6 year old water heater running out of hot water


  #1  
Old 12-22-17, 01:17 PM
G
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 163
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
6 year old water heater running out of hot water

Within the last week or two, my wife and I have both noticed some issues with the hot water. She said she's been running out of hot water during a shower, I take quick showers so I don't notice that as much but I have noticed the temperature fluctuating which I did not notice before.

We have a gas water heater that is only 6 years old- it is a GE 40 gallon, model GG40T06AVG01

I can't say I'm super familiar with gas water heaters so what do I need to look for?
 
  #2  
Old 12-22-17, 03:19 PM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 25,514
Received 962 Votes on 883 Posts
The dip tube may have broken off.
 
  #3  
Old 12-22-17, 05:22 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,112
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
The dip tube is made of plastic and extends to the bottom of the tank from the outlet fitting so that you don't just get the hottest water that has risen to the top and then it rapidly goes cold. If the water chemistry is condusive, it can make the tube brittle and it will flake off or crack and lose a large piece. Normally, if you remove the aerators at a few sinks, you will find little bits of the tube in the screen. Only fix is to disconnect the outlet piping, pull the old tube out and install a new one. That can be relatively easy or a real PITA depending on where the installation is and how it's done.
 
  #4  
Old 12-22-17, 06:48 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
How about your cold water? Has it become noticeable colder in the last few weeks? What temperature setting are you using on the water heater? Do you have a "tempering" (mixing or anti-scald) valve piped in immediately out of the water heater outlet?

Here is part of the problem. The incoming water temperature has probably dropped, possibly significantly, in the last several weeks. That means two things, your water heater cannot heat the same quantity of water to the usual outlet temperature in the same amount of time as it does in the summer and the cold water you mix in at the faucet, being colder than summer time cools the hot water to a greater degree. The end result is that the tank runs out of hot water sooner.

Add in that a 40 gallon tank is not all that big and that tank-type heaters can only supply about 70% of their ultimate capacity at which time the water becomes noticeably colder. That means only about 28 gallons of water before it gets cooler.

I have a 50 gallon gas-fired water heater. Normally I can spend a half-hour in the shower before it starts to run cold. Lately that has dropped to about 23 minutes.

There ARE some tricks that can prolong the amount of hot water. Ask if you are interested.
 
  #5  
Old 12-22-17, 09:11 PM
G
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 163
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Well, it was installed with unions, and it's in an area of the basement where it has room around it, so at least it looks like it shouldn't be overly difficult.

As for the incoming water temp- I dunno, not sure if it's gotten colder or not. But it seems to me like if it sits all day, shouldn't it have a good bit of cold water in it? We don't use much hot water through the day except for showers.

The dip tube idea sounds like it may be the culprit, I'll have to check that out.

By the way- is it safe to assume the pipe going to the water heater with the shutoff valve on it is the cold water pipe?
 
  #6  
Old 12-22-17, 09:28 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
"By the way- is it safe to assume the pipe going to the water heater with the shutoff valve on it is the cold water pipe?"

Yes, that is the cold water supply to the heater.
 
  #7  
Old 12-23-17, 06:46 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,500
Received 137 Votes on 126 Posts
Are there certain times of day, or more precisely certain hot water usage patterns excluding two showers or heavy usages in quick succession, that the problem is worse? This could reveal a water heater thermostat problem where the burner does not come on as needed to "top off" the temperature of the tankful of water.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: