4 Eco Services, a local plumbing, heating and air conditioning service company, advises homeowners to schedule a safety inspection of their water heater.

4 Eco Services General Manager Mike Paredez explains that, “Water heaters during this time of year start to make unusually loud noises. This is due to extremely low water temperatures. As outdoor temperatures drop, so does the temperature of water entering the home’s plumbing system. When this happens, the water tank rapidly contracts — similar to how you tighten up after jumping into a pool of cold water.”

Cold water rushing into a hot tank will often cause a rumbling noise. This is usually a sign of a water heater that needs maintenance. Inside the tank, mineral deposits are breaking away from the protective glass lining, or the metal tank wall, and taking a little of the glass lining, or even some metal, with it. As this continues, the tank wall weakens and deteriorates, causing leaks. The water heater will need to work harder than usual to reach the desired temperature setting, causing it to condensate more and make a dripping sound that will be heard in the burner area of the unit. 

When the water heater takes longer than usual to heat cold water, thermal expansion increases and exposes an underlying issue with the pressure in the home’s plumbing system. This can cause fixtures to leak. In addition, the T&P relief valve may drip out of the bottom of the discharge pipe, during heating or shortly thereafter. 

Paredez says, “It’s important to not dismiss these noises and activities around the water heater as they can lead to costly water damage. At this time of year, if you’re hearing noises from your water heater, then you need to schedule a safety check.”