Air Conditioning Experts Blog : Archive for the ‘Plumbing’ Category

Potential Problems with the Water Heater’s Dip Tube

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Have you noticed that the water coming from your hot water tap is tepid at best, and runs out quickly? There are a few reasons this can happen, and one of them is problems with the dip tube inside the storage tank of your water heater. You may not even be aware of a dip tube or what it does, so we’ll explain more about it below.

What Is a Dip Tube?

All water that enters your water heater storage tank is cold; it is heated at the bottom of the tank by combustion or electricity. To ensure that the new, cold water doesn’t mix with the stored warm water, a slender, long tube is attached directly to the cold water inlet. This tube is the dip tube, and it forces all new, cold water to the bottom of the tank so it can be heated and rise to the top of the tank for use in your home.

Potential Problems

There are several common problems that can develop with dip tubes that can affect the temperature of your water:

  • Cracks – when there are cracks in the dip tube, the cold water will escape and mix with the hot water stored in the tank.
  • Breakage – sometimes dip tubes break off, leaving a broken piece free inside the storage tank. This results in the incoming cold water mixing with the hot water, so your water will be tepid at best.
  • Disintegration – a defective dip tube may disintegrate inside the tank. This will affect your water temperature and you may also see pieces of white or gray plastic coming through faucets or trapped in faucet aerators.

Defective Dip Tubes, 1993-1997

The vast majority of dip tubes manufactured between 1993-1997 were made of a defective plastic that became brittle from the constant exposure to the hot water in the storage tank. So, if you have a water heater that was manufactured during this time period, you may have a defective dip tube to contend with. You can check the date of manufacture yourself by looking at the first 4 numbers of your water heater’s serial number; the first two numbers represent the month of manufacture and the last two numbers represent the year. If any of the last two numbers in this sequence are 93, 94, 95, 96 or 97, you may want to have a professional check your water heater’s dip tube.

If your water is tepid, or you are seeing pieces of what plastic coming from your faucets, call Air Conditioning Experts, Inc., and make an appointment for water heater repair in Atlanta.

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