Water heater sizzling sound? What it means and what to do.Are you hearing a water heater sizzling sound? Depending on when you hear the sizzling or hissing sound and what’s going in the heater, your water heater may need replacement, or it may be working normally. Here’s a few things that could be causing your water heater to sizzle.

Leaks in the Tank

Sizzling can happen when hot water hits a cold surface. It’s like when you run a hot pan under cold water, except in reverse. The water in your heater is hot, and it could be hitting a colder surface to create the sizzling sound. One possibility is that your tank is leaking, only slightly, and hitting your cold basement floor. These leaks are typically very small and evaporate away, so you may not actually notice water on the floor.

Usually when this problem occurs the tank is old and needs to be replaced. Patching a leaking water tank is typically a waste of money, as the problem is likely to occur again.

An Under-Sized Tank

Thought, sizzling doesn’t necessarily indicate a leak. Sometimes, if you use all of your hot water, the tank needs to refill from the bottom with cold water. It’s possible that when the cold water hits the hot tank a sizzling sound could occur.

In this case, everything is working fine, but the tank may be a bit too small for your home, seeing as it is emptying out. Overtime this additional stress will wear on the tank, so you may need to invest in a larger tank or a tankless water heater.

Condensation onto the Burner

Another potential cause of the sizzling sound is condensation. When warm moist air meets cold temperatures, water naturally forms. Sometimes in gas water heaters condensation occurs near the burner. Then, the cold water drips onto the hot burner and a sizzling or hissing sound can be heard.

Condensation can interfere with your burner, so your plumber may need to find a solution for this problem.

Sediment Build-Up

Water heaters may also make a sizzling sound when they have too much sediment inside. Sediment build-up is the result of hard water. The calcium and other trace minerals in the water collect in the hot water tank and create a kind of crust on the top of the water. The hot water bubbles through the crust and creates a sizzling sound. Sometimes, it sounds more like popping. Either way, your plumber can simply clean out your tank to solve this one.

High Temperature

Your water heater may also make a sizzling noise when the release valve is activated. This valve is intended to release pressure if the temperature gets too high in the tank. It may be that your temperature is set too high, or that the valve is broken.

You should not attempt to fix this problem yourself by lowering the temperature of the tank. Water that is too cool is a safety issue. Further, broken pressure relief valves may cause other problems, so they need to be replaced. Whether you have a residential water heater or commercial water heater, it’s always wise to reach out to your local plumber to investigate a water heater’s sizzling sound.