Do I need a new gas water heater?

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Old 12-01-04, 06:00 AM
SharonB
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Unhappy Do I need a new gas water heater?

Hi,
As a single mother and new home owner, I am lost as to why my 7 year old, 40 gallon hot water heater does not seem to be able to supply sufficient hot water for our morning showers. Should a 40 gallon tank be adequate to supply my family of 3 with hot water for morning showers? I have started taking mine first (to ensure hot water for me and some recharge time for my 2 kids) - the other 2 shower at the same time; one on the second floor and one in the basement. On the mornings when we all shower, the second "shift" invariably has insufficient hot water.

If I do need to replace the heater, what should I look for in a replacement? My home inspector recommended a tankless system but my research leads me to believe that with 3 showers in the morning, we will need at least 2 units and they are very expensive compared to the traditional tank heater.

Any advice?
 
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Old 12-01-04, 06:12 AM
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SharonB, Welcome to the DIY Forums.
7 years old water heater should still be good enough for 3 showers. You didn't say if it was gas or electric. If electric, it may have one of the elements defective. If so, it will not be able to fully recoup the water loss 3 showers would use. Thats where I would check first. Good luck and post back using the reply button as this will return your questions to the top of the topics.
Sorry, did not read the title or I would have known it was gas. In this case, it could be the dip tube has deteriorated or broken. The dip tube is in the cold water inlet and takes the cold water to the bottom of the tank and at the same time, pushes the hot water out. If it is not working properly it "short circuits" and lets cold water go straight to the hot water outlet. Check this out.
 
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Old 12-01-04, 07:01 AM
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7 years old puts it in the middle of the "dip tube failure" time frame. A Broken dip tube causes the problem you describe.

On the side of the tank will be a label identifying the manufacturer and serial number. Go to that manufacturer's website and they will identify by serial number if your tank is affected.

The class action lawsuits have expired. But replacing the dip tube is relatively easy and inexpensive.
 
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Old 12-01-04, 07:24 AM
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Wink

40 gal gas water heater. Check dip tube for sure. How hard is the water there. lots of time on hard water it will build up Lime and calcium up on the heat tube there and cut down on the hot water recovery. Have had old ones so heavy had the wheel them out. Inside just like a rock.

ED
 
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Old 12-01-04, 08:48 AM
SharonB
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Thumbs up Thanks to all

Your responses all suggest a dip tube issue. I don't know whether I will be able to diagnose this by myself but it sounds like I do not need to be shopping for a new hot water heater and that a repair might be in order. I was trying to determine whether to look in the direction of repair or replacement and it also sounds like a 40 gallon gas water heater should be sufficient to supply 3 showers in the morning -- so, I'll make a call and see what I can learn!

Thanks for helping and so quickly.
 
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Old 12-01-04, 08:58 AM
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I don't know how handy you are or if you have tools to work with. If you turn off the cold water supply to the water heater and disconnect the line to the heater itself you should be able to look into the opening in the heater and tell if the dip tube is there. Many of the newer ones have a plastic dip tube that merely sits in the opening. New tubes can be purchased and changed out.
 
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Old 12-01-04, 09:01 AM
SharonB
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I'll try . . .

I try to think of myself as handy - having the right tools is my biggest restriction but I am interested in trying. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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Old 12-01-04, 09:22 AM
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The below link may give you a better idea of what you are looking at. Click on or copy and paste.

http://www.thehomeinspector.com/Clients/DipTube2.html
 
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Old 12-09-04, 03:33 PM
Bob Haller
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Buy a bigger tank the next time. Its cheap insurance for heavy demands. You can also turn up the temperature, and use more cold water. But this increases the risk of being scalded.

The water around here is so hard the interior of the tanks get a rock like covering over time and heat slower. I cut one open, it was amazing. over a inch of rock like brown crud.
 
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