You’re relaxing at home, thinking everything is fine, and then you hear a strange noise. It sounds like something is rumbling. When you investigate, you discover that the rumbling sound is coming from your water heater. Is it a disaster? Is it going to explode?
The good news is that water heater explosions are extremely rare, to the point of being nearly unheard-of. If you have heard a story of a water heater exploding, it was almost definitely an old-fashioned steam-powered boiler, not the kind in use today. The bad news is that a rumbling sound indicates that you are in need of water heater repair in Manassas, VA. There are several things that could cause your water heater to make that rumbling noise. We’ll cover the two most likely possibilities.
Probable Cause: Sediment
This is the most likely cause of the sound you’re hearing. Water naturally contains minerals, and during heating, those minerals settle out of the water and accumulate at the bottom. As they build up as layers of sediment, they cover the area where the heat exchanger is located. The heated water forces itself up through the sediment layers the way water is forced through coffee grounds in a percolator, which is a noisy process.
Sediment Causes Other Problems
The rumbling sound itself is not a problem. It’s just an indicator that there is quite a build-up of sediment, and now that you know, you should address it promptly. Sediment can cause significant difficulties for your water heater. First, since it interferes with the heat exchanger and makes it harder for it to heat the tank, the efficiency drops and your utility bills go up. Second, your tank’s water pressure is based on the size of the full tank. If part of the tank is being filled by sediment, the same amount of water is forced into a smaller space, causing an increase in water pressure. Too-high water pressure can cause leaks, a problem you really don’t want to deal with.
Resolving the Sediment Problem
An experienced professional plumber will be able to safely flush out your tank, washing out the sediment. They can also make recommendations about how to decrease the impact of sediment in the future. For example, sometimes a major cause of sediment is that you have hard water, which means it has more dissolved minerals in it than most water. If that’s the case, a plumber can recommend water softener options.
Possible Cause: Broken Dip Tube
In some cases, the dip tube is actually the noise-making culprit. This is the pipe that brings cold water to the bottom of the tank for heating. If it breaks, cold water can be released in other parts of the tank, creating a rumbling noise. Your plumber will be able to determine the exact cause of the sound and replace the dip tube if necessary.
To avoid having these issues come up unexpectedly, we recommend annual maintenance, during which your tank can be flushed and inspected, and problems can be addressed before they become too severe. This will increase the efficiency and life expectancy of your water heater, and decrease the likelihood of sudden or expensive repair needs.
AllTech Services, Inc. is your trusted resource for water heater repair and all other plumbing needs. Contact us today!