Gurgling Gas Water Heater

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by rldev, Jul 2, 2020.

  1. rldev

    rldev Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I have searched and could not find anything. My 50 gal gas water heater frequently gurgles if I flush the toilet that is near it or run cold water in my nearby slop sink. I have soft water and flush my heater every year. I replaced the anode rod last year(nothing was left of the old one). The unit is 8 years old. It's a 12 year Kenmore Power Miser.

    I have read much about water heater noises, but nothing describes this problem. Could it be a venting problem?
     
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
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    New England
    A water heater doesn't need a plumbing vent, so once it's filled and all of the air is purged out simply by opening some valves in the home, there's not normally any air in the thing.

    Now, if you are on a well, the pump could be forcing some air into the water. Also, depending on your water chemistry, it's possible to get some outgassing that might add some to the tank, but those situations are rare. Do you ever get any gas spurting out of any faucets when you open them?

    Using cold water should not have any effect on your WH.

    While the WH burner is on, it can make some noises and those are more prevalent when there's mineral deposits in it. Small pockets in the mineral accumulation might hold some water and while the burner is on, can turn to micro steam explosions.
     
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  4. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    City water or well?
     
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  5. rldev

    rldev Member

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    Aug 24, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Sorry City water. It's technically municipal well water. Plenty of pressure. I also have water softener, whole house carbon filter.
     
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  6. rldev

    rldev Member

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    Location:
    New Jersey
    Understood, but why would flushing a toilet have any effect on a WH? I flush the toilet, the WH starts to gurgle, rumble, whatever. Thanks.
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Do you have air spurting out of your faucets sometimes?
     
  8. rldev

    rldev Member

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    Aug 24, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Not really, unless I have shut the supply down for something. There may be a occasional spurt though.
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Do you have a thermal expansion tank? Here is an idea. That tank is holding water that expanded from water heating. Somebody flushes a toilet, and that tank holding 100 psi water supplies a bit of water. Your Vulcan hearing hears the flow.
     
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  10. rldev

    rldev Member

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    Aug 24, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    No expansion tank. I guess I should install one.
     
  11. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    You didn't mention if this is a new problem or always has occurred.

    When a cold water tap is opened, the pressure on the hot side is momentary higher and the water from the hot water pipes reverses through the WH to the cold side. At the inlet and outlet connections on top of the WH there should be heat traps on both sides. They act like a check valve. The ball in them do occasional wear out and sometimes falls inside the tank. I think this is the noise you're hearing. The balls are bouncing around.

    Why this may be happening is some parts of the plumbing system is expanding such as the washing machine hoses and flex lines used at faucets. When the cold water is opened the pressure drops and these hoses collapse some pushing the water in reverse. Get a pressure gauge with a tattle tail needle and check the pressure after the water heater heats up some water without water being used. Usually overnight.

    https://www.waterheaterhub.com/water-heater-heat-traps/
     
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    IL
    Or even 10 minutes after you finish a hot shower, and then use no more water until after you check the gauge.

    That heat trap noise idea sounds interesting.
     
  13. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Many municipalities have installed a back flow prevention device at the meter location to each home. As cold water will expand when heated, the expansion occurring within the water heater will typically flow back into the municipal water main, but if there is a back flow prevention device, the water expansion will have nowhere to be absorbed and your home's plumbing pressure will rise substantially higher than the pressure within the municipal water main. This will often result in seepage from the water heater T&P valve to relieve pressure exceeding 150 psi, but all plumbing including pipes, water heater, water softener and rubber hoses to a clothes washer will continue to be exposed up to 150 psi until any faucet is opened or a toilet is flushed which will immediately reduce the system pressure to equal the incoming municipal pressure.

    An expansion tank will absorb the water expansion, thereby preventing unreasonable excessive system pressure. If your municipal pressure is normally 60 psi, your home's pressure after the expansion tank has absorbed an expanded volume may be only ~65 psi, which will again equalize to the municipal pressure once water is utilized.
     
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