Hot Water Heater Noises

Hi, This morning I heard noises in the basement that sounded like somone russeling around! Armed with my trusty maglight flashlight I ventured to take a look. Instead it seemed the noises were coming from the hot water heater. Now, this is an older heater, but it still does it's job of heating water well.
The sounds basically sounded like water boiling, and a whisteling noise (which I thought might have been just flew gases, until I turned the temperature down and the flame turned off and I still heard it). So.. does it sound like the water was boiling? (I had the nob just a little higher then 'the normal notch') Or is there a leak? I did not see any water coming out anywhere, but wondered if a small leak could be sucking in air and making these noises? It was definately an AIR/water noise, but is it anything I should be concerned about?
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How old is it, gas, what is the water temp, Normal means nothing, do you have hard water, and Im sure you never flushed out the sediment. Probably the bottom is full of sediment reducing efficiency , it may be to late to realy flush, My unit had a foot of scale in it reducing efficiency. Depending on age start thinking about a new unit. But it may last for years.
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It's probably 8 years old? It was there when we purchased the house. It is gas. Water temp is 'normal' GA! SORRY! I haven't measured it, but can when I go home. As I stated I purchased this with the house so I don't know any history about it. I don't mind using it until it breaks, which is what I was planning on doing when I purchased the house. I'm just wondering if what I heard was a normal noise? (just some water boiling down by the flame?), or is it something more serious?
m Ransley wrote:

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My water heater makes the same noises because it is full of debris. It is 24 years old and works fine, but I am replacing it this year because the noise is annoying and must result in reduced efficiency. (and of course, 24 is old for a water heater}
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the noise is normal for an older gas water in an area of hard water & is not a safety issue.
I just replaced a noisey 10 year old unit in Tustin, CA that developed a small leak.
It had so much sediment that it would barely drain. One is "supposed" to drain a few gallons a couple time per year to remove sediment but I never remember to do it.
Bob
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Flush the tank it might help. Also when the ambient water temp falls a lot like in the winter time. It takes more to heat the water. My electric makes noises when it turns on.
When flushing drain the tank then remove the drain plug and open the incoming valve with an bucket under the hole. I place an plastic nipple in mine to keep the water under control 3/4 if I remember correctly. Better check first. The drain has small holes and when you remove it more sediment usually come out. It is not hard to do this it just take time and a little spilled water.
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I am more concerned that you are trying to heat hot water. What's up with that?
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Probably the sound is calcium deposits and stones that bounce around with water turbulence inside the tank. You might be able to flush them out if you flush the hot water heater, but they are generally harmless.
Dave
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