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Our water tank is in perfect condition however we had a drip from our air conditioner that was falling on our hot water heater in one specific area that we were unaware of. once we realize what was happening we did make it so that no more water dripped on the hot water heater. However there is some corrosion where the metal has started to flake up at that site. It is not near any of the metal pipes on top And I know it was from the air conditioner. however I’m concerned because overtime it seems to be getting worse, possibly from damp air In the garage. Does anyone know of a product I can use safely on a water heater to keep it from getting any worse before it does damage my water heater?

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Traditionally, wire-brush down to bare metal, apply an effective primer, and overcoat, if desired, to match coloring of the heater.

There are also conversion coatings that might slow the rusting, such as phosphates and (poisonous) chromates. Some are sold for use on automotive sheet metal. However, unless all looses rust is removed by wire brushing, these would likely fail to protect.

That said, though the exterior of a water heater is not subject to great heat, and might seem to be mostly for appearance, it keeps flue gases containing carbon monoxide (CO) from entering the house. Be very sure that any rusted-through area is completely sealed, perhaps with flue or chimney cement. Have a service technician check for any CO leakage after repairs. In any event, you should always have a CO detector installed in your living space.

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