Water Heater Rumbling? Here's What You Should Do About It

Dirty water heater
Is your water heater’s rumbling noise disturbing the peace in your house? Perhaps you hoped the strange sound might just go away eventually, but you are starting to think the noise is here to stay. It’s time to get to the bottom of the issue and help your water heater run better.

Keep reading for the plumbing solutions that can help your rumbling water heater.

Why Is Your Water Heater Making a Rumbling Noise?

There may be several possible reasons for the water heater rumbling. Here are the most common causes of a water heater making a rumbling noise:

  • Sediment buildup in the bottom of the tank due to hard water. In this case, the rumbling is a result of boiling water trapped in the sediment.
  • Sediment buildup in the bottom of the tank due to rust or other minerals that have accumulated during years of use. In addition to sediment buildup, this issue can result in an overheating water heater.
  • Too much cold water is entering the tank at once. While this issue is not a reason for concern, the sound can be disconcerting.

For each of these problems, there’s a plumbing solution that can fix it and potentially extend the life of your water heater. In the case of sediment build up or boiling water due to hard water scale, you will need to drain the water heater tank and then flush out the existing sediment.

Take the following 10 steps to drain and flush the water heater:

  1. Turn off the power to the water heater. For gas water heaters, you will need to turn the heater’s gas control to the Pilot setting. For electric water heaters, turn the water heater off at the home’s circuit breaker.
  2. Turn the lever to the cold water supply to a 90-degree angle.
  3. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve and place the hose’s other end at the basement drain, utility sink, or outside the house.
  4. Open a hot water faucet somewhere in the house. This will get air flowing in the system which will encourage the water to drain from the hose and prevent a vacuum from forming inside the water heater.
  5. Open the drain valve and allow the dirty water to flow out.
  6. Once the tank is empty of all water and debris, open and shut the cold water supply valve repeatedly a few times in order to flush out any remaining sediment. Only stop the process once the water is running clear and you know the sediment is gone from the tank.
  7. Close the drain valve and disconnect the garden hose.
  8. Open the cold water valve on the water heater by turning the lever so that it is lined up with the cold water inlet pipe.
  9. Turn off the hot water faucet you previously turned on once the stream of water flows steadily, signaling the air is out of the system.
  10. Restore the gas or power to the water tank to allow the water to heat up again.

Get the Expert Assistance You Need for a Rumbling Water Heater

Whether you prefer to have the experts drain the sediment from your water heater, or you think it may be time to replace your water heater, call on your local Mr. Rooter® Plumbing. A water heater that is over 10 years old, or has not been drained in over a year, or has a water supply with high mineral content may require professional service.

An additional consideration is that many newer water heater models have features that prevent sediment build-up. Replacing your water heater will stop the rumbling noise and use less power than your old water heater, saving you a bundle of money over time.

At Mr. Rooter Plumbing, our friendly, experienced technicians are available to provide the long-lasting plumbing solutions you need to extend the life of your water heater and ensure it runs optimally. Contact your local Mr. Rooter Plumbing location by calling or request an estimate online today.