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Loud bang from water heater


Shawn
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Hi from Michigan! [^] My 30-gallon Kenmore water heater is three years old. Last week it started occasionally making a noise it's never made before: a single, loud, metallic bang about two seconds after shutting off. It's done it maybe three times in the past week. Does this seem to you like something dangerous or unsafe? Oh, and if it's any help, the first time it made the noise was just a couple of hours after some workmen were up in the attic above the water heater, so I'm wondering if the noise could be related to something they might have moved or dislodged up there? A couple of servicemen I called said they didn't think it was anything to be concerned about, but I find it strange that it never made this sound before last week but has done it at least three times since then. Any ideas you have would be welcome, and I really appreciate you taking the time to reply!

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Originally posted by Shawn

Does this seem to you like something dangerous or unsafe?

Impossible to say from a distance, but if my gas water heater started doing that I'd be concerned. I'd call somebody.


Oh, and if it's any help, the first time it made the noise was just a couple of hours after some workmen were up in the attic above the water heater, so I'm wondering if the noise could be related to something they might have moved or dislodged up there?

There's nothing up there but the vent pipe, which is a possible but rather unlikely candidate.


A couple of servicemen I called said they didn't think it was anything to be concerned about, but I find it strange that it never made this sound before last week but has done it at least three times since then.

Ask them to put that in writing, or better yet, move in with their families for a while. Gas appliances are generally safe, my house is full of 'em. But they can be very, very dangerous if malfunctioning is just the wrong way(s). Gas goes boom. Whatever it costs to have it checkout and fixed (or even replaced) is a bargain compared to the worst-case scenario for you and yours. Get it taken care of.

Brian G.

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Drain the tank and check for sediment. I have hard water and when the sediment builds up it takes a while for the heat to get to the water and then after the burner shuts down the water contacts the hot sediment and percolates for a while. I just pretend I'm at the ocean. My wife pretends that I'm handy and insists I go clean it. Sigh.

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Originally posted by Konrad

He says it's three years old. How likely is it that there's enough sediment in there to cause this?

Plus it all started rather suddenly, went from silent to a loud bang in one jump. Wouldn't sediment start small and ramp up over time?

Brian G.

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Well, I had someone out today to look at it. He turned it on and off a few times (and of course the sound didn't happen while he was there) and said the same thing as the two contractors I spoke with previously-- there's no danger and no immediate need to replace the heater. He said he thought it was probably the baffle (in the flue) making the single bang sound when the unit shuts off. He said he made a service call to someone else for the same reason yesterday and also told them it's not dangerous, just a sign the water heater is getting old or hasn't had proper maintenance/draining sediment etc. and that it's fine to wait until you actually "need" to replace the unit before shelling out the cash for a new one.

The water heater is actually 4 years old, not 3, I doublechecked the records on that.

And Les, I'm in Macomb County (north of Detroit).

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