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
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.
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.
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.
I suspect the dip tube has fallen in. If you're good with
plumbing, replace yourself. Otherwise, call a plumber, or a
I've replaced a dip tube myself, in and out in about an hour. And
the part did cost ten bucks at the hardware.
Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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.]
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
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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