Almost every home and business have a water heater. They are an essential device that many take for granted until the hot water runs out in the middle of a shower. One of the peculiar aspects of water heaters is that they sometimes produce odd or alarming sounds.

These sounds can be anything from humming to buzzing or evening banging. These sounds can be surprising at best and downright alarming at worst. The noises are even scarier if you do not know what they mean. If you hear these noises, it is essential to address them immediately. They are an indication that something is wrong with your water heater.

Early intervention is vital if you want to avoid serious expenses. This article will explore everyday water heater noises, their causes, and the ideal solutions.

Water Heater Making Humming Noise

One of the most common water heater noises is humming. This sound usually comes from the bottom of your unit. Often, people ignore this sound because it is not disruptive and sounds unimportant. However, sediment at the bottom of the water heater tank often causes this problem.

Depending on your water source, sediment may collect at the bottom of your water heater. It is not noticeable in the short run, but in the long run, it can cause severe damage to your water heater and prevent it from running effectively.

One of the best ways to stop your water heater from humming is to flush the water heater with clean water. Our plumbers can do this regularly if you want your water heater to run at peak performance. You can schedule an appointment with one of our friendly and knowledgeable plumbers to do this once a year as part of regular maintenance or per the manufacturer’s directions. This preventive step can ensure that your water heater runs effectively and prolongs its lifespan.

Water Heater Buzzing

A buzzing sound is one of the most concerning sounds a water heater makes. This sound is more annoying than a humming sound and is more audible. The culprit of this annoying sound is a broken heating element or pressure relief valve.

The heating element warms the water in the tank, and the relief valve prevents the tank from becoming over-pressurized if one or both parts are defective or non-functional.

It may be tempting to ignore this problem, but there are serious consequences. The primary one is decreased performance of your water heater. A broken heating element will not heat the water to the desired temperature, meaning no hot showers and poorly watershed dishes.

Another more costly consequence is higher energy usage. A broken heating element will not work as efficiently, so your water heater may have to run for extended periods to heat your water. This problem can significantly increase your energy bill and expand your carbon footprint.

If ignored over time, these problems can cause your entire water heater to break. As parts begin to break in your water heater, it stresses other parts of the heater. Over time this can cause a complete failure of your water heater. Postponing repairs may be tempting, but it is always more costly in the long run.

The best way to solve a buzzing sound is to have a professional plumber inspect and diagnose the problem. You should always follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions and not look at the water heater alone. Attempting home repairs can cause even more damage, and you may burn yourself.

Water Heater Noises Banging

The most alarming and annoying of all water heater noises is banging. The banging will sound like someone is on the inside of the tank hitting it with a hammer. Thermal expansion is responsible for this annoying sound.

Thermal expansion happens when the water inside the heater heats up and expands. The expansion increases the pressure on the tank’s walls.
This sound is more common in areas where the outside temperature is much lower than the heated water. If you occasionally hear the sound, there is nothing to worry about.

However, if you hear the sound repetitively, it indicates too much pressure inside your water heater. Too much stress can damage the water heater, pipes, or other plumbing system components.

The tank’s components can lose integrity if this problem is not resolved. This severe consequence can lead to leaks, cracks, or even burst pipes. Burst pipes can cause severe water damage to your home and any other appliances in the area. It can be costly to repair.

Regular maintenance and inspections by our professional plumbers in Charleston, SC, is the best way to prevent this problem. A highly experienced plumber can check on the water heater system, including the tank, pipes, and pressure relief valve, and double-check to ensure they are working correctly. Additionally, our team can assist with catching any problems early to avoid becoming more serious.

Water Heater Sounds Like Water Running

Sometimes, water heaters sound like running water. This sound is alarming because it makes you immediately think of water damage. Your water heater may sound like this because of a broken valve inside the heater. The valve is releasing water that should otherwise stay in the heater.

One of the main risks is water waste. Leaking pipes or valves can consume excessive water, leading to wasted water and increased water bills. Moreover, if left unaddressed, a leaking water heater can cause further damage to the surrounding area, such as damage to walls, flooring, or other fixtures.


Noise from your water heater may be an everyday event, but if the noises are repetitive and loud, they can signal that you need to call a plumber immediately. It may be tempting to ignore these sounds and avoid repairs to save money. Still, the costs will always be higher over time due to increased energy usage, reduced performance, and even replacing your water heater.

The best way to keep your water heater running at peak performance is to have a professional plumber from Smoak’s Comfort Control give your water heater a regular check-up. Our experts know the ins and outs of water heaters, and you can trust that you won’t deal with any long-term consequences with their help.

At Smoak’s Comfort Control, your comfort, safety, and complete satisfaction are our top priorities. Pair that with the health and performance of your water heater, and rest assured, you’ll be in good hands.

Smoak’s Comfort Control offers expert diagnosis, repair, replacement, installation, and maintenance services for conventional and tankless water heaters in Charleston, SC, and the surrounding areas.

Call us today or schedule an appointment online and keep your water heater running smoothly.