When the bottom of the water heater tank has hard water build-up, water gets trapped between the minerals and the tank. The water heats to the point of boiling and begins making rumbling and popping noises. Those noises are tiny explosions of superheated water bursting through the hard water minerals and coming into contact with the cooler water. When this happens the heat exchange rate from your burners to the water is obviously becoming very poor. To put it into perspective; For every 1/2" of sediment sitting in the bottom of the water heater tank it is using 70% more gas to heat that water. Your tank will not produce as much hot water as quickly which leads to colder showers and the bottom of your water heater tank is being overheated which is shortening its' lifespan. A common complaint when this is happening is that there is not enough hot water so you end up turning the water heater temperature up. It is now costing more and more to heat the water and a burn/scald risk is created.
Most of the time nobody wants to even think about spending money to repair or replace a water heater but they don't think about what it may cost them to do nothing. If your water heater caused a flood you may have up to $25,000 or more in damage when a simple repair or replacement may have only costed around $100-$700.
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