The Tank › Deep humming noise on ignition
- January 22, 2009 at 3:32 pm #10430
We just had a seven year old AO Smith (Gas fired) water heater replaced (it rusted out) with an American Standard 50 gallon heater about 2 weeks ago. The new water heater makes a deep humming noise that lasts 2-5 seconds upon ignition. The noise stops and is not present after ignition. We have had the company that put the heater in come out twice now, first a plumber who said he didn’t know about it, hadn’t heard it before, then today by a heating guy who said he had heard it before but didn’t know why it did it. I apparently am the first person who has even brought this concern up to the company, a local one that is fairly large. He called American Standard while here and they said it will make that sound everytime. Is this true? Has anyone else heard of this? I am having a hard time believing that no one else contacted them about a similar situation if their new water heater started making a sound the old one didn’t?January 22, 2009 at 7:22 pm #10431
American Standard is a relative newcomer to the residential water heater market, so we have had very few posts regarding their tanks. But if you actually asked them and they said it’s normal, I think that’s the end of it. Water heaters are not all made exactly alike, so another brand might well act differently. You might ask them what makes the humming, though. Then you’d feel better about it.
Randy SchuylerJanuary 22, 2009 at 8:33 pm #10432
thanks Randy, I actually did ask and they didn’t provide a very good answer, pretty vauge really, something about the burner, or maybe air movement??January 23, 2009 at 3:29 am #10434
Hello: Random thoughts. Contact the manufacturer of the gas valve, rather than the tank manufacturer. They could have greater experience with function of their valve. Also, it might be useful for you to know the incoming gas pressure, as it could be part of the problem. Do let us know what you learn 🙂
Yours, LarryFebruary 2, 2009 at 6:33 pm #10521
I contacted the distributor of the water heater here in my town and finally heard back today. They contacted American Standard. The email they received basically said it makes that sound, we don’t know how to stop it, we’re not the only ones who are having this problem, also said AO Smith and American are having similar problems with the noise. Something to do with new Low Nox Levels they have to achieve.
Should I have them get another brand? Which ones would be recommended?February 3, 2009 at 12:18 pm #10534
We may all simply soon be stuck with humming if this is a NOX issue. Low-NOX heaters will probably soon be required around the country.
Randy SchuylerFebruary 3, 2009 at 1:18 pm #10535
well that sucks then as the noise we are having is very loud. Can hear it upstairs, and unit is in the basement. I am still having a problem with the fact that no one else seems to have this problem. I didn’t see any other posts about this problem, certainly if it were a loud noise others would be at least concerned about it.February 3, 2009 at 8:42 pm #10541
It may indeed be that only you have the problem and they’re giving you the runaround, but the low-NOX heaters are a new item. First Los Angeles required them, and now, it appears, everybody else is going to do so, too. I hear they’re both more finicky and more expensive. Thanks, Federal Government…..
Randy SchuylerFebruary 3, 2009 at 11:32 pm #10543EjParticipant
Your sound is caused by the burner. There are two things you can try to fix this. The corrugated gas line that runs from the burner to the thermostat can be moved around . The easiest way to do this is to disconnect it at the thermostat then reconnected it letting the line twist slightly while tightening. Second suggestion would be to remove the burner and spread apart the back support clips. If this doesn’t work call and order a new burner. Tell them your has a very loud humming noise and it is keeping the neighbors up 🙂February 4, 2009 at 3:57 pm #10554
Well, I talked to the plumbing company again. Seems they have been getting a few calls about similar problems since I have called, about 3-4 they said. I quizzed them at length about what other options are available. Apparently they switched from AO Smith, which they used to install, due to problems people were having with a ceramic screen over the ignitor that would plug up with dust, lint, pet hair, and they would get called out every few months to clean the screen off. It seems there are only 2 or 3 water heater manufactorers, and so most of the other WH’s around here are the AO smith type (Rheim, Ruud, Kenmore, etc). They offered to put an AO Smith in if we wanted. Trying to decide which is the better of two evils, annoying noise or the possibility of pilot light going out and needing a service call. Maybe I should investigate tankless?February 4, 2009 at 10:38 pm #10560
Hello: This is a test, rather than a fix. When the unit is running, slowly turn the gas valve in the gas line. If the noise goes away with a smaller flame, you’ve verified it is created at the burner as Ej says. It could still be high gas pressure, but that would need to be measured.
Jumping to tankless has it’s own caveats that must be kept in mind if domestic tranquility is to be maintained 🙂
Yours, LarryFebruary 4, 2009 at 11:09 pm #10561
Thanks Larry, I will give that a try.
*********Update, I tried the gas adjusting, didn’t seem to help unless the gas was almost shut off. I also got an odor of gas when I lowered the valve *(toward off). Not sure what that meant. In fact, the noise almost seemed louder when I closed the valve more.February 5, 2009 at 2:13 am #10564
Hello: I’m relying on Ej here. Time to tell the heater folks your neighbors are being kept awake 😯
Do feel the gas hook-up to see if there is a strong vibration being transmitted through the line. Sorry it’s not going to be an easy fix as I’d hoped.
Yours, LarryFebruary 5, 2009 at 7:53 am #10565EjParticipant
If your burner has you gas mixed with the air at a jet in the front of the burner door then try what I suggested. One of those solutons has work for me with over 100 repairs. In this case you can’t turn down the gas pressure because the low pressure gas will lazily drift out of the injection port.February 20, 2009 at 7:03 pm #10785
Just to update the situation. After talking to another plumber, who recommended I have a RUUD water heater put in, I contacted my plumber supply and told them I wanted a RUUD, so they set it up. When they arrived they had a Rhiem instead of a Rudd but I thought they were essentially the same so the guy put it in and we have had quiet water heating ever since. The plumber who was there (hadn’t been to the house prior) did say he hadn’t heard any of the American standards he had put in make a noise as loud as our had. Apparently they took it back to their shop to see if something was wrong with it but I never heard any more about it (it has been one week). I still am not sure why they didn’t offer to put a new AS in to see if it was just the one we had originally.
Anyway, thanks for all the help and advice. It was useful. Great site.
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