Water heaters can make a variety of noises, from harmless trickling sounds to loud pops. The most alarming sound, though, is when a high pitched screech comes out of the heater. This noise generally only happens when you are using hot water, such as when taking a shower or washing the dishes. The following guide can help you determine the cause and find a solution.
Every hot water heater is equipped with a pressure relief valve. Pressure builds up inside the tank as the water is heated. The relief valve is designed to open when pressure builds up so that the hot water and steam can move through the line harmlessly and relieve the pressure inside the tank. If this valve fails, the pressure instead begins to build up inside the tank, where it will seek any outlet possible. The result is the high-pitched screeching noise that you hear when the hot water is running. A valve can either fail to function completely or it can become stuck. Both issues result in the same problem with excess pressure inside the tank.
In most cases, a single high-pressure moment will not cause major damage to your tank. Repeated exposure to high pressure, though, will eventually lead to cracks or leaks in the water heater. When this happens, you will need to deal with the water damage from the leaking tank as well as purchase a new water heater. In a worst-case scenario, the tank may not simply crack or spring a leak but instead explode due to the high pressure inside. An exploding water heater can cause extensive property damages, and in some cases, it may cause injury or even death to anyone nearby.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to the problem. You will need to have the pressure valve inspected so that it can be repaired or replaced, as needed. For the sake of safety, stop using hot water as soon as you hear the screech, then call in a plumber to assess the valve. Once the valve issue is addressed, your plumber may also adjust the temperature in your tank. For most homes, the water temp should be set no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is high enough to kill most bacteria but low enough to avoid burns and excessive pressure in the tank.
Contact a residential plumbing service if your hot water heater begins making an alarming noise. A quick repair will both keep you safe and prolong the life of your water heater.
For more information, reach out to a local residential plumbing service today.