How Knowing More About Dip Tubes Can Keep You From Having Cold Showers
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Curved Dip Tubes
The curved dip tube was invented to help keep sediment under control. The bottom end of the tube is curved to allow a swirling motion around the bottom of the water heater. New sediment cannot form because it is always in motion in swirling water. You may always add a curved dip tube to an existing water heater. Ask a licensed plumber about this. With straight dip tubes, only the area on the heater directly underneath the tube gets cleaned from sediment. A simple flush may not help remove much hardened sediment. The bottom of a water heater is generally a dome shape and gets sediment stuck in a ring shape around the bottom edge. If you have the curved dip tube installed and open the drain valve at the bottom, sediment may be washed out. Simply open the drain valve and make sure the cold water line is open. Let the water run through and out the drain valve for five minutes at least. This will reduce a good portion of sediment inside your tank. If you would like to install a curved dip tube yourself, here’s how. Unscrew the cold water outlet line. Insert the handle end of a plastic set of pliers in the inlet. Twist and pull up at the same time to get the dip tube exposed. Scrape any rust away if your having a hard time removing the dip tube. Pull the dip tube all the way out. Take the new curved dip tube and mark the direction the curve is pointing at the top on the nipple. Wrap the threads of the nipple with teflon tape eight times. Insert the curved dip tube and be sure that you point it in a direction to allow it to swirl the water at the bottom of the tank. Also note that when buying a new water heater, ask if the tank comes with a curved dip tube, because they make some that do. If the tank does not, consider one that does.
Curved dip tubes should be the first thing to ask a plumber about if you think you have a sediment problem in your water heater.
Damaged Dip Tubes
If your dip tube has broken or fallen off, cold water will enter at the top of the water heater and immediately leave through the hot water outlet. The result is a very short and cold shower. A new dip tube needs to be installed. I suggest a curved one.
Standard Dip Tubes
A dip tube is a piece of plastic pipe that is attached to the cold water inlet of your water heater. It takes the cold water from the top of the tank to the bottom of the tank. Hot water naturally flows on top of cold water and flows to the top of the tank. Therefore, hot water should be the first water that flows out of the hot water outlet on top of the tank. If your dip tube has broken or fallen off, cold water will enter at the top of the water heater and immediately leave through the hot water outlet. The result is a very short and cold shower. Commercial water heaters do not generally have dip tubes but instead have a cold water inlet that allows water to enter the heater near the bottom. Mobile homes and foreign manufacturers also may have the same arrangement as the commercial water heater.
write by Basil