Even though it is recommended that you replace an outdated water heater for efficiency reasons as soon as you can as a homeowner, there is a good chance that what you have already is going to stick around unless something does go wrong. If you choose to keep an older model, it is a good idea to go ahead and familiarize yourself with some of the most common issues that they can have. Thankfully, this is easy to do if you can recognize specific sounds that the water heater may make and what they could mean.

Sound: Snaps, Crackles, and Pops

If the hot water you have is popping and crackling like your morning cereal, but much louder, this is indicative of heating elements that are starting to go bad. Most older tank-styled water heaters have two heating elements inside. When these elements start to corrode and break down, you will hear a lot of unusual noises coming from the tank. Most of which will sound like pops and crackles.

Sound: Dripping Water

The consistent drip, drip, drip of water may be making you crazy, but if you cannot track down the source of the noise, it might be coming from inside of the hot water heater. The inlet water valve may have a leak that is allowing water to continue to drip even after the tank is full, or there could be a leak in the divider between the upper and lower holding reservoirs. Unfortunately, these leaks will usually mean the inner interior is deteriorating and you will soon need a replacement.

Sound: Whistles and Squeals

If you hear your water heater whistling into the night or sending out a high-pitched squeal, this is never a good sign. It means that the pressurized air in the tank is escaping the pressure release valve at a high rate of speed. This only happens if excess pressure has been allowed to build up in the tank in the first place, which can be caused by an improperly functioning pressure sensor. Cut the power to your unit and call a water heater repair professional right away.

You may have an outdated water heater in your home in need of repair. All that is necessary for you to know what is wrong is to learn how to understand the old-fashioned language it may be speaking. Talk to a water heater repair professional if you do find a problem in order to determine if repair or replacement will be necessary.