4-Year Old Gas Water Heater Problem

I have a four-year-old gas water heater that is acting a little strange. Beginning a couple of years ago I noticed that once every couple of months I'd be the first to take a shower but the water wouldn't be very hot. In fact, I could turn the mixing valve all the way to hot and it still wouldn't be hot enough for my tastes. The next day it would be back to normal.
Fast forward to now and the problem is occurring more often. I have the temp set at "A", which I think is 130 degrees, and the water still isn't nearly hot enough. It certainly isn't as hot as it usually is. I should not be able to stand in the shower with it all the way on hot without being extremely uncomfortable.
Any idea what the problem could be? I'm obviously a newbie with this stuff so be gentle. :)
Many thanks, John
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Couple things come to mind. I think turning the temp knob LEFT makes it hotter, can't imagine why. Seems like right oughta be hotter.
Try turn the knob left one letter, and see if it's warmer the next day.
Second, if t his doesn't help, you might have a bad dip tube. Since you're asking these questions, it shows me that you don't have the plumbing background to replace a dip tube. No disrespect intended, just that your skills go in other directions.
If turning the knob left doesn't help, then it's time to call a plumber. Or a handyman that is good with plumbing. I've replaced one dip tube, and it was half hour or so work. I've done a bunch of plumbing soldering, so it wasn't all that bad.
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Neiby wrote:

Once in a while the thermostat inside the control unit can get flakey. They have a pretty wide differential to begin with (On temp vs Off temp) and any stickiness in the operation exaggerates that.
The controls are not repairable and the usual warranty on parts is only 1 year (read your warranty to be sure).
Replacement cost for the control (even if you do it yourself) is a big fraction of the heater cost, so you'd have to weigh that.
Of course, you could set it higher, but at the risk of scalding some user.
Jim
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This is Turtle.
Yes Been there and come back. I got into installing some Richmond gas hot water tanks [ manufactored by Ruud ] for my Father, My Rent houses, and a sister in law. They were cheap and sold at Sam's Wholesale warehouse and i mean really cheap. A 40 gal. gas hot water tank cost $129.00 -- 7 years ago and hey the tightwad come out in me and I went with them. One Day it would put out hot as hell water and then the next my be call luke warm at best the next day. 3 out of the 4 acted up like this and they had a 6 year warranty on parts because of being made by Ruud and sold as a second off brand. I got the 3 new gas valve thermostats thought the Ruud HVAC / Plumbing Warehouse where i have a account at. Now the 4 th one never acted up at all. All of them are still running 7 years old or so now and no trouble yet.
Now look on the tags on the hot water tank or the paper work and see about how long the warranty is on all parts. If the warranty is out on the gas valves. Well buy a new hot water tank for the thermostat gas valves are High.
TURTLE
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