Many homeowners don't think much about their hot water tank until something is wrong with it. If you've noticed rust on the metal storage tank, this is definitely something you should do something about, since rust can lead to one of the following problems.
If the rust is located inside the storage tank, you could have an issue with contaminated water flowing through your house. Since you cannot see the rust inside the tank, you'll likely notice it in the form of discolored water that comes out from faucets.
While it's technically not dangerous for you to consume this water, it can have an affect on clothes that you run through your washing machine, and stains that form on various plumbing fixtures. The rust could end up causing you to replace clothes that were perfectly fine before, which may be a good enough reason to have something done about the rust.
You may be surprised that your home's hot water tank made it as long as it did without encountering any rust. That's because there is a sacrificial part inside the tank that will corrode before the walls of a hot water tank, which is called the anode rod. This is a part that can eventually become depleted, which will cause rust to attack the walls of the storage tank. While it is possible to replace the rod with a new one, if you have rust in your water the damage has most likely been done.
If the hot water tank's anode rod is gone and the rust is working its way through the tank, be aware that you run the risk of having rust eat through the entire wall of the water storage tank. If this happens, all of the water in the tank could potentially dump out onto your floor. It will result in spending a lot of money to repair the damage, when you could have spent less by installing a new hot water heater.
If you have any concerns about the health of your water heater, reach out to a local service, like Scotto Services Plumbing. They know what signs to look for when it comes to a water tank failing, and it can give you a price quote for how much to replace the old tank and put in a new one. This is definitely one important appliance you don't want to take too long to replace.