Appliances have several moving parts that make them work. No matter how big or small, each is important. And if a single one of them encounters a problem, it throws the operation of your equipment out of whack. Some damaged or suffering parts can render your appliances useless. The water heater dip tube is one such small device. It plays a critical role in how your appliance functions.
Dip tubes are present in both gas water heaters and electric water heaters. Whichever one you own, you need to know how this part functions and what to expect if it is no longer useful.
A Water Heater Dip Tube Has An Important Job
There are two inlets at the upper part of your tank. They should have the labels Hot and Cold.
A dip tube is a long, thin rod that connects to the inlet for cold water on your water heater. It extends all the way to the tank’s bottom.
Every time cold water comes into the base of the tank, it comes in through the the tank’s dip tube. You can find this device at the base of the tank.
In short, the water heater dip tubes delivers the cold water to your tank.
It sits there at the base of the tank where the burners that heat the water are located. This not only allows the cold water to heat up rapidly. It also prevents the cold water from mingling with the hot water sitting at the upper portion of the tank.
Parts Of A Water Heater Dip Tube
Dip tubes have to be long enough to get to the inner base of your water heater, where it deposits water. But That is not all they do.
The Anti-siphoning Hole
The anti-siphoning hole is a very small opening. It keeps stored water in your water heater from reentering the tank’s dip tube.
Does The Anti-Siphoning Hole Work?
Some plumbers think that the anti-siphoning hole is a poor design.
They say it is not large enough to do the job for which it was made. Other plumbers think that it works just fine.
What Do Slots Near The End Of The Dip Tube Do?
These slots are there by design to create turbulence in the water. The turbulence stirs up the water and prevents sediments from building up in your tank. These sediments float in the water and drain out of the tank when you run your faucets.
Without these slots, sediments will settle at the bottom of your tank. Gas water heaters, in particular, will suffer. The sediments will cover the burners and limit their heating capabilities.
How Long Will A Water Heater Dip Tube Last?
Dip tubes have a shelf life of around 15 years. They become brittle after that due to the repeated immersion in hot water. But, if your water heater came with a faulty dip tube, then it could go bad before those years are up.
What Happens If My Water Heater Dip Tube Goes Bad?
If your water heater dip tube gets brittle or is faulty, you can expect it to spring a leak or break off completely. Once this happens, you will notice the difference in the efficiency of your water heater.
The cold water will flow out before it gets to the inner base of the tank, and it will mix with the hot water. This will cause your hot water to cool down.
Because the slots are no longer available, sediments will begin to settle on the inner base of the tank. When that happens, it further limiting the heating capabilities of your water heater.
Signs Your Water Heater Dip Tube Is Broken
- You run out of hot water quickly.
- Plastic fragments can clog faucet aerators.
Hot water flows out quickly if the tank’s dip tube is broken. There is also less hot water available with a damaged dip tube.
Keep in mind that the dip tube may not be the source of your hot water problem. These parts last about fifteen years. So, if you’ve had your water heater for fewer years than that, chances are the dip tube is not the problem.
Debris in the faucet can be created by a variety of factors, not just the dip tube. Particles suspended in water.
Troubleshooting Water Heater Dip Tube
Look out for these two problems to know if your dip tube is the likely problem.
The water heater has trouble keeping the water hot.
There are particles suspended in the water.
There is a quick test you can perform to confirm if the dip tube is the cause of these issues.
- Take out the tube and examine it.
- Connect a hose to the drain valve
- Open the drain valve (do not close it)
- Let the water drain out
If the temperature of the water leaving the drain hose soon cools, the dip tube is probably in good shape.
How To Replace Water Heaters Dip Tube
- Turn off the water heater’s power.
- Turn off the cold-water supply valve.
- Take off the nipple to get to the dip tube’s top.
- Put in your new tube through the opening.
- Turn on the hot water.
On top of your water heater, disconnect the line that supplies cold water.
You will need to use a wrench to complete this part of the job.
The nipple is a small pipe with two threaded ends. Here is the best way to use a screwdriver to get the dip tube out. Angle your screwdriver. Use friction to pry the tube out.
Put the nipple back in place, and do not forget the line that supplies the cold water.
Replacing Water heaters Dip Tube Is Easy
If you notice. that the water supply at your home is not working as it should and there are particles in your water, it could mean the dip tube is the problem. But replacing it is easy, and you can do it yourself. If you are not DIY savvy, there are professionals who can get the job done at a cost.