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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The submersible heater in my aquarium makes a whistling/hissing sound when it comes on. Is this something I should be concerned about? Anyone know why it does this?
My guess is that as the coil heats up, something (gas? water?) expands from the heat and escapes out. This can't be good.
All my aquarium equipment is on a GFCI outlet, which I thought would be a good idea whenever there is a lot of water and electricity in close proximity. It hasn't been tripped yet!
 

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I wouldnt worry about it too much. I have a heater in my sons 25 gallon that makes a tapping sound when it comes on. Like something is hitting the glass. Its loud because I can hear it through the water. But after two years of hearing that sound, nothing bad has happened. So I thing you are safe.
 

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Whistling usually means pressure escaping. Pressure escaping means there is a leak. Leaks are not good where water and electricity meet. To be safe replace.
If it starts whistling taps it might be too late. :)

I'd replace it. But I have a thing about heaters since they can really to some damage to you or your tank's inhabitants. I've been shocked pretty good a couple of times and also had heaters stick on more than once.


SteveU
 

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I have one that makes a vibrating noise when it turns on. I guess it could be interpreted/mistaken as hissing. I don't think it's the switch... rather the coil is moving somewhere. Maybe the alternating current builds a small magnetic field that makes the wires rattle.

If it leaks, by all means replace it. You should be able to verify that if it is a glass heater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks.
This is a Hagen heater I bought over ten years ago, but hardly used since until just a few weeks prior. I think I may try bringing the top part where the plastic and glass meet above the water line and seeing if that eliminates the sound. Otherwise it is time to get a new heater.
The sound really is a sort of high pitched whistling, kind of like a muted kettle just beginning to pipe. Definitely not tapping or rattling. I also unplug before water changes (having heard the horror stories of exploding heaters).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
There are bubbles condensing on the surface of the glass, but no bubbles escaping in any way suggesting a leak. I just did a water change and moved the heater so that the top plastic bit is above the water. May be too early to tell, but I haven't heard any whistling. Although now it does make that tapping noise mentioned above. Until now I never heard that. I'll keep it under observation to see if the sound returns. Anyway, the whole system is on GFCI outlet, so I should be safe even if it failed right? Not that I want to tempt fate...

Happy New Year!
 

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I would unplug that heater let it cool and take it out to check it over. If you notice any water inside after you have taken it out and dried it off. Do you and your family a favor throw it in the trash. No sense just hoping that the GFCI trips when your hand is in there. How often do you test that GFCI?
 

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Does the sound change pitch with the amount of time that the heater is on?
If so, that would indicate a leak. If not, then it is probably something else.
Either way, I would replace the heater just to be safe.
 
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