Our water heater is less than 3 years old and I am starting to hear small particles bouncing around inside what the thing is heating up. Our old water heater never did this and was 22 years old both were gas and we have a water softener. I thought I remembered that they took out the magnesium rod on the original one since we had a softner. Is this true? Could that be the problem?

  • Did they put anything in in place of the rod on the old water heater? Is there an electrical outlet near the water heater, for that matter? – ThreePhaseEel Apr 28 at 22:01

The "bouncing around" that sounds like particles inside your heater is the expansion or contraction of the copper piped inside your heater. If you go to a local plumbing & heating shop, many have a "cut out" of the inside of a water heater. That may give you an idea of what's going on, as well as asking the dealer about the clicks & ticks.....


Likely the sound you hear is "bumping"; boiling in debris on the bottom of the heater. A steam bubble forms in the debris then collapses. The debris provides an insulating layer to prevent hot water from rising naturally by convection. Flushing the heater should reduce the problem. There is a valve at the bottom of the tank for flushing . The heater information probably recommends occasional flushing. I turn down the thermostat , connect a hose to the bottom valve , run it outside and open the valve for a minute.

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