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Vibration noise near water heater  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sat Dec 8th, 2007 09:24 pm
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lberl
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We're having a loud vibration coming from the area near the water heater AND there is hot water running through the faucet in the bathroom our "mother-in-law" room. The mother-in-law room is a very nice living area that was converted by a contractor from our garage, and is not some slipshod nailing up of 2 X 4's and paneling with the outline of a garage door still showing, but I digress.  The mother-in-law room is now about 5 years old and the water heater was replaced then.

My wife spoke to the hot water heater manufacturer who said we may have a problem with the anode rod causing this.  This seems to me to be a very unlikely and unusual recommendation (replace the anode rod) since the primary purpose of the anode  is to "sacrifice" itself for the water heater to avoid rusting out the main shell.

Do you have any ideas, or is this a legitimate recommendation for a repair?

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 Posted: Sat Dec 8th, 2007 09:45 pm
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elenano
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I very much doubt if an anode could cause a vibration and I'm moderately surprised that a manufacturer would suggest that, unless it's just an ignorant tech. Anodes are firmly screwed into the water heater and there is no mechanical activity as something corrodes.

You don't, by chance, have a recirc pump attached to that heater, do you? When pump motors start to fail, they get noisy.

What do you mean that there is hot water running through that faucet? If you can't get it to close, that's probably a faulty faucet

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Sun Dec 9th, 2007 12:32 am
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eleent
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Hello:  All sorts of things (other than anodes) can make vibration sounds.  Heat trap nipples, pressure reducers, loose flat rubber washers in faucets and check valves come to mind.  If you can control the noise by closing valves, you'll be a little closer to a solution ;)

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Sun Dec 9th, 2007 05:02 pm
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lberl
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Thank you and I agree with the anode rod analysis.  We called the manufacturer again and this tech agreed that the problems should not be anywhere near related to the anode rod.  They've now told us to drain all the water from the heater and pour in one gallon of vinegar, let stand for one hour then drain and refill.  Guess we'll give it a try first.

Thanks again!

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 Posted: Sun Dec 9th, 2007 05:58 pm
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elenano
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Now they think it's a sediment issue! That doesn't make any sense either. Sediment makes noise, but not vibration. You'd hear snap, crackle, pop when the heater is firing. Of course, if that's what you're hearing, then it IS sediment.

I hadn't thought of heat trap nipples, like Larry did, but that is a possibility. One of the types has a ball in the nipples that is prone to rattle sometimes and that can be broadcast all over the place by the pipes.

Maybe we should ask: does this occur all the time, or only when the heater is heating?

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Sun Dec 9th, 2007 08:35 pm
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lberl
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Glad I found this site.  Thanks for the info.  The noise happens early in the AM or in the PM when the outside air is cold (we live in a cool/cold climate but not freezing this time of year).  It happens whenever you turn on the hot water to the bathroom nearest the hot water heater only (the location of the mother-in-law room).

It's not a snap, crackle, pop but definitely more of a vibration and once the outside air warms up, no more issues until occasionally at night with the onset of colder temps.  We don't use the hot water much at night, mostly in the AM and that's when it's at the noisiest.

Looking forward to your response and thanks again!

 

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 Posted: Wed Dec 19th, 2007 12:44 pm
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TomF
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You called it a vibration and yet you have not been able to locate the source? If it's indeed coming from the area of the tank, what have you got to lose: pull the anode rod and inspect it. After 5 years it may have self-destructed and need to be replaced anyway.
 
Assuming an electric water heater (?) maybe one of two elements has split and vibrates when (very cold) water is moving past it, i.e. it has a crack that widens when cold.
 
Can't imagine why cleaning would help, but cleaning after 5 yrs is a good idea too while you're making holes in the thing! ;)

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