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J187 12-30-2006 08:07 AM

What else could be wrong with my water heater
I have a RUUD Water heater, approx 8 years old. Recently, the hot water started lasting less and less time. Last week, I replaced both elements and both thermostats. I flushed the heater and an ordinary amount of sediment came out. I filled the tank, put the electrical back on, and after a couple hours it seemed to be working fine again. Now, I'm getting the same problem, the hot water lasts one shower and then its warm and not so warm thereafter. What else could it be? I retested both elements for continuity, they are good.

Mike Swearingen 12-30-2006 09:39 AM

If you don't have small children in the house that could accidentally scald themselves in a tub, you can turn the new tstats up to 140 degrees for quicker recovery.
Sounds like that the temp setting now would probably be the only reason that you're not getting enough hot water.
I have mine set on 140, which is also supposed to help make dishwashers perform better.
Good Luck!

Ron The Plumber 12-30-2006 09:44 AM

Possibly the dip tube you have to pull it and to see for sure.

trollmastergeneral 12-30-2006 10:37 AM

Pulling the dip tube is probably the problem.this can be a real pain to may just want to replace the water heater if its at all old.A water heater is like a tin can with two holes in the top one hot and one cold.If you could see inside the water heater you would be able to see that the cold water comes in and goes to the bottom of the water heater.It is forced to the bottom thru a "dip tube".The hot water doesnt have a tube because hot water rises to the top.{because heat rises}Hope this helps

Christopher 12-30-2006 11:47 AM


You are describing a symptom that only the top of the tank is being heated. In order for the quick recovery feature of the water heater to function properly, the top thermostat must be set 10 degrees below the setting of the bottom thermostat.

Set the bottom thermostat to the desired temperature. If you don't know what this should be, set it to 120 degrees. Set the top thermostat 10 degrees less. The function of the bottom element is to heat the entire tank. The purpose of the top element is to concentrate heat at the outlet pipe when the entire tank has run cool.

Power will only be available at the bottom thermostat when the top element has shut off.


J187 12-31-2006 08:21 AM

Thanks, further investigation coming soon.

majakdragon 12-31-2006 12:16 PM

To check the dip-tube, remove the cold water inlet pipe. Most tubes I have worked with just "sit" in the inlet and have a flange that holds them in place. You MAY be able to stick your finger inside the tube and pull it out. Otherwise, you can take a piece of wire, bend it on the end to an ell shape and slide it down inside the tube, making sure you keep contact with the wall of the tube. Mark on the wire when the ell part leaves the end of tube. Remove the wire and see how far down the tube goes. It should go almost to the bottom of the tank. Make sure to put a larger bend on the top end of the wire so it cannot fall into the tank should it slip out of your hand.

gitnerdun 01-02-2007 04:44 PM

Also check your areators for white stuff that crumbles easily between your fingers. If you do have this then your problem is a disintigrating dip tube. You will be well ahead to replace the heater if this is the case.
Another thing, not mentioned before, is to be sure that your T-stats are pressed against the heater tank.
I say it's your dip tube.

Ron The Plumber 01-02-2007 04:47 PM

What kind of valve is in the shower?

I've seen cases where the cartridge, (if it's a single control valve) can be the cause.

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