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Old 02-13-2013, 07:08 PM   #1
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Water Heater starting to go?


This may be a stupid question, but here goes....

We've noticed that in the past couple months our water heater (from 2004) doesn't seem to be retaining hot water. We have it set to approx. 120 degrees (just above the normal setting on the dial), but if it goes a period of time without being used, there's a decent drop in water temp.

Periodically, I've been filling a coffee cup with hot water from the tap and taking temperature readings. We recently went 48 hours without using hot water, and when we checked it, the thermometer was reading 100 degrees. Today we went 12 hours without any significant hot water usage and it was 110 degrees. The heater is firing up as new water is running in to the tank, but when I've tried just turning the dial, it doesn't kick on until I get to the maximum hot setting.

Is there something simple I'm overlooking?

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Old 02-13-2013, 07:14 PM   #2
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Water Heater starting to go?


Can you give a little more info on the heater? Manufacturer, gas or electric, natural or power vent, etc,

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Old 02-13-2013, 07:18 PM   #3
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Water Heater starting to go?


GE Gas heater, natural vent. 30 gallon, 30K BTU
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:51 PM   #4
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Moved to plumbing forum.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:27 PM   #5
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You may never get the temperature at a fixture that the water heater is set at, multiple reason distance from water heater to fixture, type of faucet, faucets with bubblier aerators. sediment build up on the temp probe, and a few more someone will bring up. anything over 10 years old i would consider changing. gas water heaters tanks tend to take more of a beating than and electric models, i don't like G E products not sure who is making them for G E these days, i will never buy one and install it for a customer and if a customer has one i make sure and put on my invoice that if the water heater has any type of a problem after installation and needs to be removed to get exchanged we will have to charge them for the 2nd installation, i have installed in the last 3 years 2 GE water heaters from home depot that leaked the store tells the homeowner just bring it back, well give you another one,, see what i mean. now if i supply the tank and it leaks i bill the manufacturer for the second install , customer pays nothing extra,
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Last edited by Javiles; 02-13-2013 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:35 PM   #6
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Water Heater starting to go?


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Originally Posted by Javiles View Post
You may never get the temperature at a fixture that the water heater is set at, multiple reason distance from water heater to fixture, type of faucet, faucets with bubblier aerators. and a few more someone will bring up. anything over 10 years old i would consider changing.
I understand that....my concern is that this has just started happening after being in the house for quite a while.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:55 PM   #7
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I understand that....my concern is that this has just started happening after being in the house for quite a while.
Hard to pin point without trouble shooting it, Thermostat ??? Dip tube???
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:58 PM   #8
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Water Heater starting to go?


Could be something as simple as a bad faucet cartridge....
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:18 PM   #9
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Water Heater starting to go?


Sounds like sludge build up on thermostat well not giving true reading
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:22 PM   #10
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Water Heater starting to go?


How long is quite awhile. years, or less then a year. If this is your first winter. it may be that your pipes are that much colder that it requires you to run your hot water longer before the pipes are hot and not absorbing as much of the heat from the water.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:33 PM   #11
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Water Heater starting to go?


I think we share the same problem. Within the last few months I've noticed that my hot water runs out quickly during showers. Reading up on this lead me to believe that it may be the dip tube in the water heater. Today I found pieces of off-white debris in the water inlets on my washing machine. This also makes me think that the dip tube is disintegrating and needs to be replaced. I haven't attempted the repair yet but will update when I do. Check out this video for a good explanation of dip tube replacement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fnQE...rwmCVnTrLioIvA
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:29 PM   #12
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Water Heater starting to go?


Sometimes the heater does not kick on properly but once you start using water it works okay.

About half an hour before you take a shower or run the dishwasher, go down and turn the temperature dial up a few notches and then turn it back to where it was. If nothing happens then the water should be hot enough.

I do not recommend leaving the dial in the maximum temperature position.

I don't know why this happens but you can think about replacing the gas valve and aquastate (inside-tank thermostat) assembly or even replacing the whole heater.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:14 AM   #13
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Water Heater starting to go?


I am not a plumber but have a similar situation at home. This has been going on since I installed my new water heater. I don't see this as a problem but just think it is the range of the thermostat. The thermostat may have a 20 degree swing from when it fires up to when it shuts off. For example it may not fire until it reaches 100F and turn off at 120F. Depending on when you get water in that cycle depends on what temperature it is.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:02 AM   #14
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Water Heater starting to go?


Release the T&P into a cup and measure the temperature from that, any reading from a faucet can't be considered accurate, especially if it's a single handle style.

When the hot supply lines are filled with water after being drained some of the sludge built up on the walls will flow with the water. This often gets stuck inside the faucet cartridges which then reduces the flow of hot water and gives people the impression that the water isn't as hot as it used to be.

Whenever I deal with an issue of "water not as hot as it should be", only about 5-10% of the time does it have anything to do with the heater.

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