However, these noises are an indication that the water heater needs maintenance in order to function properly. Giving your water heater the attention it needs on an annual basis will help you extend the life of your appliance.
Reasons Your Water Heater Makes Popping Noises
Water heaters make popping noises when minerals build up in the bottom of the tank. These minerals are brought in by hard water. Although sediment and minerals in the bottom of the tank do not pose an immediate threat to the water heater, a big buildup of sediment can block the heating elements in the bottom of the tank.
When this happens, the water heater must work harder and longer in order to heat the water in the tank. This causes your hot-water heater to use extra energy and cost you more money. Eventually, this extra work may cause your water heater to fail.
Solutions to the Problem
The best short-term solution to this problem is to drain the water heater. This can be done by a professional plumber or by a confident DIYer.
However, draining your water heater with frequency can get tiring. In addition, hard water can create other problems in your home. Scale buildup can clog pipes and fixtures, creating plumbing problems over time. The best long-term solution for a hard-water problem is installing a water softener.
Information About Water-Heater Draining
If you've never drained your water heater before, give yourself a few hours to get this project done. Start by turning off the cold-water supply and the water heater. Next, turn on the hot water in a sink in your home. This prevents a vacuum from forming in the pipes. At some point, the hot water will stop running from the faucet even though the spigot is open. This will happen when the water drains from the heater.
Next, attach a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the tank. Run the other end of the hose to a bucket. Turn on the spigot at the bottom of the tank. The water will drain out of the tank and into the bucket. It will appear to be dark and dirty. Don't touch the water, as it will be very hot. Fill the bucket, and then dump the water into a drain outside.
Continue to fill the bucket with water until the water from the heater runs clear. When the water runs clear, this means that all the sediment has been drained from the water heater. Finally, detach the hose from the spigot, turn on the water supply to the heater, and wait for the heater to fill.
When the tank is full again, the water will start running in the sink of the faucet that was left on. When this happens, it is an indication you can turn on your water heater again. Performing this task once annually or as soon as the heater starts making noise will help extend the life of your water heater.
Know When to Replace Your Water Heater
Typical water heaters last about 10 years. If your water heater is already very old and has never been drained, the heating elements inside the tank may already be damaged, and the sediment inside is likely to be hardened.
Look for signs of water-heater failure and know when to replace the appliance. Corrosion on the exterior of the tank, rusty water in your pipes, and water leaking from the tank are all signs of imminent failure.If you see these signs of damage, it's time to get a new water heater. To replace your water heater or to order a water softener for your home, contact a licensed plumber in your area.