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water heater with broken dip tube

zepfanzepfan Member Posts: 307
what is a sign that when a 50 gallon gas water heater has a broken dip tube, how long normally does it take to run out of hot water? Is it instantly, after 5 minutes, or shorter? thanks to all.

Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 14,906
    A 50 gallon gas or oil heater should be able to run a couple of baths full of nice hot water without any trouble at all.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 14,412
    take a 5 gallon bucket into your tub or shower, see how many gallons before it runs luke warm.

    How many minutes of hot water depends on the faucet. Big high flow tub fillers can drain 50 gallons in 5 minutes or so.

    A typical 2.5 gpm shower head should give you 15- 20 minutes depending on how hot you have the tank set.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Paul48Paul48 Member Posts: 4,492
    With a broken dip tube, you will get lukewarm water, at best. The water takes the path of least resistance.
    delta T
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,479
    edited January 2017
    From my experiences, a broken dip tube will be hot, but it will cool off long before it should, and end up running cool to cold much sooner.

    With my 50 gallon gas heater I can easily take a hot 40 minute shower followed by the wife having her usual shower, no issues. I run the heater around 140F.

    In an apartment we had, it had a 40 gallon heater, yes it was smaller, but I couldn't get more than one 15 minute shower out of it, and I had it cranked up to 150-160F. After 15 minutes we were talking luke warm at best and it ended up cold fast. As soon as you felt the temperature drop it meant you needed to get the soap off you ASAP.

    I'm pretty sure the heater in the apartment needed a dip tube as we had the same symptoms from an AO Smith heater at my parents house in the 90s that had a dip tube issue.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • delta Tdelta T Member Posts: 816
    Keep in mind too, that not all broken dip tubes are the same. It could have a small crack in it, or it could be completely broken off, I have seen both and everything in between. If it snapped off, then You will likely only get luke warm water at best. If it is a small hole or crack, you may very well get a decent shower, just not quite as much as you should. Only way to be sure is to remove it, and that process can range from easy to practically impossible......
  • HenryHenry Member Posts: 973
    From my own personal experience, you get hot, then cool and then cold is short order. Both inlet and outlet are less than a foot apart. Water goes where it is easieer. I fixed mine and a number using copper pipe. Don't forget to drill an 1/8 hole near the top. Tha is an old fashioned vacuum breaker.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,479
    Henry said:

    From my own personal experience, you get hot, then cool and then cold is short order. Both inlet and outlet are less than a foot apart. Water goes where it is easieer. I fixed mine and a number using copper pipe. Don't forget to drill an 1/8 hole near the top. Tha is an old fashioned vacuum breaker.

    But..........it's inside the tank?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • HenryHenry Member Posts: 973
    Mine, I pulled out with longnos. Used a vicegip to hold it while I cut 3 feet off its lenght. Then I just pulled t out. Another one it was reachable and it was probably lying on its side in the tank.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,479
    Henry said:

    Mine, I pulled out with longnos. Used a vicegip to hold it while I cut 3 feet off its lenght. Then I just pulled t out. Another one it was reachable and it was probably lying on its side in the tank.

    I mean your old fashioned vacuum breaker.
    It's inside the tank?

    Seems like all that hole would do is help in bleeding air out of the tank when it's first filled, but after that, nothing?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • rick in Alaskarick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,149
    The hole used to be in case the pipe in the house had a break in it that started siphoning off water, it would only allow the tank to drain down until it got to the level of the hole in the dip tube. Kind of effective as a vacuum breaker.
    Also, if the dip tube was broken off, it could give all kinds of different amounts of hot water usage, depending on how far down it was broken off. The only way to tell for sure is to pull it out and check it.
    Rick
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,096
    @ChrisJ said "With my 50 gallon gas heater I can easily take a hot 40 minute shower"

    40 minute shower????

    really
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 14,412

    @ChrisJ said "With my 50 gallon gas heater I can easily take a hot 40 minute shower"

    40 minute shower????

    really

    40 minutes at 2.5 gpm sounds a little long?

    Need to know
    tank temperature
    shower temperature
    incoming cold temperature
    burner size of the tank
    to get a number using math

    I've heard numbers like 87% of the tank capacity of 120° is available for a shower so for a 50 gallon tank 43 gallons or minutes at 1 gpm flow
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • bob eckbob eck Member Posts: 922
    edited January 2017
    Did you have a new single handle faucet installed in the house lately?
    Some times with single handle faucets you can get a cross connection letting cold water into the hot water lines.
    get a laser didital temp gun turn on the shower faucet and let it run and put it on the hot water outlet pipe see if the water temp goes down or if the temp stays up and the shower water still runs cold. If this happens you have a cross connection.

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