People are not generally aware that a hot water tank needs flushed out on a regular basis. They are not difficult to flush and the advantages are well worth the trouble. Sediment in the form of minerals, such as calcium and iron, build up inside the tank. Even trace amounts of minerals in your water causes tanks to have a build up along with dirt, sand, gravel, or grit.
When the water company flushes their lines or you turn your water off, you may notice the water is brown when you turn it back on. This also happens when no water runs through the lines for a week or two. The brown colored sediment can also build up in your hot water tank. This build up of materials cab take up space thus leaving less room for your water and can also cause the tank to become corroded.
If the hot water tank rusts through the metal, it may cause a lot of damage and lead to leaks. The resulting water leak can damage floor coverings and the floor if it leaks for any length of time. Flushing out the tank makes it last longer and allows it to run more efficiently, saving money on energy costs. If you do not flush the tank, it can make a good home for bacteria.
Those noises that crop up when the house is quiet, like a popping or cracking sounds, is possibly your hot water tank telling you it is maintenance time. Once every two or three years is common, depending on how many minerals your water contains. If you leave built up sediment in your tank for long periods, it can harden in the bottom and clog the drain valve or rust the tank out.