Run out of Hot water quickly: Hot water tank defective?

I have my hot water tank set to medium. I have not change the setting, but it seams we are getting less and less hot water every day. We are to the point where I don't have enough to fill my tub for a hot bath. I think the tank is about 8 years old give or take a year. Any idea?
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When I had that problem, it turned out that a hot water line had ruptured under the slab and the water heater finally couldn't keep up with the water lost.
Tom G.
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Could be as simple as a 4$ dip tube. Pull off the cold water feed and remove the tube and check it, should be about 3/4 the length of the tank.
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Gas, oil, solar, or electric?
If it is solar, could just be cloudy days. If it is electric, one of the elements may be burned out.
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Edwin,

Yeah, I was going to say that about the solar heater. We from the plumbing newsgroup run into that question all the time. Matter of fact, the local supply house is running a two for one solar water heater sale. You'd be surprized how many plumbers haven't been certified in Solar Water Heater repair. It's scandalous.
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it is gas. tx
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Sediment, drain and refill don't listen to those who say no. Turn up the stat on the HWT that's why its there. If iron pipe you need to go to L copper.
OTOH; 8 years is a very good run, get a new one before this one goes.

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dip tube
had that happen to me.,
the system normally draws hot water out from the top of the top and the cold water is supposed to enter at the bottom of the tank via the dip tube...
if the dip tube fails, the cold water enters at the top and quickly cools off the hot water that is drawn out....
Mark
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Messing with anything may cause a leak in a 8 year old tank.
I would turn up the TEMP, and if that doesnt do it replace the tank.
The thermostat probably has sediment on it and isnt responding as it should....
Look in the burner area! See all that rust? Its acting as a insulator, increasing your energy cost:(
time to shop for new tank so you know whats available
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it is very common for gas water heater to have sediment build up on bottom cause this problem. You need to purge the tank and see if it goes away.

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Around here the water is so hard draining the tank accomplishes nothing. but perhaps get the drain valve to leak
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If it's electric, sometimes the top heater element will be good and the bottom one bad. So all the hot water is in the top 1/4 of the tank, and when you take a shower or do wash, that comes off the top quickly, then you get the cold.

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Then take cold baths and learn to like it.

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same here, i always carry brass caps for boiler drains.

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CLR works great, use a flux brush.

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dip tube, just replaced one next door. see: http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/WHRpages/English/Troubleshooting/not-enough-hot-water.html
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