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Thread: Declining hot water output - how to fix ?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Bob L's Avatar
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    Default Declining hot water output - how to fix ?

    BACKGROUND: Over the past few months the hot water is running out more and more quickly, on my Rheem Guardian Fury 22V50F1 gas water heater installed in June 2007. For the first five years since installation, it would take about 30 minutes of continuous running of the upstairs shower bath for the hot water to exhaust, with water temperature set to 130 degrees. Starting a few months back the output of hot water has been declining, and is currently taking about 15 minutes to run out.

    QUESTION: Will appreciate advice on what to do. Will it be cheapest to replace the existing heater ? The warranty runs out in June 2013. Will the warranty cover this problem ?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Warranty is usually about leaking. If you have particularly hard water or are running on a well that is pumping up sand; the tank could be partly full of minerals or sand.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member Bob L's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice on warranty. Our local water is not particularly hard. When I drained the tank, the first few seconds of water flow was a little bit gray in color, then it cleared up for the remainder of the drainage. 24 hours after refilling the tank it was still running out of hot water in about 15 minutes.

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    DIY Junior Member akholbrook's Avatar
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    I had this issue about a year ago but it was an electric water heater and it was a burnt out element. However since gas water heaters don't have elements check the burner on it. This maybe your issue.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Make sure nothing is drawing water, then go check out your water meter. If it is turning, you have a leak, and with the symptoms you're seeing, it's likely on the hot water side. A constant leak will keep a WH from maintaining much hot water with the constant introduction of cold water. Even a small leak can be an issue both for water/sewer expenses, and fuel to try to heat it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member Bob L's Avatar
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    Default Declining hot water output - how to fix ?

    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Make sure nothing is drawing water, then go check out your water meter. If it is turning, you have a leak, and with the symptoms you're seeing, it's likely on the hot water side. A constant leak will keep a WH from maintaining much hot water with the constant introduction of cold water. Even a small leak can be an issue both for water/sewer expenses, and fuel to try to heat it.
    Thanks for the suggestion. I checked the water meter while all taps were off. The meter was not turning. Could the problem arise from [1] an attenuated flame [2] attenuated transfer of heat from the flame to the water in the tank ?

  7. #7
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Several years ago there was a problem with faulty dip tubes. One company made them and supply several brands of heaters. The tubes would break off which caused the incoming cold water to just go to the top of the tank. The result was very little hot water. This may not be your problem, because this was supposedly dealt with before your heater was built. I bring it up because the symptoms are very much like the broken dip tubes. Easy to check, it is right under the intake nipple and can be pulled out and replaced easily if it is broken.

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    DIY Junior Member Bob L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    Several years ago there was a problem with faulty dip tubes. One company made them and supply several brands of heaters. The tubes would break off which caused the incoming cold water to just go to the top of the tank. The result was very little hot water. This may not be your problem, because this was supposedly dealt with before your heater was built. I bring it up because the symptoms are very much like the broken dip tubes. Easy to check, it is right under the intake nipple and can be pulled out and replaced easily if it is broken.
    Thanks so much for the suggestion. The heater installation is crowded and I don't feel comfortable with removing the intake nipple as I strongly suspect I will create leaks and maybe other problems. I've now scheduled a highly rated (on ANgie's list) plumber to visit in 3 days time, and will tell him your idea, and will report back on what the actual solution (if any) was. Thanks again.

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