An odd sound coming from any appliance in a home is usually a sign of concern: something isn’t working right. And odd noises coming from a water heater—especially rumbling sounds—can get people extremely nervous and concerned.
We know that a rumbling water heater sounds scary… but there’s very little chance that you’re going to have the water tank rupture on you. However, the problem almost certainly indicates that the water heater needs to have professionals take a look at it and find out what needs to be repaired. Call Eli's as soon as possible so you won’t run the risk of being trapped without hot water.
Frequently, the main reason that a hot water tank starts to rumble is that it has too much sediment along the bottom. Over time, minerals in the fresh water that enter a home, principally calcium, will settle along the bottom of the water tank. This sediment lies across the area where the heat exchanger is located, i.e. the place where the heat from the burners transfers into the water. A small layer of water trapped under the sediment will heat up, creating bubbles that will percolate up through the sediment, creating the rumbling sound you hear.
The problem isn’t the noise… it’s the sediment layer. The sediment makes it harder for the heat exchanger to warm up the water in the tank, and this will cause the water heater to become less energy efficient because the burner must run longer. This also overheats the metal of the tank, leading to faster deterioration and eventual leaking.
If sediment is indeed the reason for the rumbling sound in the water heater (there are some other possibilities) you can have the problem fixed by calling professional plumbers to drain and flush the tank. Vorhies Plumbing & Heating will make sure that your water heater is restored to its best operation.