Lukewarm Hot Water: Is A Faulty Dip Tube To Blame?

If a hot water heater doesn't heat water properly, is it a water heater at all?

If you are only getting lukewarm water from your home's hot water faucets, the problem may be caused by a number of underlying issues with your water heater system. In many cases, problems with the system's dip tube can cause hot water temperatures to drop.

What Is A Hot Water Heater's Dip Tube?

Most electric and gas-fired water heaters are fitted with dip tubes, which are located inside the heater's storage tank. These long, plastic tubes run from the heater's cold water inlet valve to the base of the tank.  They funnel cold water to the bottom of the tank, near the tank's heating element. 

Not every water heater has a dip tube. If your system is oil-fired or has a cold water connection located at the base of the tank, it probably lacks a dip tube. Tankless water heaters also lack dip tubes. If you don't know whether your hot water heater has a dip tube, check the manufacturer's instructions that came with the heater.

Why Do Faulty Dip Tubes Cause Lukewarm Hot Water?

Because hot water rises through cold water, the water at the top of your water heater's tank is hotter than the water beneath. When cold water is introduced to the bottom of the tank via the dip tube, it rises to the top of the tank as it is heated, maintaining adequate hot water temperatures at all times.

If your water heater's dip tube is damaged, leaking, or disconnected from the inlet valve, it may be releasing cold water too high in the tank. This cold water mingles with the fully heated water at the top of the tank, reducing its temperature. If enough cold water mixes with the heated water, the water you receive from your hot water faucets will only be lukewarm.

Do Faulty Dip Tubes Create Other Problems?

If your water heater's dip tube has perished due to overheating or general wear and tear, it may start to crumble inside the water heater's tank. if you start finding flakes of white plastic in your home's hot water supply, this is a tell-tale sign of dip tube damage.

What Should You Do About A Faulty Dip Tube?

If your home's hot water supply is not as hot as it should be, call in a professional hot water heater repair service to inspect the system's dip tube. A number of other problems, such as malfunctioning thermostats and broken heating elements, can reduce the temperature of your hot water, so your chosen service will also inspect these components to check for damage or wear.

If your heater's dip tube is causing the problem, it can replaced quickly by professional water heater technicians. Replacement dip tubes are inexpensive, and can be fitted relatively quickly, so you shouldn't have to pay too much for parts or labor.

If plastic flakes from the damaged tube have entered the hot water supply, your home's hot water pipes will need to be thoroughly flushed before the hot water becomes safe to use again. Once a new dip tube has been fitted and the pipes have been flushed, your hot water should return to the proper temperature.

For more information, contact a company such as D & S Plumbing.

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Bathroom Remodeling: Major Plumbing Changes Bathroom renovations are fun yet complicated projects. This is especially true if you're replacing your shower, moving your sink, or doing any other serious plumbing changes. If you're getting ready to renovate your bathroom, you're definitely in the right place. We have been there before, and we learned a lot about the extra work involved with these major changes. That's why we created this blog. We wanted to share our experience and some tips we learned to help people just like you to avoid some of the major mistakes and complications. Hopefully, the information here will help you to create a successful remodeling plan with your plumber.