It’s never good when a part of your home is making a noise that it shouldn’t. If you’ve noticed that your water heater is making a bubbling, popping, or gurgling noise, you have cause for concern. If the noise sound most like bubbling, your first instinct is to think that the water heater is overboiling the water, don’t worry, it probably isn’t. Another cause is probably at the root of the problem. Here’s what you need to know if your water heater is making bubbling noises.
What Is Causing the Bubbling Noises?
A bubbling or gurgling sound from a water heater is usually the result of sediment build-up. In any water, but especially hard water, sediment will slowly build up in the tank. The harmless amounts of calcium, lime and organic particles in the water can create quite the build-up overtime. It can crust overtop of where the water usually settles in the tank. When the tank heats up, the water expands and bubbles. But, when there is sediment, then the bubbling has to break through the sediment, which creates the noise you hear.
While the bubbling itself isn’t a big deal, the amount of sediment build-up is. This sediment will reduce the efficiency of the water heater, costing you in utility bills. Sediment may also start to clog the lines of the water heater, reducing your water flow and causing pressure problems. Sediment may also contribute to tank leaks.
How Do You Fix the Water Heater?
Your plumber can fix some water heaters with this problem, but some will be too far gone to be repaired. Sometimes there is simply too much build-up to clean off without damaging the shell of the water tank, which would lead to a leak.
If the tank can be salvaged, your plumber will turn off the water heater, close its supply valve, and drain the tank. They will try to clean off the sediment on the inside. They may also need to flush the tank a few times to remove the little bits of sediment.
However, many water heaters that have developed the bubbling problem need to be replaced. Thankfully, you can at least prevent the problem from happening to your next water heater.
How To Prevent the Bubbling Problem in the Future
This problem is a lot simpler to prevent than to fix. You can keep the sediment build up out of your water heater in two ways:
- Water softener: You can place a water softener or a filter before the water heater in order to clear out the sediment before it even gets into the water heater. Just be sure that the softener is actually before the water heater supply line.
- Maintenance: Of course, your water heater should have maintenance regardless of how hard or soft your water is. However, maintenance is especially important if your water heater might develop high levels of sediment. Regular flushing of the water heater can prevent the problem from developing.