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What To Do When Your Water Heater Exhaust Pipe Is Making Noise

Do you hear a weird water heater noise and have traced the problem to the vent pipe? If your water heater exhaust pipe is making noise, you should fix it quickly to avoid further complications.

As a trusted professional plumber in Milton, MA, Green Energy Mechanical Inc. can keep your water heater working and your family safe and comfortable. If you don’t like the noises coming from your water heater’s exhaust pipe, call us for help.

What Is the Water Heater Exhaust Pipe?

The water heater exhaust pipe transports exhaust gases from the hot water heater outside your home. While electric water heaters don’t require ventilation, if yours burns natural gas or liquid propane, it needs ventilation to keep you safe from carbon monoxide.

The system includes an exhaust fan and either a duct or pipe that leads outside. After the vent pulls in the combusted air, the fan can vent the water heater exhaust by forcing it outside.

Most Common Exhaust Pipe Noises

If your water heater exhaust pipe is making noise, it’s most likely one of these six problems. Each noise can indicate a different issue. While intermittent or infrequent noises aren’t a cause for concern, if the noises persist, you should call a professional.

1. Rumbling

If your exhaust pipe is rumbling, it most likely means you have sediment building up in your tank. Sediment most often accumulates in homes with hard water, but any property can experience the problem. 

Sediment buildup can cause inconsistent water temperatures, increased energy bills, and more severe damage to your device. In addition to your water heater’s tank, your vent pipe can also accumulate sediment. A professional can flush your system to restore it to full working order.

2. Popping

While popping is another symptom of sediment buildup, it can also mean you should replace your anode rod. This rod, usually made of magnesium or aluminum wrapped around a steel wire, attracts rust that would otherwise corrode the tank. Over time, it corrodes and requires replacement.

Your water heater technician can easily replace the anode. If you have an aluminum one, ask them to replace it with a magnesium rod, which, despite the higher price tag, helps prolong your water heater’s lifespan.

3. Sizzling

Does your water heater sound like an egg hitting a frying pan? In a gas water heater, the sizzling noise occurs when internal condensation drips and hits the burner. Your water heater shouldn’t have internal condensation, so this means you likely have a leak somewhere in the system, which may require a new water heater.

If you hear the sizzling from your exhaust pipe, the leak could result from a loose connection or a defective temperature pressure relief valve, which doesn’t usually require you to replace your entire water heater.

4. Ticking and Creaking

Ticking and creaking occur naturally when hot water runs over copper pipes, causing expansion. The pipes also tick when the hot water flow stops and the pipes revert back to their normal size.

However, while the sound is natural, it shouldn’t occur every time you use the hot water. Turn down the temperature of your water and see if that helps. A lower water temperature also helps delay sediment from building up.

5. Singing, Screaming, or Screeching

If your water heater sounds like a tea kettle, it likely indicates a malfunctioning valve somewhere in the system, which causes pressure buildup and, eventually, greater damage to your water heater. If you hear the noise coming from your exhaust pipe, it’s most likely an issue with the temperature and pressure relief valve.

6. Hammering or Banging

Does it sound like someone hammering on your pipes when you turn on the hot water? This means pressure is building up somewhere in the system. While not always a cause for concern, if it occurs too often, it can burst your pipe.

Try turning your water off more slowly to give the pressure time to adjust. If the problem persists, a professional can install an automatic shut-off valve to prevent pressure buildups.

Contact Green Energy Mechanical Inc. When You Need Water Heater Help

If your water heater exhaust pipe is making noise, Green Energy Mechanical Inc. can put your fears to rest with quick and expert service. Whether you need help igniting your water heater’s pilot light or keeping your family safe from carbon monoxide, we’re here to help with prompt and professional service.

We work hard to keep our prices competitive and remain available 24 hours a day to quickly solve plumbing emergencies. To schedule your appointment, call 781-236-3421 today.


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