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Jun 08 2024

Why Is My Water Heater Hissing?

Water heaters, once a luxury, have become an indispensable part of modern living, providing the hot water necessary for various household tasks. Despite their essential role, these appliances often go unnoticed and unmaintained until a problem arises.

One common but concerning issue is a hissing noise from the water heater. Understanding the root causes of this sound and addressing it promptly is crucial for maintaining the efficiency, longevity, and safety of your water heater.

If you’d rather have a uniformed plumber investigate the problem, then call Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air to schedule a convenient appointment today. Our team is on standby to take your call today.

Reason #1: Sediment Buildup

Sediment buildup is one of the most common causes of hissing noises in water heaters. Over time, minerals in the water accumulate at the bottom of the tank, which is particularly common in areas with hard water. As the heating element warms up, it can cause these sediments to boil, creating a hissing or sizzling sound.

Reason #2: Water Leaks

A water leak within the tank or in the surrounding pipes can also produce a hissing noise. When water leaks onto the hot surfaces of the heater, it instantly vaporizes as it makes a hissing sound. This issue often indicates a significant problem that requires immediate attention to prevent further damage.

Similarly, condensation can form on the tank during the heating process, especially in cold climates or with a new water heater. This condensation can also drip onto hot surfaces, causing a hissing noise. While typically less concerning, persistent condensation could indicate other underlying issues.

Reason #3: Pressure Relief Valve Issues

The pressure relief valve is a safety feature designed to release excess pressure from the tank. If this valve is malfunctioning or if there is excessive pressure buildup, it can cause a hissing sound as steam or water escapes.

In this case, the hissing sound is a sign that the safety feature is working as it should by releasing excess pressure. But if this hissing persists, then it is advisable to call a plumber for water heater maintenance.

Reason #4: Faulty Heating Element

A damaged or corroded heating element can lead to uneven heating and create a hissing noise. This problem often accompanies other symptoms, such as insufficient hot water or fluctuating water temperatures.

The Consequences of Ignoring Hissing Noise

These are just some of the potential causes of hissing noise, but any cause is reason for investigation if the noise persists. Ignoring hissing noises can lead to a host of problems including, but not limited to:

  • Reduced Efficiency: Sediment buildup insulates the heating element and forces the water heater to work harder to heat the water. This inefficiency increases energy consumption and utility bills.
  • Damage to the Unit: Water leaks, if left unchecked, can cause significant damage to the water heater tank and surrounding areas. Prolonged exposure to leaking water can lead to rust, corrosion, and eventual tank failure
  • Potential Explosions: A malfunctioning pressure relief valve poses a serious safety risk. Excessive pressure buildup can lead to the valve failing to open properly, increasing the risk of tank explosion due to overpressure.
  • Shortened Lifespan: Neglecting maintenance and failing to address issues like sediment buildup or faulty components can significantly shorten the lifespan of a water heater.

Hire a Uniformed Plumber

Whether you need emergency water heater repair, or whether it is time for periodic plumbing service, the uniformed plumbers at Rooter Hero are ready, willing, and able to help. We are proud to serve both residential and commercial properties, so homeowners and businesses alike are welcomed to call.

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