If you can post the MDL # and brand of the hot water heater may be able to help. Pull the outside cover off the water heater and look at the bottom left for a black toggle switch behind the gas tube. If it has one switch it on and turn the gas off. That should be the hot water electric switch.
Take a look at this link for postion of switch.
Can't help for the paint, other than I use to use a product for faded paint and it worked great. It was called liquid Glass. 2 part cleaned and wax. worth every dime.
Also welcome to the forum, you will find alot of info and alot of GREAT people willing to help here.