water heater problems


Old 06-30-04, 02:36 PM
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water heater problems

i am reasonably new on the rv scene.problems already starting....
water heater fires up ok and runs for what seems like enough time
but hot water at any faucet only lasts about 10 seconds and then
goes cold..can anyone help ?
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Old 06-30-04, 03:20 PM
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Hello: whiteeagle. Welcome to the web site and this forum topic.

Pre-installed in any gas water heater, there is a part called a dip tube inserted into the cold water inlet side. Or at least there should be one. Likely there is one in the tank in your RV.

But may not be one installed. If the tank had been "worked on" prior and the service person or prior owner did not re install the dip tube, etc. Any situation is possible and or likely. A diy inspection can be done.

The dip tube only allows the incoming water to enter at the bottom of the tank. Thus forcing the hot water to be pushed out of from the top of the tank. Also, hot water is lighter than cold water, so it rises up naturally.

Problem is, a dip tube will often deteriorate and get holes in them or rot away, brake off, etc. When that happens, cold water is bypassed out above the tanks bottom and gets drawn across into the hot waters outlet side.

To determine if this is the cause, remove the water lines, remove the tank and than remove the inlet water side pipe inserted into the tank. Chances are the dip tube, which may be metal, is deteriored or non existing.

If the dip tube is metal, very likely it is well deteriored and in need of replacement. The tube should reach down be about 2/3rds or more of the way down into the tank. If not, note if the end is deteriored or broken off, etc.

If the dip tube is plastic, chances are the tube is okay but inspect it anyway. If no dip tube is found, you found the cause of the problem.

Another remote possibility is the water faucet itself. Depending upon the type, it may be mixing the cold with the hot, etc. In this case, first turn off the water at the heater, than remove the hot water line at the faucet.

Turn the hot water back on at the tank with the line in a bucket. Note if the flowing out water has the same problem. If so, the problem is isolated to the tank. Likely to be the dip tube. Possibly a thermostat problem but not as likely based upon the problem description.

If there is plent of hot water coming out of the line into the bucket, problem is very likely to be the faucet. Testing in this fashion helps to determine a cause. A physical inspection of the dip tube is almost always required.

Check back on your question several more times. Other members posting replies in this forum topic are likely to offer you additional advice, ideas and or repair methods.

The water heater forum topic also has posts on this type of problem. http://forum.doityourself.com/forumdisplay.php?f=124
A search, within the list of existing questions in that topic on water heaters with similar problems is likely to be required.

Kindly use the reply button to add any additional information or ask additional questions. Doing so will automatically move the question to the top of the list of questions.

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