There are few things worse that running out of hot water in the middle of your shower. If you notice that your hot water is not lasting as long as it should or if you are getting tepid temps from your faucets, it may be time to investigate your dip tube. While hot water problems can be caused by a variety of factors, a bad tip tube is the most common culprit.
What Is a Dip Tube?
Nearly all water heaters have a dip tube. It is a long plastic tube that connects to the cold water inlet and stops about eight inches from the bottom of the tank. The purpose of the dip tube is to direct incoming cold water to the bottom of the tank, as this allows the hot water to be readily available at the top near the outlet while the cold water is heated by a gas burner or electric heating element at the bottom. Without a dip tube, or one that works properly, the cold water can mix with the hot water as it makes its way out of the tank. This leads to lukewarm water when you are really demanding hot.
What Causes a Bad Dip Tube?
There are two common reasons that a dip tube goes “bad” or fails to do its job:
- Normal wear and tear
- Just like other components of your water heater, your dip tube has a limited lifespan. Newer models may last up 10-12 years. However, if your dip tube is older, it may also act as an anode rod and thus have a shorter lifespan. If your dip tube has aged, it may be the reason why you can’t get enough hot water in your home.
- It’s defective or made between 1993–1997
- Dip tubes that were made during this time frame were commonly fabricated with low quality polypropylene plastic. This may render them defective because they may break down or disintegrate sooner than they should. A deteriorated dip tube certainly can’t perform its job of separating hot and cold water in the tank. You’ll know that you have a 1993-1997 dip tube if you see the numbers between 93 and 97 in the 4th and 5th digit of your water heater’s serial number.
- In addition to experiencing lukewarm or cold water temps instead of hot, you may also notice tiny plastic particles (usually white) that may be clogging your faucets. This is evidence that your dip tube is decomposing and needs to be replaced.
Call A Professional for a Replacement Dip Tube
Your answer to longer and better hot water could be as simple as letting a professional plumber replace your dip tube. While it isn’t a complex task, it should be done by an expert. A professional will need to flush the water heater first to eliminate any lingering disintegrated plastic particles. At Metro Septic and Plumbing, we are fully qualified to service, repair and replace all types of water heaters. You’ll find that we offer honest and affordable rates when it comes to replacing a bad dip tube. Let us fix your hot water problems today!