I found the rusty and drip on burner, please refer the pic. My question is: will it leak soon from the rusty place? It's really scare me when I saw it. And, the water heater is almost 20 years I think.

Thanks, and appreciate your answer.

enter image description here

  • Is there water in the tank now? Is it being used presently?
    – ojait
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 4:14
  • @ojait yes, the tank has water, and be used presently. btw, I drained the tank yesterday.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 16:01
  • when draining did you notice chunks or hard water silt in the run-off. Did the draining water appear slowed by blockage inside the tank?
    – ojait
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 1:42
  • that was slow, but it went ok after turn off and off the drain valve multiple times, which means the blockage was able to flush eventually. And, yes, saw some small sediment during the drain. @ojait
    – Brian Z
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 2:56

1 Answer 1


Water Heaters that you can purchase today usually have a warranty from the manufacturer. I think the average warranty is about 6-8 years. You can find ones for 8-12 years, but you will pay much more.

You can estimate fairly accurately the life-span of a water heater by looking at the warranty. This is not always true, but it's a good way to get reasonable life-span.

I believe any water heater that makes it past the 10-12 year mark is close to replacement. There are the rare ones such as your's, that should be included in the Guinness Book of Records. And although you may get some more years of service out of it you would be wise to start considering a replacement.

Looking at your photo the rust means that water has already leaked on the bottom. There is also sign's of pitted metal which means the water has been there for awhile. If it's not leaking alot now than it will be in the near future.

Yes. It's time for a new water heater.

  • 1
    However, the rust could also be due to condensation from the pilot light flame. That said, it does seem to be likely to leak sooner rather than later, perhaps in a week or it could last a few years more. Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 4:22
  • yea, I'm thinking about replacing a new water heater, but it's not cheap. Some plumber asked around $1700 for that. not sure it's a fair price.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 2:59
  • In southern California (USA) I paid $800 for a 40 gallon gas water heater with a 12 year warranty bought at Lowes store. It took me 3 hours to remove the old and install the new with a helper.
    – ojait
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 3:20
  • yep, I checked some video from youtube which looks pretty straightforward. But, I did it before, I scare mess up the installation which may cause a life risk issue, haha. I do think pay 1000 for a plumber doesn't worth that, but may not have another choice for me.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 4:59

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