Most appliances make at least a small amount of noise during operation but some noises can sound more concerning than others. Does your water heater make a ticking sound when the appliance turns on or during operation? The timing of the noise can help you determine the cause and a potential solution. If you can't narrow down the problem, call in a plumber or water heater repair company for diagnostics and repairs.
Ordinary Sound of the Ignition System
Water heaters, whether powered entirely by electricity or a combo of gas and electricity, rely on an ignition system that lights a burner to provide the heat to the water. The ignition system itself can make a slight ticking sound during its normal course of operations.
If the ticking sound has suddenly gotten louder, or if you are experiencing disruptions in your heated water, the system could have a malfunction or a failing part. Turn off any gas supply to the unit, if it is a gas unit, so that you don't have any potentially dangerous gas leaks while the ignition system is acting up.
Call a plumber or water heater repair company to examine the ignition system for any defects and to correct the problem. You don't want to mess around with electricity or gas with that much water involved if you don't know what you are doing.
Mineralization Inside the Water Tank Floating Around
Does the ticking sound seem to come from within the tank itself? You could have mineralization within the water that is floating loose and banging against the walls of the tank. The mineralization is so small that the banging sounds more like a ticking.
The interior of the tank has an anode rode that attracts mineralization so that those minerals don't stick to the outer wall of the tank and start to cause erosion damage. Anode rods can become full over time and require replacement. If you don't know the last time your rod was replaced, you can either follow the maintenance instructions in your owner's manual to replace the part yourself or call in a plumber to do the work.
If you do know the anode rod was recently changed, check your maintenance records for the last time you conducted a full-tank drain. The tank should be drained at least once a year to remove any minerals or sediment that didn't attach to the anode rod.
You simply need to turn off the power and the water supply valve to the unit, hook a garden hose up to the drain valve, and open the valve with a screwdriver. Wait until no more water comes out of the hose, close the drain valve, unhook the hose, then restore the electric and water supplies so the tank will fill back up.
For more information, contact professionals like 2 Guys Plumbing and Heating Inc.