Does your water heater make a noise? That is, a popping sound, like popcorn in the microwave? Not to worry. This sound is fairly typical of water heaters. Knowing why your water heater is making that noise and how to fix the problem can prolong the life of your water heater and prevent premature water heater failure.
The noise in your water heater comes from the sediment and minerals naturally found in your home’s water supply. When the sediment sinks in the water heater, it forms a barrier between the heating elements at the bottom of the tank and the water at the top of the tank. When the heating elements are operational, water trapped beneath the sediment begins to boil, which causes the sediment to crash around inside.
The minerals in your water heater tank can make it harder for the heating elements at the bottom of the tank to heat the water found above the layer of sediment. In the short term, this means that your water heater might run inefficiently. In the long term, this could cause the tank to overheat, which could destroy the inner lining.
To get rid of the sediment, you’ll need to flush the water heater. This is something that just about any homeowner with basic DIY capabilities can do. The process takes approximately one afternoon from start to finish. You’ll begin by turning off the water and disconnecting the power to the heater. Next, you’ll open up the water lines in the lower part of the house to prevent a vacuum from forming in the pipes.
Finally, you’ll connect a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the tank and let the water drain. The water at the bottom of the heater will probably look dirty at first. When it finally starts to run clear, that’s when it’s time to close the spigot and stop draining the water. The entire process is described in great detail on this post.
90% of homes in the United States have hard water, which means that 90% of the homes have dissolved minerals floating through the water supply. These same minerals make up the sediment that ends up at the bottom of the water heater tank.
You should drain your water heater every 1 to 3 years. If you have to drain the water heater more often than that, your home could benefit from a water softener. Water softeners eliminate minerals from the water supply, preventing build from forming inside your home’s pipes and on the faucets. A water softener will also help stop the build up of sediment inside your water heater tank.
For more information about water softener installation and for questions about flushing the tank, contact us today. We’re here to help!