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enter image description hereMy gas water heater wont heat until I turn it up to nearly all the way to the maximum temperature, indicated with letter "C" in the image. If I turn it down lower than "C" the gas flames stop and the water never heats up. I also noticed some rust on the top of the heater. What are my solutions to make the heater work at "A" level of temperature or is there any best practices out there to maintain this gas heater which has serial number "..1998" probably the year it was manufactured.enter image description here

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The rust on your water heater and the cracking of the top surface is indicative of another problem.

Your thermostat might be broken, the heating element (where the gas is actually ignited to heat the pan) might be broken.

Just looking at the unit and the rust and given you have this other issue I will suggest you replace the unit, because if you are not a professional in the industry that can be very dangerous for you. Working with Gas is highly dangerous even for professionals.

That said the cost of a service person to come look at the issue and the cost of any part to repair the unit you might be looking at $200-$400. For that kind of money you can buy a unit have it installed.

You did not say where in the World you are located so if you are in the United States...

Many states have rebate and credit programs, some local municipalities have rebate and credit programs and lastly even your gas company might even rebate and credit programs, the gas company might even install the unit for free (after all they would not want you to use an electric Water heater for the next 20 years would they ?)

You might be able to end up with a brand new , highly efficient unit for the price of the servicing to fix your unit.

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    Some municipalities also provide discounts when replacing an old inefficient unit with a newer more efficient unit. – ratchet freak Mar 19 '18 at 12:01
  • Current prices for a 50 gallon gas water heater at the big box home improvement store near me is around $700. They are a lot more expensive than I remember and installation isn't cheap either. Not saying this heater shouldn't be replaced, but it's going to cost a lot more than $400. – JPhi1618 Mar 19 '18 at 14:13
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    This heater should be replaced before it fails catastrophically. Looks like the flexible supply lines should also be replaced. Entirely too much corrosion on the right hand supply line (hot?). You should also replace the cut-off valve if it is an old style "gate" valve. If it is a "ball" valve then probably it is OK. – Jim Stewart Mar 19 '18 at 14:57
  • @JPhi1618 I have seen them for $500 and up searching online only of course as I have been shopping for one myself. With all of the rebates and credits that might be available you can get back $300 to $400 on a unit that might cost $800 to $1200 and gas companies sometimes make sweeten the deal. In the long run even if the op buys a unit outright with no rebates or credits $700 out of pocket is a good deal considering this unit will probably fail terribly with in 6 mos to a year (why spend $400 on a repair and then $700 in 6 mos to replace it). I think op may end up $4to500 with new unit. – Ken Mar 19 '18 at 20:30
  • @Ken, yea I haven't researched rebates, so that makes sense. I just know I was surprised by how expensive they have gotten. The last time I needed to buy one they were much cheaper. Agree that OP should replace. That thing is ancient and crusty. – JPhi1618 Mar 19 '18 at 20:33

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