My electric water heater sounds like a boiling kettle, only slower. Is this a problem with sediment buildup? It does not do this all the time, it only appears to do it after using hot water or when adjusting the temperature after sitting for some time.
The most common reason for boiling, gurgling or bubbling noises in electric water heaters is lime build-up inside the tank. Over time, minerals dissolved in the water will precipitate out of the water and form hard scaly deposits on the heating elements. In a clean tank, water is able to flow freely around the elements, but the lime deposits trap water against the elements. The trapped water is overheated by the heating coils until it boils, creating the noise that you are hearing. This only happens when the elements are turned on, of course. The solution is to clean (or in sever cases, replace) the heating elements. As this requires some disassembly of the water heater, this task is usually left to a service person.
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