Water heater noise

I happen to be standing near the electric hot water heater while the dishwasher was running. Hear noise like "rattling". Something to worry about or just normal? Ideas please?
Lou
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

normal both gas and electric heaters do that as they age. you may need new heating element soon but nothing to worry about
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
bob haller wrote:

Thank You.
Lou
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
LouB wrote:

Bubbling, like boiling water.
A drain and flush of the water heater can't hurt. This will probably remove a bunch of sediment that's usually the cause of the gurgling.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
HeyBub wrote:

Lou
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

of people reply. At any rate I've read a lot of reports here of opening the flush valve and it clogging with sediment and couldn't be shut again.
And in my case, I'd had an 8 year water heater for 8 years and something was wrong with it, and before I threw it away I cut it open and found maybe six flat tablespoons of sediment in it. A half inch deep at the center of spherical bottoom. At that rate I had at least 120 years before it hit the electric element. I don't use a lot of hot water, but still. I live alone, laundry on warm, dishwasher sometimes, but I take a bath in a full small-to-medium sized bathtub every day.
Of course that means I wouldn't have clogged the drain, but there are a few inches above the drain until it gets to the element when it could clog.
I can see why sediment at the bottom would cause boiling at the bottom of a pot on a stove, and subsequent noises, but since the electric element is several inches above the bottom and above all the sediment, why would sediment cause gurgling? Not that it doesn't happen, but I don't get it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mm wrote:

Which then becomes a good excuse to replace the crappy plastic valve with a more substantial one.

Boiling bubbles do not necessarily emanate from the heating element - they are generated at imperfections in the vessels surface (possibly including the heating element). That's why "boiling chips" are added in chemical lab's distillation apparatus. Were it not for these BB-sized lumps of stone, the liquid would become superheated and erupt, sometimes catastrophically.
Anyway, sediment in a water heater is a good source of "boiling chips."
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Occasionally I hear a "chatter" about the water heater. It resembles a metal to metal sound. I figured the sound was coming from the flue pipe/heater. Sometimes maybe wind in the exhaust pipe vent?
Not enough to worry about.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Regarding the suggestion about draining \\ flushing the tank to remove sediment - my poorly designed house has the hot water tank far from any exterior walls and without a drain to the outside - there is a pressure relief valve that vents to the outside.
Would simply attaching a regular garden hose to the spigot at the bottom of the tank and running the hose to the outside for the flushing process be OK? I assume that I'd need to turn the heating element OFF but leave the inlet water ON when I flush the tank and just let it run for a while - correct?
Any potential problems with running the hot water out through the garden hose?
Also, my hot water tank is right next to the AC blower unit - there's a condensate line for the AC that runs to the outside - I was wondering about having a plumber run a drain line from the pan that's under the hot water heater to tie into the condensate line for the AC drain - how much capacity (what diameter pipe) would the condensate line need to accommodate an emergency drain line for the hot water heater?
Thanks!
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 6 Jul 2009 21:10:38 -0500, "TNSTAAFL"

To the extent the outside is lower than the inside, yes.

Absolutely. if the heating element isn't in water, it will burn out, pretty quickly I think.

Now it occurs to me that if the water is under pressure and flushing the tank quickly, instead of just draining the tank with the water intake off but 2 hot water faucets open elsewhere, like I've done a couple times, which goes slowly, there could be enough turbulence to stir up the sediment on the bottom. I don't know if that's good or bad. It gets rid of the sediment but means if the drain can be clogged, it takes less sediment, sediment less deep, to clog it.

You paid to heat that water, plus all that carbon thing. You might want to turn off the power for a day or two before you do this. You'll still have hot water for a while and rather hot water for a while after that. I live alone and I think I went 3 days before I ran out of hot water. You have to leave the cold inlet open or no water will come out, so it gradually gets diluted. Cooling without diluting, just because there is no electricity anymore, takes even longer.
But read my other posts about flushing and possible valve clogging. This has never happeend to me but also I've never flushed. Other people here say it can happen. Apparently you only heard this noise because you happened to be in the basement when someone used hot water. Is that enough to do all this for?

You have a pan under the water heater but it doesn't drain anywhere? I think I've heard of that. I may have even seen it. Maybe they always put in the pan and leave it for someone else to run a pipe from it to a drain, but you shoudl know that without a drain, it will overflow soon after the water heater starts to leak. Almost right away if the drain hole in the pan isn't connected to anything. At that point, there IS no point to having a pan. The water heater will usually leak slowly, but continuously, once it starts.
A metal pan or a plastic pan?

My friend had a condensate line that I think was 1/4 inch i.D. plastic tubing, or at most 1/2 inch inside diameter. What do you have?
The draln hole on the pan is for 2" inside diameter, isn't it? And it's the squares that matter. Pi r squared. So 1/2 inch diameter is 1/4 inch radius which is 1/16 times pi (3.14) square inches, which is 0.2 square inches. OTOH, two inches diameter is one inch radius squared is 1 times pi is 3.14 square inches. 15 times as much**. Plus there is the capacity of the pump to consider. I have no idea what that is. As I said, leaks usually start small, maybe they never start big and they never get bigger, I don't know. Find out.
**Actualy didn't have to do all that. The diameter is 2 inches is which is *four* times 1/2 inch, so the area will be four x four times as big. 16.
I "flooded" my basement when my first water heater. That is, an eigtth of an inch but it got soaked up by all the cardboard boxes and ruined them and that might have been the time it got to the next room and loosened the vinyl or asphalt tile. If it got farther it would have runined other cardboard boxes that things are stored in and the rug would have gotten soaked.
That was a time when something else had already leaked and I thought it was drying slowly, when in fact I eventually learned my basement floor usually dries out in less than a day, but this time the leaking water heater was keeping it wet for 4 days before I got suspicious.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
draing a old tank has lots of downsides, do first thing in AM.
drain valve can clog and not drain
drain valve can leak after draining. most drain valves are cheap plastic, designed for one use to drain tank at end of life.
buy a drain cover, it screws on in case you have a leak.
be prepared to relace valve or tank, a friends drain valve was stuck the handle snapped off, he tried unscrewing the valve, it broke. he ended up replacing the tank..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
bob haller wrote:

I just decided since it ain't broke I am not going to fix it:-))
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

a good decision......
you know tanks really arent worth trying to maintain.
assume a electric tank life is 12 years and costs 400 bucks, by the time the tank reaches its normal end f life a new tank probably has better insulation etc.
say you get a extra 4 years screwing around with it?
the per year cost of the tank really isnt much less, and attempting service may cause you to junk it.
if your going to service it install a new ball valve when brand new.
on electric tanks element replacement is worth it provided the tank is otherwise ok
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
bob haller wrote:

Thank you
Lou
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
LouB wrote:

It could just be the heat traps at the top of the heater. Some of them rattle at low flows.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bob F wrote:

Lou
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A short stub of pipe (on both hot & cold side, usually) with a metal ball in them. Designed to keep hot water in when there's no hot water being called for, they sometimes rattle. I've never been real impressed with this design.
I made a heat trap out of 1/2" copper pipe; it is basically just a loop and has no moving parts, no flapper valves, etc. so it will always work, silently.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bob M. wrote:

Thanks
Lou
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.