How to Replace a Water Heater Dip Tube

A man works on a water heater.
  • 2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 30-40
What You'll Need
Plumbing tape
Replacement dip tube

Water heater maintenance is important if you want your water heater to work all the time, this will include inspecting and possibly replacing your water heater dip tube. The dip tube is a component inside your water heater which carries the cold water to the bottom where it can be heated up once again. This would happen normally, but the dip tube is designed to make the process more efficient and to stop it being delivered along with the hot water while it's being used.

If your hot water seems to run out very quickly, this could actually be a result of a problem with your dip tube. Over time, the dip tube may disintegrate or break off. This will mean that your tank will get colder much quicker when it starts to fill up with cold water.

Replacing the water heater dip tube is something that anyone can do; it's very simple with the right tools. This will also save you the trouble and expense of having to call out a professional plumber.

Step 1 - Prepare

Prepare the hot water heater so that it's safe to work on. Make sure that you switch the hot water heater off at the circuit breaker. Take the fuses out and allow it to cool down. If you have a gas-powered heater, either blow out the pilot light or ensure that it's set in a mode where it won't fire up. You don't want to be working on a hot boiler.

Step 2 - Find the Water Inlet Valve

Find the water inlet valve and turn it off. This will prevent any water from flowing into the tank while you're using it.

Step 3 - Look at the Tank

Take a look at the tank and make sure there's enough room above where the tank is for you to take the tube out safely, without needing to empty the tank. If you have enough space, this will save you a lot of time. If not, you will need to drain the tank slightly by running off some hot water so that you can access the dip tube.

Step 4 - Remove Connectors

Remove the cold water pipe so that you can access the dip tube. To remove this, turn the nuts with a wrench. Use some pliers to hold onto the dip tube and pull it through the opening in the tank. Then you can use your hands to remove the whole dip tube.

Step 5 - Replace Dip Tube

The dip tube can now be replaced with a new one. Wrap the top of the dip tube with some plumbers PTFE tape. Push the dip tube into the correct position so that it sits properly in the tank. Turn the water back on and fire up the heater. Check that everything works as it should.