Water heater defect or simply have evaluated by a licensed plumber??

Hello all,
Bradford White 40 gal. gas water heater natural draft about 8 yrs. old.

With the combination of issues listed below would you list this water heater as a serious issue/defect or simply defer it to a plumber for evaluation?

There was so much soot and rust on the top of the burner that it was affecting/obstructing the flame. The flame was blue with some orange. Some of the flame was diverted downward.

I also noticed staining around the exhaust port at the top of the unit just below the vent hood. Never saw this before. I checked the seam (top of the water heater outer shell and heater vent) with a combustible gas detector which indicated the presence of gas/unburnt fuel. Being this seam is right under the vent hood any unburnt gases would still likely go up the vent pipe. I did check around the outside of the hood with a combustible gas meter which didn’t detect anything at the time.

There was also a dark stain in the osb subfloor directly above the water heater (water heater is in the basement). The stain tested 1 to 2% higher than the non stained area when checked with a moisture meter (not sure if this is related).

At the very least I am planning to recommend further evaluation.
Your advice is appreciated!

Tim Brooks 112.JPG

Tim Brooks 105.JPG

You already evaluated it! It’s breaking… replace it!

Since the WH was Manufactured in Oct 2004, now almost 9 years old, I would report it as near the end of it’s expected life and budget for replacement. They just don’t make 'em like they used to, and most manufacturers don’t warranty them past 9 years… why should you???

Good point Jeff. Thank you!