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Thread: Water Heater temperature

  1. #1

    Question Water Heater temperature

    I have a gas powered 40 gallon AO Smith water heater that is about 8 years old. It is not maintaining hot water temperature, as it used to. The pilot light is not the problem. I have raised the "thermostat" a couple times. Is this a symptom of a failing water heater? Is it just the heating element and can that be replaced? If I have to replace the water heater, what price should I expect to pay, including installation?

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    Perhaps you got in on one of the last heaters with bad dip tubes. It would be worth checking the tube to see if it is broken off. Replacement is easy and inexpensive if that turns out to be the problem.

  3. #3
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    I have a gas powered 40 gallon AO Smith water heater that is about 8 years old.
    Pilot light... Element... ?????
    Darn I'm getting confused...
    Is this a gas or, electric water heater?

    Well If it is a little older than 8 years and is from 1998 or, older the dip tube is a possibility.
    Can you post the first 3 digits of the serial number.
    Last edited by Redwood; 04-09-2009 at 03:03 PM.

  4. #4

    Red face Water heater temperature

    No - it's my confusion and ignorance. It is a gas fired heater, and I guess it,therefore, doesn't have a heating element! I also don't know what a dip tube is and/or where to look to see if it is broken. Thanks for your reply.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    Hot water rises...a WH takes the hot water out of the top. Normally, the inlet comes in from the top. If you didn't do something, you'd be mixing the incoming cold with the hot at the top of the tank. A dip tube is just a plastic tube that directs the incoming cold water to the bottom of the tank. There was a period back then where the manufacturer of the DIP tubes produced some defective ones, and after awhile, they broke apart. This causes little pieces of plastic to get caught up in your faucets and diluted the hot water so you only got a small amount out of the tank. It's somewhere connected to the cold inlet, often just a thin plastic tube with a lip so it doesn't fall through the hole.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Chicago, IL


    Here is a diagram of what the innards of a gas water heater looks like. I hope this helps with the others explanations.


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