Hot Water Heater Sediment

Have a hot water heater that is only producing about 1 foot of hot water in our tub and then it is turning cold. Was told that you could possibly have the sediment drained out. Is this a good idea or more cost affective to just replace it? Is this something you can do yourself?
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Your "dip tube" has disappeared. It costs $10 at the local hardware store. $10 for a plastic tube or $300 for a new heater? If you're remotely handy with plumbing, you can replace the tube. it goes down in the cold water inlet side; it carries the cold water all the way to the bottom. Without the tube, you get the effect you are experiencing - incoming cold water mixes with the hot at the top of the tank.
But, trying to get the sediment out is not a bad idea. Just be prepared for the drain cock to break, as they are made of the cheapest plastic known to man. Also easily replaceable.
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Albert wrote:

If that is it there is little you can do now. If you had drained the sediment every month or two since new that would have likey prevented it. How ever it may be a few other things.
Gas or electric? If electric you could have an element out. It may also be a dip tube.
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How old is it? I replaced my 12 year old because the relief valve was dripping; wasn't worth investing more in a heater that would have to replaced soon anyhow.
It costs nothing to try to drain it, but if you have significant sediment and have never drained it, it is probably hopelessly clogged.
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Thanks for the replies. It is gas, and have no history knowledge of it since we recently moved in and adopted the hot water heater.
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I suspect the dip tube has fallen in. If you're good with plumbing, replace yourself. Otherwise, call a plumber, or a handyman friend.
I've replaced a dip tube myself, in and out in about an hour. And the part did cost ten bucks at the hardware.
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I'd think dip tube is more likely the problem.
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Christopher A. Young
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1 foot of hot water in a bathtub is a lot of water. What temp is the output water of the heater? What temp is the water in the tub? Turning up the heater thermostat may solve your problem.
What kind of water do you have? Hard or Soft? How old is the heater (Look on it for a date)? Flushing it could help, but if it has enough sediment to reduce the volume significantly, it is on its last legs.
I'm not an expert in this, but I would expect that a bad dip tube would cause the water output to gradually cool from the beginning of use, rather than holding temp until most of the hot water is output, due to the mixing of the hot water in the top of the tank with the cold water entering. Try monitoring the temp of the water from the tank as it empties to see if this is the case.]
Bob
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wrote:

Yes it is. Maybe the previous owners always took showers. If they didn't take them one right after the other, the water heater might have had enough for all their showers.

Yes. Don't go above the temp that is considered unsafe if you use hot only, but I forget what that is.

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You should be able to tell how old it is by info on the unit. Many times there is a date. If not there should be a serial number and if you give the help line at the manufacturer a call, you can find out how old it is. Since it's gas, if it's 10+ years old, I probably wouldn't waste time screwing around with it and just get a new one. Somewhere around 13 years is typical lifespan, but it can vary a lot depending on local water. You neighbors can be a guide to expected life.
If it is sediment that is causing the problem, you aren't going to flush it out at this point. Flushing may help if done periodically, but if it's full of crud, it isn't going to just flush out.
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On Sat, 28 Jul 2007 11:55:35 -0700, Albert wrote:

I was told to drain the hot water tank once per year.
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