We've been in our house for about six months and recently we started
losing hot water.
It would last for only about 10 mins or so then run out. We figured
that since the water heater
was somewhat old (2000) that we should just replace it. We bought
the same one, a 50 gallon GE electric water heater. After a couple
of weeks we're still seeing
the same problem, even with the 1st shower of the day. I've got the
temp pumped up to
like 135-140 degrees. That seemed to help but it not the solution.
Any ideas what else this could be? I've ordered a low flow shower
Coincidence. The GE sold by Home Depot is a Rheem. I bought one a few
years back, and it was the single worst (most trouble-prone) appliance
purchase I've ever made.
Very early in its life -- 6 weeks, maybe -- it ate its first heating
element. I replaced the first, and the other element died about six
months later. I replaced both with stainless.
I've also had unending problems with the sacrificial anode on it, but
that's another (really long, boring) story.
So, start from scratch. Google, and here:
These things are really simple, and the troubleshooting procedure is
Do the tests on the elements/thermostats.
If all checks OK, there might be a "bypass"
occurring between cold supply and hot lines.
This can occur inside a single-handle faucet
cartridge (even when OFF) or in a washing machine
solenoid valve. Less likely, there might be a
temperature compensating valve in the system.
Also, check that the heater was plumbed correctly;
Cold supply to the nipple marked "COLD". It's an
easy mistake to make and produces exactly your symptoms
when done backwards.
The latter is my thought as well, running out of hot water quickly is a
classic symptom of a lack of dip tube, which would explain the failure
of the first water heater ('cause it was old and the dip tube fell
apart) and also the continuing symptoms from the second ('cause it got
inadvertantly hooked up backwards.)
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
The heater was definitely plumped correctly. Could the bypass be in a
water control? Not sure about the element tests. It appeared
ok, but the instructions were a little unclear on the bobvila site.
gonna call rheem tomorrow and have them walk me thru it..
you could try shutting off the valves to all single handle faucets in
the house then take a shower. if the problem goes away then it's a
bypass in one of those faucets. if it persists, then try shutting off
the stop valves to the shower then run hot water somewhere else in the
house. if you have good hot water there then your shower valve is the
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
Ok, It's tough to do though because the problem doesn't happen every
My guess is it may be the shower valve, the molding is kind of loose
as well as the
lever controlling if the shower or tub gets the water...
tube. It might not have been installed, might be in the hot side, or might
be broken. I would check for it in the inlet pipe and pull it up as far as
possible to see if it is okay. If you can not pull it out very far, it
should be possible to remove the lower element and see it with a flashlight
Another possibility is that you have a leaking hot water line somewhere,
particularly under a concrete slab. That will prevent the heater from ever
heating the water hot enough, especially at the bottom of the tank. This can
be detected by the outlet pipe staying hot for a long distance from the
heater when no hot water is being used.
No, not right away. HOwever, was it even installed? It should be in the
cold water side; it carries incoming cold water all the way to the bottom.
It is not usually something that is installed at the factory. If it is
gone, the hot water at the top (heat rises) mixes with the incoming cold
water, providing exactly the problem you describe. A dip tube costs $10 or
Yes the dip tube is installed by default. But brand new products are
sometimes not put together correctly so it might be the dip tube.
Your local library will have books on home repair and maintenance. You
need to buy a voltmeter and learn to use it if you don't have one. Your
problem predates the new water heater so I suspect you have a leak, either
in a pipe or in a single handle faucet. I suspect that you bought a new
water heater when there was nothing wrong with the old one. Welcome to the
DIY Homeowners Club, we all make stupid mistakes. It's how we learn.
The GF has a similar problem on a gas water tank. Now - I looked on
the web, but did not see (or could not find) any picture of what this
dip tube looks like or how to replace it if it is broken.
Would anyone have a link to this type of information by any chance?
Here you go:
The dip tube is on the cold water inlet and carries the cold
water to the bottom of the tank. As the water is heated, it
rises to the top of the tank where it is taken out by the hot
out to the fixtures. If the dip tube is broken or missing,
cold water will be drawn out of the supply side before it has
time to be heated.
It is kind of like locating an airconditioning register too
close to a return.
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