If your hot water heater is having problems, there are things that you can do yourself before calling a plumber for water heater repair or thinking about replacement. Here are some things that one can do when the water heater starts having problems.
Water Heater is Leaking
Often water heaters will leak at the pressure relief valve if the water temperature is set to high. Simply lower the temperature a bit and see if that solves the problem. You should also check all the plumbing connections to and around the water heater. If you find water coming from the bottom that is rust colored, then the tank is probably leaking and you will need a new one, as water heater tanks can't be repaired.
Rust-colored water means that the anode rod has stopped functioning properly. The anode rod prevents rust from gathering inside the water tank. Fortunately, the anode rod is easy to replace, and replacement rods are available at the nearest supply store.
If the water coming out of the faucet exudes an undesirable smell, it only means that there is a bacteria buildup in the tank. In order to combat this problem, the water must be flushed out of the tank and be filled with 2 pints of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution (assuming that the tank can handle 40 gallons of water). Let the solution sit for two hours before refilling the tank with water.