If you own a home and you have never checked out your water heater, you may be in for a big surprise. Water heaters usually start gurgling because they have had problems that have been going on for quite some time. Water heaters are appliances that seem like they are maintenance free, just like refrigerators, but things aren't always as they seem.
A gurgling sound from your water heater may only last only 3-4 seconds, but be aware that if other appliances set off the gurgling affect from your hot water tank, you may have bigger problems. The gurgling effect from your hot water heater may start when you try to run a few appliances at the same time. A good example is when you try to run the dishwasher, the washing machine, and the shower all at the same time. There are all kinds of self-help fix it web sites, but you really need a professional plumber if your water heater is gurgling.
Problems with a water heater start with sediment, which builds up at the bottom of the tank, which may also cause the water in the tank to boil when you don't expect it. This is not something that you want have happen. When you have a water heater, you want the temperature to remain consistent. This is for several reasons. First, it is important to save energy, but more importantly you do not want to get scalded when you are in the shower.
Generally speaking, if you own a home and have never looked at the water heater, you may get a break and fix it by having the tank drained. While a tank draining may save your water heater, you may want to look at buying a new one. You can drain the water heater yourself, but you probably won't see any results that will help you. A new water heater will save you on energy costs, can get you a tax break, and even improve the value of your home.