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Thread: Repair or replace?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member adamw's Avatar
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    Default Repair or replace?

    I have a Bradford White WH manufactured January 1999. It has been in service since May 1999. Yesterday morning while showering, I had to start out with the faucet turned further than usual. During my ten minute shower, I had to keep turning it further and further hot to keep it warm enough. This has never happened before yesterday morning. Nothing else was different. No one else (or nothing else) was using water at the time. My wife experienced the same issue later in the day, and I experienced it again this morning.

    After doing some research online, it seems that the likely culprit is the dip tube. The burner burns, there are no leaks. It seems that replacing the dip tube is something I can easily accomplish myself. (I think the hardest part will be draining some water out without it getting all over the floor. It's in a basement, so I can't easily run a hose from it to the outside and there are no drains lower than the spigot.)

    I found a local plumbing supply store that has a dip tube. It's 6 bucks.

    So my question to you all is, do I bother trying to fix this 10+ year old WH, or just bite the bullet and buy a new one?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Gas or electric? If electric, you sure the elements are working? A dip tube may not be that hard to replace...depends. While you are at it, you might change the anode rod too. At 10-years, thoughit could be beyond it's livespan.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member adamw's Avatar
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    It is gas. And yeah, I thought about the anode rod too.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    A bad dip tube should have given you about a 3 minute shower and then it would have been cold. There would have either not been any gradual change or if there were it would have happened very rapidly. Not sure what the problem could be without checking it personally, but after 9 years it is a crap shoot whether it is worth fixing. OR, if the fix would even cure the problem.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    It is worth trying to service it yourself. Beats the expensive crapshoot of calling a plumber who will charge several times more just for the call than you would have in it DIY. Have you ever blown it down? If you pull out the old dip tube and anode and find nothing wrong, then you will have a mystery.

    Have Plan B replacement option ready.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Checking the dip tube is a pretty simple operation. As HJ indicates, it is likely not the problem, but on the other hand, 1999 was at the end of the rash of defective dip tubes. If it is the dip tube, less than $10 will replace it and buy you some time. A failed dip tube leaves debris that can never be completely flushed, but you have nothing to risk and at least you will know.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member adamw's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments guys.
    I have the new dip tube and plan to pull out the old one tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default dip tube

    WE will, because you may need it. You may also need a big pipe wrench.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member adamw's Avatar
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    Here ya go, folks. Broken dip tube!
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member adamw's Avatar
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    Oh, and I did need a big pipe wrench! Well, actually, I used a regular one and put a big regular wrench on the end.

    Anyway, 20 minute, $6 fix. Not bad. Now, I just sit and wait for the bottom to rust out, right?!

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamw View Post
    Here ya go, folks. Broken dip tube!
    Glad to hear that was it. Is that a metal dip tube or plastic? I'm wondering if it was acting as a sacrificial metal... Did you also do the anode or check it?

  12. #12
    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Runs with bison View Post
    Glad to hear that was it. Is that a metal dip tube or plastic? I'm wondering if it was acting as a sacrificial metal... Did you also do the anode or check it?
    It's plastic.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member adamw's Avatar
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    Plastic. And no, I didn't check the anode

  14. #14
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Re: bottom rusting out, it's 50-50 you reach 17 yrs with this NG WH.

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