Gas Hot Water Heater Making Whining Noise


Hello Everyone,
My gas hot water heater is making a high-pitched whining noise in the evenings. This has happened two nights in a row at about 7pm. No water using appliances had been used, nor had anyone in the house used the shower or tub in the hours before the noise. The first time it happened, I turned on the hot water in the kitchen, and the sound stopped. I thought that was a fluke but tried it again last night. Sure enough, the sound stopped abruptly as soon as the water in the kitchen got warm after I turned it on.
Does anyone know what the cause of this might be and if it is dangerous? The water heater is about 7 years old and it was pre- installed in my manufactured home that was built in 2000.
Thanks in advance for any help, Kim
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snipped-for-privacy@agalis.net wrote:

City water supply?
It could be very high water pressure, especially if there is no thermal expansion tank.
7 years is average heater life in some areas. It is possible that there is a pinhole leak in the tank. If you don't see any evidence, the leak could be in the central flue where you won't see it.
Next time it happens, check to see if the burner is on. That may rule in/out gas as the cause. Sometimes the pilot burner can make oises, but running the water should not affect the pilot.
Jim
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Yes, we are on city water. And, the floor around the water heater is dry.
I don't know if I have a thermal expansion tank - I'm really not educated when it comes to this type of thing. So, I guess my main concern is if its a potential safety issue.
I will check to see if the burner is on next time it happens - if I can find it LOL.
Thanks, Kim
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snipped-for-privacy@agalis.net wrote:

Look carefully to see if there is a little dribble coming out the TP valve (Temperature & Pressure on the side near the top of the tank with as pipe going down almost to the floor. You might even try touching it to see if you can feel the sound. I could be building up too much pressure in the tank due to no pressure release and too much pressure in your home.
It also could be build up of deposits on the bottom of the tank. As noted in some areas 7 years is a good life for a tank. It depends on the local water conditions.
The pressure issue can and should be addressed. A weak TP valve is easy and cheap to replace. Not much you can do after the fact about the build up. That usually means it is time for a new heater as would any actual leak.
--
Joseph Meehan

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I just did a tested the TP valve, and it it releasing pressure (I can hear water draining out of the pipe connected to it). There is no leak, not a dribble. I also just checked all of the connections I can see for leaks and I do not see any.
So, would you think the TP valve is weak if it works quickly and properly to relieve pressure?
I'm a little concerned about needing to replace it since all the paperwork states that this hot water heater (http:// waterheating.rheem.com/oem/catalogRes_detail.asp?id!) is designed specifically for MF homes. So, I'm not sure I can go to Home Depot and just purchase any correctly sized HW heater.
So, when do I know if it needs to be replaced. When it explodes, starts leaking, or stops providing hot water? I certainly don't want to wait for option A to happen.
Thanks again for the replies, Kim
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snipped-for-privacy@agalis.net wrote:

OK you found the problem, but it may be one of two problems. It may be the TP valve itself, I am sure it can be replaced and it is likely a standard valve, but I really don't know. But it may also be doing exactly what it was intended to do and the pressure or temperature is going to high. Do you have a drain valve? If so try to find someone to loan you a pressure gauge that fits it and find out what the pressure is in that tank. Also can you hold you hand in the hot water coming out of the kitchen faucet?

--
Joseph Meehan

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snipped-for-privacy@agalis.net wrote:

An additional note. Don't force that drain valve open if it you have not been draining the tank on a regular basis. They use such cheap valves on most tanks that they tend to break easy. Not a fun thing to have happen.
--
Joseph Meehan

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I've learned alot about my water heater today and am posting what I've discovered in case anyone else reading this thread is having the same problems.
First, this HW heater is not available at Lowes or Home Depot, because it is designed for MF homes and has a direct vent. Apparently this makes it harder to find. Both of those stores recommended going to a plumbing specialty store, which likely means a higher cost to replace.
But, I called the folks at Rheem, who are the makers of this HW heater, and they said that the sound I'm hearing is probably related to thermal expansion. They recommended installing a thermal expansion tank. They also said that I should have a drain and flush done on the HW heater. So, I guess if the sound keeps happening, I'll be calling a plumber to do these things soon.
Thanks for the help, Kim
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On 2 Mar 2007 10:04:50 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@agalis.net wrote:

What are MF homes? Surely you don't mean profanity.
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wrote:

I expect he means "ManuFactured".
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Oh, ok. That's cute or wierd. I wonder if you can get Manu Homes of Factured homes.
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wrote:

manufactured is my guess.
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snipped-for-privacy@agalis.net wrote:

Is it blue? If so, it's probably pining for the fjords.
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Kim,
Here is the best info on water heaters that I have ever seen. Especially read the part about flushing and checking the anode.
http://waterheaterrescue.com /
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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