Is a Popping Water Heater Dangerous?

Is a popping water heater dangerous? This common issue is a cause for concern for many homeowners. The popping sound may seem harmless, but could it indicate a dangerous problem with your water heater?

At Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Phoenix, we prioritize the safety and proper functioning of water heaters. This article will examine the causes of a popping water heater, the potential dangers it poses to your home, and how you can address those noises.

What Is Causing a Popping Sound in My Water Heater?

Minerals and other particles in your water supply can cause sediment and scale buildup. The popping noise comes from boiling water beneath the sediment. While the noise is not dangerous, excessive sediment can result in several problems for your water heater.

Sediment buildup can slow heat transfer and cause overheating, damaging the inner lining and steel tank and ultimately resulting in a leak. Additionally, if you have an electric water heater, the sediment can cover the heating element and cause it to burn out. Neglecting to flush the tank can also decrease the water heater's efficiency and cause the tank to deteriorate over time, potentially causing a leak and requiring replacement.

Sediment Buildup

The water supplied to your home contains naturally occurring minerals like calcium and magnesium carbonate. These minerals can settle at the bottom of your water tank over time, creating hard buildup. The trapped water near the tank's burner can cause small air bubbles to burst, leading to a popping sound as the sediment moves. Preventing sediment buildup in the water tank helps to avoid this popping noise.

Costly Problems of Sediment Buildup

If you hear a popping noise, your water heater is working harder than it should to heat your water, leading to increased energy usage and higher utility bills. Sediment buildup in your water heater can also cause the following issues:

  • Overheating
  • Tank damage
  • Burned-out elements (for electric water heaters)

How to Fix Water Heater Popping Sounds

Flushing the tank is important in preventing popping sounds and potential damage to your water heater and surrounding areas. The process can be complex and should be performed by a professional plumber. If you have safety concerns or are uncomfortable with a DIY approach, it is best to contact a professional for an inspection and tank flush. A professional plumber has the experience and knowledge to perform the task safely and effectively.

How Professional Plumbers Flush Water Heaters

Professional plumbers have years of experience working through problems like popping sounds from a water heater, as this task is not as straightforward as simply turning a knob. Phoenix-area plumbers recommend professional services for flushing water heaters. Our highly-trained professionals follow certain steps for this issue.

When performing a water heater flush, it is important to first turn off the power source, either at the circuit breaker for an electric heater or by switching the gas setting to "pilot" for a gas heater. The next step is for the plumber to adjust the cold water lever to prevent extra water from entering the tank.

To efficiently flush out any sediment, a garden hose is attached to the drain valve and directed to an appropriate discharge location, such as an outdoor area or basement drain. Our professional plumbers open the hot water faucet and drain valve, allowing the water to flow through and effectively flush out sediment.

Upon completion, the valve is closed, the tank is refilled, and the air is released from the pipes by turning on a warm water faucet. Finally, the power source is returned, ensuring the water heater is ready for use.

How to Prevent Sediment/Scale Buildup in Your Water Heater

Regular flushing of the water heater tank every six months can prevent the occurrence of dangerous explosions or unusual sounds from the unit. A professional plumber can carry out the flushing process safely and effectively. Installing a salt-free water conditioner in the home can also help enhance the water heater's efficiency and avoid sediment buildup.

Consider Installing a Whole-Home Water Softener

Along with arranging for a yearly flush, adding a whole-home water softener system is a great method for preventing popping noises from water heaters. Arizona is known for having some of the hardest water in the country. A whole-home water softener system removes minerals from the water supply, reducing sediment buildup and prolonging the water heater's lifespan and drains.

Make Your Water Heater Last with Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Phoenix

At Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Phoenix, our licensed and experienced plumbing professionals are committed to delivering superior plumbing solutions to Phoenix Valley cities. We specialize in water heater repair and maintenance, ensuring your unit operates at optimal levels.

From dealing with sediment buildup to resolving other household plumbing issues in the Phoenix Valley area, our experts have the skills and knowledge to repair any problem. Don't let a noisy water heater or clogged pipes impact your indoor comfort. Contact us today, and let us handle your water heater maintenance and repair needs.