How to Solve Water Heater Noise
LESLIE: Richard in Hawaii has got some noisy heating equipment. Tell us what’s going on.
RICHARD: Wow. Well, it sings to me when I don’t want it to, it wakes me up at night and …
TOM: Sings to you.
RICHARD: Yeah, it sings. It makes all these moaning – loud moaning noises. Let me tell you a little background on it. What I did was – it is a solar system and we have two panels on top of the roof. It has the pump and then it has an 80-gallon storage capacity that also heats.
RICHARD: But for many years, it hasn’t done anything but just work and work nicely. And it still does work nicely; it heats up and everything. But it just started making these moaning sounds and I have replaced the pop-offs – what do you call it – temperature-control valve on that. I checked all my faucets and everything and everything is open/on all the way. And I’ve tried setting the faucets down all through the house, halfway, to see if that would help but it still makes noise on its own.
LESLIE: Hmm. And this is mostly at night?
RICHARD: All through the day. It’d be – even when you’re not using the water.
TOM: Richard, the most common source of water-heater noises is hard water or mineral-salt deposits that collect on the bottom skins of the water heaters or in this case, the storage tank.
Have you taken the step of flushing out the water heater?
RICHARD: No, I have not.
TOM: That’s an easy thing for you to try to see if it reduces this sound. Because the mineral deposits will accumulate on the bottom skin. They’ll also accumulate in the case of electric water heaters and on the actual heating coils. And if you remove that scale, you may find that it quiets down quite quickly.
RICHARD: OK. Is there some LIME-A-WAY or whatever you would use on something like that?
TOM: No. All you need to do is flush the water heater itself; use the flush valve. Hook up a hose to it and flush it. Just remember that the water coming out of there is going to be quite hot, so be very careful as you do that.
RICHARD: Correct. OK. I’ll give that a shot.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.