Running out of hot water


  #1  
Old 02-19-04, 05:36 PM
Bea Tyler
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Running out of hot water

Hi,
I have an 8 year old AO Smith 74 gallon hot water heater (model #FSG 50 232. Just recently it started not providing enough hot water to last even one 25 minute shower. It used to be good for about 40 minutes. I've been turning the heat setting up on it but now it's ALL the way up to "VERY HOT", and I'm still running out of hot water.

I read in another post here that it's likely to be the internal dip tube. Is that something that would be cost effective to fix (how much would it cost, approximately?) or is it just time to upgrade to a more efficient, larger model?

Thank you, Bea
 
  #2  
Old 02-19-04, 06:04 PM
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Hello Bea Tyler. Welcome into my Gas Appliances topic.

Couple of things to try first before assuming the dip tube is defective. It could very well be but not likely. Newer tanks have plastic dip tubes which are not prone to rusting, damages or corroding. Nor are they always easy to remove or install.

Try low flow shower heads. Installing them will help plenty. Run the water volumn lower during showering to use less water.

Take shorter showers, especially in winter months. It takes incoming cold water to push out the hot water. Thus dilution takes place. The colder the outside temp the colder will be the incoming water. Thus the dilution process happens sooner.

Pace and space out the hot water usages between users showers to allow time to reheat the water. Avoid doing dishes and washing clothes etc all during brief time spans. Doing so allows recovery time between high demands.

All the above is intended to avoid dip tube removal time and work. Only to discover the tube is fine and the problem is not resolved. Tube replacement will not ensure a positive solution.

Once all the changes are made, an improvement should be noticed. Once the weather warms up, most likely the problem will be resolved...
 
  #3  
Old 02-19-04, 06:27 PM
Bea Tyler
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Hi Sharp,
Thank you for the prompt reply.
There has been a distinct change over the last several months in the way this water heater delivers hot water to the shower.

We bought the house new 8 years ago, and live in middle Tennessee, where the winters are relatively mild.

There has only ever been one shower head on this shower - a Moen 2.5 GPM low flow head. The volume of flow is fixed, and cannot be reduced.

It was 65 degrees here today and the problem is still worsening. We wrapped all the hot AND cold water pipes with foam insulation and tape years ago and all the pipes are in a fairly warm crawl space, even on cold days.

Our lower quantity of available hot water happens on first shower of the day or last - the recovery on this system has always been extremely fast, often in 15 minutes or less. This hasn't changed much - even when set to "VERY HOT", after shower ran cold in 25 minutes the water heater burner was done heating the tank in 20 minutes. Initially the water temperature out of the shower is scalding - too hot to the touch on full hot.

Anything else I should try to troubleshoot further?

Thank you, Bea
 
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Old 02-19-04, 08:25 PM
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Hi: Bea

You asked this question:
"Anything else I should try to troubleshoot further?"

One other possible solution prior to replacing that dip tube.
Pertaining to the shower faucet. Change the shower faucet valve.

If it is one of the single lever types, there is that rare possibility the internal mixer valve insert is reacting to the hot water. It will allow more cold water to pass through than hot.

Hope I explained that correctly. Happens when the insert in the valve becomes wornout or defective. Worth a shot prior to the dip tube removal and inspection.

Often can be noticed at other appliances which use plenty of hot water and the tanks are 40 gallon sizes. Water remain hot at other appliances but not in the shower where single lever faucets are used.

Give that a try and see if there is any difference. If not, than the problem may be with the dip tube. Or the very rare possibility, a lack of a dip tube in the tank.

Based upon the recovery time, volume of water used and ambient outside temperature, I would rarely venture to say the thermostat is defective. But that thought has crossed my mind.

Sharp Advice
 
  #5  
Old 03-02-04, 08:21 PM
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Have you drained out the heater to rid it of some of the sedimate? That might help
 
  #6  
Old 03-03-04, 06:20 AM
Bea Tyler
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Hi, Thank you Sharp - I changed the shower faucet valve cylinder and it's back to working properly. I'm going to drain the tank more regularly now too. Maybe I can get a few more years use out of this heater.

Bea
 
  #7  
Old 03-03-04, 06:55 AM
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Hi: Bea

Glad to know the faucet was the cause of the problem and not the tank, etc. Looking for the least likely cause before assuming the problem is with the tank saves money, work and time...

You would not accomplish much "Draining" the tank. To remove sediment the tank needs to be "Flushed" not "Drained." Draining would leave much of the sediment. Flushing would remove much more, if not all the sediment, debris, rust, etc.

To findout more about the differences between draining and flushing and how to do either, refer to the the water heater draining and flushing post in this forum.

Tank Draining & Flushing Link:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showth...hreadid=134483
 
 

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