If you’re trying to take a shower, and you get drenched with ice cold water when you were expecting hot, it’s not hard to figure out what the problem is. Your pilot light for your water heater has likely gone out. If you’re getting lukewarm water, however, the problem can be a little harder to diagnose. Outwardly, everything could seem to be working fine. Inside your water heater, however, you have a problem. Let’s take a look at what a dip tube is, and why you might need yours replaced.
The Dip Tube
The dip tube is a tube inside your water heater responsible for separating the cold incoming water from the hot outgoing water. It’s a little like a heat exchanger in that way. The dip tube is connected directly to the cold water inlet, and extends almost to the bottom of the water heater. When cold water flows into the water heater, the dip tube directs it to the bottom of the tank. Once there, the cold water naturally separates from the warm water rising to the top of the tank. This also helps the cold water to heat faster, as it is closer to the burners.
A defective dip tube will corrode and crack over time, causing cold water to disperse throughout the water heater tank and mix with the warm water. This is what causes the water to come out of your faucet tepid. So, how do you tell if your dip tube is responsible for your water heater issues? First, check to see when it was made.
Between the years of 1993 and 1997, the vast majority of water heater manufacturers were using plastic dip tubes from one supplier. The problem is that these dip tubes were highly flawed, and have a tendency to disintegrate over time. This has the added problem of scattering plastic pieces throughout the system, which can clog filters and cause damage.
If your heater was not made during those years, but you still have an issue, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling. We provide water heater repair services throughout Radnor.