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Old 10-17-2013, 07:19 AM   #1
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Hot water shortage


I have a natural gas hot water heater that was installed in 2009 and, in the last few days, I've noticed a shortage of hot water (as if we have a 5-gallon tank instead of a 50). After doing research online, it sounds like the dip tube has come off or deteriorated and I will need to call a plumber to get it fixed.

Not long before this started to happen, we had plumbers in the house to install a new main valve and do plumbing work in our kitchen and master bath, both of which are being totally renovated. After they left, we noticed a lot of air in the system with water shooting briefly out of bathroom faucets, etc. Could the air have dislodged the dip tube? It seems odd that the tube would deteriorate or fall off on a four-year-old heater.

Is there any other cause we should be investigating? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 10-17-2013, 08:52 AM   #2
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Hot water shortage


There could be a couple of different things going on. I don't think the air would dislodge the dip tube unless there was a manufacturer defect with it.

Your initial assesment is correct about dip tubes. That's always a possibility. I believe 1993-1996 there where a lot of bad ones out there.

If it's deterioating (at 4 years old, not very likely) there will be signs of white pieces of plastic in your arerators. Check all your fixtures. When you flush the hwh tank, look for it there as well. Only way to see if it came off would be to have your plumber pull it and check.

IMO, it should still be under manufacturer waranty. I would start there and give them a call and save yourself some money.

Are all water pressures good? What kind of hwh do you have? Thanks.


Last edited by jmon; 10-17-2013 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:07 AM   #3
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There could be a couple of different things going on. Have to troubleshoot a little more. I don't think the air would dislodge the dip tube.

Your initial assesment is correct about dip tubes. That's always a possibility. I believe 1993-1996 there where a lot of bad ones out there. Some other things to look for other than having your plumber pull tube and check it are; White pieces of plastic in your arerators. When you flush the hwh tank, look for it there as well. At only 4 years old, that's a stinker. Should still be under manufacturer waranty. I would start there and give them a call and save yourself some money.

Are all water pressures good? What kind of hwh do you have?
Thanks for the advice. The water pressure seems fine. The heater is a Rheem Guardian Fury 50 gallon with a manufacture date of 10/09. I just removed the sink aerator from a nearby basement bathroom and there are very tiny white specks in it. I haven't checked any other faucets yet.
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:16 AM   #4
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Hot water shortage


Before diving into a dip tube, I'd look at the work the plumbers did and eliminate any possibility of pipes being crossed.
Loss of hot water could be contributed to faucets or tub/shower valves too.
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:45 AM   #5
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Hot water shortage


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Before diving into a dip tube, I'd look at the work the plumbers did and eliminate any possibility of pipes being crossed.
Loss of hot water could be contributed to faucets or tub/shower valves too.
Thanks. That's interesting. I felt the cold water line leading into the hot water heater and it is warm (not hot like the outgoing hot water line), but I assume that's the normal heat being conducted upward from the tank. The lines in our kitchen and master bath are currently capped off, and are turned off in our powder room. However, we notice the problem in our two guest baths (second floor and basement) and in our first-floor laundry room.

I called Rheem and discussed the problem with them. From what they told me, it could be a faulty dip tube, but I will have the plumber check the lines before he opens up the heater.
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:36 PM   #6
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Hot water shortage


Sounds good longislander, investigate a little more and let us know what you find out. Thanks.
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Old 10-17-2013, 05:54 PM   #7
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Hot water shortage


check the bottom tank drain off with a hose to the outside if that has the same pressure as the cold water off the faucets. their might be a build up of minerals around the copper to steal fitting where the hot water exits the top of the tank..have you lost pressure on all the hot water faucets... hot and cold should be close in pressure..flipping them back and forth
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:03 AM   #8
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Hot water shortage


The plumbers told us the hot and cold are mixing because the contractor installed a new shower valve in our (under renovation) master bath and left the plug in there instead of installing the cartridge. They say it can affect the water temp throughout the house. The tiling's not done yet, but they said it would be perfectly fine for the contractor to insert the cartridge and, thus, restore our normal flow of hot and cold water.

Still, thanks to all for your suggestions.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:12 AM   #9
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Hot water shortage


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Before diving into a dip tube, I'd look at the work the plumbers did and eliminate any possibility of pipes being crossed. Loss of hot water could be contributed to faucets or tub/shower valves too.
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Originally Posted by longislander2 View Post
The plumbers told us the hot and cold are mixing because the contractor installed a new shower valve in our (under renovation) master bath and left the plug in there instead of installing the cartridge. They say it can affect the water temp throughout the house. The tiling's not done yet, but they said it would be perfectly fine for the contractor to insert the cartridge and, thus, restore our normal flow of hot and cold water.

Still, thanks to all for your suggestions.
Excellent advice from "E", he nailed it right on the head. Thanks "E" nice job.

Glad everything worked out for you longislander. Thanks for sharing your experience with the forum.


Last edited by jmon; 10-22-2013 at 05:53 PM.
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