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My hot water tank has a lot of corrosion on both hot and cold water connections on the top of the tank. Also, it looks like the water is causing the top of the tank near an inlet it looks like the tank is breaking down from the corrosion.Some of this corrosion is blue. Also, every time I was my hair I get intensive itching to the point where it really gets to me. I can't stand to have my hair even touch my skin because it immediately itches. I have been to the doctor where he hadn't been able to determine why I have this itching. Could there be something in my water that is causing these problems? What could it be? Can it be fixed?

  • Call a plumber, and have then install a new tank. – Tester101 Dec 20 '14 at 19:26
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Typical water heaters/tanks do rust out over time, especially if the sacrificial anode isn't replaced periodically. If yours is failing, get it replaced. You'll probably get better fuel efficiently from the new one too -- and you can almost certainly improve efficiency if you want to spend more and switch technologies. (I switched to a highly-insulated, stainless-steel "indirectly heated" tank which is warmed by a loop from my high-efficiency boiler; NOT a cheap investment but unlike typical water heaters it comes pretty close to being a one-time cost and it does reduce gas usage.)

Whether that has anything to do with your itching, gods only know. Medical diagnosis is out of scope for this discussion.

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My house has copper plumbing. Right after moving into the house, I noticed the (electric) water heater had some discharge out the temperature and pressure (T&R) relief valve. The cause seemed to be a corroded thermostat, so I replaced both thermostats. A few months later, the problem returned and again the thermostats were somewhat corroded—certainly way more than they should be almost new. Further investigation revealed corrosion around the heating elements and at the pipe connections to the house. And all the visible pipe joints, and later, all the pipe joints up to the first sink.

The problem turned out to be a partially failed heating element which leaked 70 or 80 volts to its casing. The water heater was not successfully grounded. It looked to have been at one time, but fixing the ground blew the breaker, so presumably whoever's problem it was decided to leave it ungrounded. Well, the pipes were acting as ground and the heavy current was corroding the tank and pipes. It took 2+ years to turn into a problem, but a problem it was.

To repair, I could have replaced the offending heating element, but with all the damage, I replaced the tank/heater and all accessible pipes. A year later I had the wall open and replaced the rest of the pipes, many of which were in much worse condition than those by the tank. I took advantage of that access to run a water line to the far end of the house which didn't have any outdoor faucets.

At least one purveyor of water treatment products says rust in water causes:

  • hair feeling dry, brittle and weighted down.
  • hair lacking shine.
  • can cause dark hair to tint darker and blonde hair to turn orange.
  • can inhibit the proper processing of perms, color, highlights, and relaxers/straighteners

If the first claim is true, it is easy to understand how rusty water might cause scalp itching.

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