This is a short 15 sec video (sorry for the sideways shot!) of what it looks like when a water heater decides to fail! Shortly after the video nothing but steam came out. I had to quickly run out to the garage and turn the power off to the water heater (this was an electric water heater). Apparently the thermostat on the heating element failed as well. It would have been just a matter of time before the TPR valve would have opened(hopefully opened!).
The brown color was coming from all of the sediment that had built up in the bottom of the tank over the past 13 years. The sputtering and air sounds are coming from the water heater running out of water because it was so hot and the water was turning to steam inside the tank due to the failed thermostat.
If you ever have this occur at your home, chances are the water heater will need to be replaced.
Scott Patterson has been a professional home inspector since 1995 and works out of the Greater Nashville TN area. You can contact him at his office 615-302-1113 or on his cell at 615-870-4162 via text or voice.