What To Do When Your Water Heater Is Screaming Hot (Literally)

Let’s set the scene: You start a hot shower and before long it sounds like something is screeching from the water heater. One on hand, you shouldn’t panic because this is a relatively common plumbing occurrence. But on the other hand, it’s not something you should ignore. On top of being annoying, a noisy water heater could just the tip of the iceberg, and if not fixed, it could lead to a bigger, more costly and dangerous problem.

Causes of a noisy water heater

The most common reason for your hot water “screaming” when in use? The water heater is under pressure. Every water heater has a safety feature called a pressure relief valve that opens and allows hot water to pass through when the pressure levels exceed a certain point. When it’s working properly, you may not even know that the pressure relief valve is activated – other than some standing water at the base of the water heater.
The problem really occurs when the pressure relief valve does NOT work as intended. If the pressure valve is stuck or faulty for any reason and is unable to open, the pressure will build within the hot water tank with nowhere to escape – creating the high-pitched noise that you hear.

Why too much pressure is dangerous

While the noise itself is a nuisance, it can lead to major problems that might make you want to scream if left undiagnosed. If the pressure builds up inside the tank and it can’t be released, eventually something bad is going to happen. This could be the water heater leaking, cracking, or the worst-case scenario, exploding.
That’s why it’s so important that you don’t ignore a water heater making a screeching sound.

Water heater repair experts

As with any appliance in your home, safety is always the top priority. If you notice a screaming sound coming from your water heater, don’t plug your ears and go about your day. Instead, call the professionals at Rick’s Plumbing. We can diagnose the issue, replace the pressure relief valve if necessary, or recommend another solution. To schedule an appointment, call us at (203) 874-6629.