Constant clicking in Water heater... help!!!

The water heater in my home is about 5 yrs old. It has started clicking constantly in the last day. Seems to be functioning fine, but has a loud, steady clicking. As best I can tell, its coming from somewhere near the top. When the water is shut off, it stops. In reading this group, it sounds like I may have a valve problem? It does sound like a small metal ball bouncing around inside the CPVC pipe. Can anyone help?
thanks!! Randy
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Rex wrote:

It *is* a small ball bouncing around! The heater is equipped with "heat traps". These are short nipples on top of the heater with a nall check valve inside to prevent the hot water from "migrating" up the pipe when no water is being used. It's a conservation measure.
Do a GOOGLE for: "Heat Trap" nipple
Jim
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