You use it every day to enjoy warm showers and clean up, but probably never think about it, yet alone maintain it — until something breaks down. One of the most common problems is a whistling water heater.
A strange and unusual noise from appliances warrants some inspection. Let’s take a closer look at what this could mean.
Common Reasons Why Your Water Heater is Whistling
- Loose drain valve. Located at the bottom of every water tank is a drain valve which allows you to drain the tank along with any built-up sediment. Over time, this drain valve may become loose allowing air to come in which causes the whistling sound. If you have not drained your water tank in a while, the unusual noises may be caused by built-up sediment at the bottom of the tank which can rumble, pop or hiss when heating up.
- Cold water inlet/hot water outlet. Located at the top of the tank are the water inlet and outlet. These connections are a common area for normal wear-and-tear over the years, especially on the hot water outlet. Whistling sounds are quite common from worn out connections.
- Temperature Pressure Relief (TPR) valve. The TPR valve is a safety feature which releases pressure from the tank if it builds up too much. It’s normal for a water heater to build up steam and pressure from normal use; the TPR valve releases only when pressure builds up to a hazardous level.
- Cracked tank. Older water tanks may have corroded inside which weakens the wall of the tank and can create cracks or leaks. A cracked tank may whistle and should be repaired right away.
What to Do If You Hear Whistling
Before you attempt to inspect your water heater for the source of the whistling, make sure you use precaution and turn off the water heater first and wait until the tank cools down.
First, check to see if all the connections are tight. Next, look for any signs of corrosion. If you notice any signs of moisture near or under your water tank, it may have developed a leak.
If you still notice whistling sounds from your water heater after you’ve checked all connections and turn it back on, one of our water heater specialists can help you.
How to Prevent Whistling in the Future
Like anything, a water heater requires regular maintenance to prevent costly breakdowns.
To maintain your water heater and prolong its life, we recommend you completely drain the water tank at least once a year to remove any built-up sediment. Built-up sediment makes the system less efficient and also harms the interior lining.
To monitor signs of rusting, check the metal anode rod at the top of the water tank at least once a year. This rod is sometimes called a sacrificial anode. If the metal rod is corroded, removing it and replacing it with a new one can extend the life of your tank.
Call 415-441-2255 to experience 5-star service from the team at Magic Plumbing servicing the San Francisco, CA area. We’ve been proudly serving San Francisco for over 30 years with reliable, same day service.