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gas water heater questions

9 years ago

I have a 7 yr old Bradford White 40 gallon gas water heater. I just noticed patina and a white crusty substance on the hot water outlet pipe. Looking at posts here it sounded like possibly it could be from the installer not wiping flux off after soddering so I tried to clean it off (as suggested) with soapy water & toothbrush. Some came off not all.
Looked at it last night and the pipe is now wet to the touch - not dripping but wet.

So a plumber is coming next week to replace that part of the pipe.

While he's there I want to have it flushed because I have never done that. There's no drain or outside access in the basement. Out of not knowing what to do and/or laziness I've not ever flushed it. I'm not sure if they'll have some kind of pump and a long hose to run it up the stairs & out the front door -- I can't imagine they would do it by the bucketful.

There is a small amount of rust on the top right under the draft vent hood (sorry to not know right terms). It's slight. I need to ask if that's normal from condensation or if it's a drafting problem and if so how that can be corrected.

Should I also have the anode tube replaced now?

My biggest question is - if there are no other problems with this water heater that I'm aware of (no rust around bottom, no issues with our hot water) would there be any reason to replace it now after only 7 years? Not to be cynical but I imagine the plumber recommending that even if it's not really necessary because of the rusting on the top and maybe a lot of sediment having built up due to not having done any maintenance on it.

If it starts to fail eventually with a leak (as the one it replaced did) I would have to hope it would be a slow leak and not something that would start gushing since, as I said, there's no basement drainage. Is it accurate that the odds are it would be a slow leak? I do have an alarm by the water heater which is hooked to my house security system that will go off if there is a leak but by the time I know that if I'm not home that would be a disaster.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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