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Thread: Not enough hot water

  1. #16
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Goldie,

    Those measurements help a lot, particularly the shower flows. They still suggest a dip tube to me. I think the repairman is screwing you over. Make him take a shower next time and explain why five minutes or so at 2.5 gpm is all over the map and is okay. Even though the tub test shows a reasonable capacity from the tub, the showers do not. The question is why?

    Just guessing, but could it be a problem with the cartridges in the shower valves? I'm not a plumber, and from the looks of things, neither is the repairman.

  2. #17
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    It might be an intermittent problem in your heater.

  3. #18
    DIY Member WorthFlorida's Avatar
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    Smile Not enough hot water!

    Well Goldie it sounds like it is time to replace the 13 year water heater. You are on borrowed time anyway. I used to sell water heaters at Sears and I learned a lot from self taught training books and customers. The water heaters of the 90's were far better than from the 80's. It was usually better insulation and materials for the electric models. For gas units the direct vent was the biggest improvement.

    If you have hard water, it is the biggest enemy for gas water heaters. The minerials in the hard water or just normal calcium deposits from any water supply will line the inside of the tank over time. If you are on a well it will be even worse as far as deposits. What this all this sounds like to me is the tank is just full of deposits and it's acting like insulation between the burner and the water. Therefore, you no longer have 40 gals but maybe 30 gals of capacity with less heat being absorbed by the water and most of it up the chimney. When the burner is on and you hear a gurgling sound you definitely have deposits at the bottom of the tank. The gurgling is water boiling between the deposits and once the small bubble of steam escapes it condenses back to water. You should try to drain the tank. When you open the drain valve (the water is shut off and temp set to off), and water does not flow out of it, it is plugged with minerals’. Poke a small screw driver into the valve to clear it and if you ever get water flowing, drain the entire tank, and then open the water valve to flush the tank and shut it off and let the tank drain again. Make take a few times.

    Another factor is the size of the burner. The 6 year warranty gas models will usually have a smaller burner than a 10 year model. Somewhere on the tank it should read the BTU rating of the burner and a "heat recovery rating". This is how fast the heater can raise the temperature of the water in 1 hour. It may only be 20 degrees temp raise (for the 40 gallons of cold water) but is the cold water at 70 or 50 degrees. Minerial deposits inside the tank lowers the heat recovery rating.

    The last factor is the cold water temperature. I lived in Syracuse, NY and the water came from Lake Ontario. I swear it was about 50 degrees in the summer and colder in the winter. In S. Florida it is 75 degrees in the coldest months.

    Instead of guessing of what is wrong a new tank is always well worth it. It will be more efficient and it will save you gas and money on your monthly bill.
    Last edited by WorthFlorida; 12-09-2009 at 04:47 AM.

  4. #19
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    Good news, after having the same repair man come over three times to determine nothing is wrong I asked the warranty company to send out someone else. When the new repair man called I explained what was wrong and he knew it was the dip tube. Came over this morning and replaced it, sure enough there was no sign of the original dip tube. You guys were right, thanks for the advise!

    Now it's time to start saving for a new water heater, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it needs to be replaced. Thanks!

  5. #20
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    See what I mean about those home warranty outfits and the plumbers they have...

  6. #21
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    What is the simplest test to determine dip tube integrity?

  7. #22
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thatguy View Post
    What is the simplest test to determine dip tube integrity?
    Knowing the age is a big plus because of the defective dip tubes back in the 90's...

    Add to that the classic symptoms and we can be pretty darn sure of what we are facing.

    Check an aerator and see the pieces clogging it...

    But in the end the only sure 100% way is to remove the inlet nipple and see if there is a tube there...

    Here is an excellent read on defective dip tubes...
    http://rustylayton.com/htmlxtra/diptube.html

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