||10-19-2007 01:37 PM
The popping noise in the water heater is from the build up of sediment in the bottom of the tank. When the burner fires, the water between the tank and sediment will reach nearly boiling, and it's the lifting action of the water popping through the sediment that you hear. Check out this bulletin
from A.O. Smith
Will flushing the tank take care of it? probably not...most likely the sediment will be nearly solid almost rock like and will not drain out. As the bulletin suggests, it you needs to be dissolved with an acid. It wouldn't hurt, but I doubt it will fix it either. You will however experience tank failure it could be in 2 years could be 10, but it will go bad. I would get in the habit of visually checking the tank frequently and/or get a flood monitor
if you basement is finished.
With the water heater being 9 years old...and you don't want the hassle of worrying about flooding...replacement would be a viable option as well.