There are important components in a typical water heater tank setup, such as a dip tube. The function is to transfer your main cold water from the top of the water heater tank to the tank’s base. This process ensures you have a fast circulation and heating of the water equally. The water heater dip tube will eventually need to be replaced, and this can be done by yourself.
What Is A Dip Tube In A Water Heater?
The water heater dip tube is a long tube (made from plastic) that fits into the water heater’s inlet and goes several inches from the bottom of the tank. Water heaters (gas or electric) are made up of two plumbing lines incoming and outgoing pipes. The incoming line inside the heater is the dip tube (also known as the dt tube).
The dip tube is created to direct the incoming water to the bottom of the heater. Without a dip tube, the cold water will mix with the hot water that already produces.
How Do I Know if My Dip Tube Need to Be Replace?
Water heater manufacturers from 1993-1997 were typically installed with a defective dip tube. After a few years of exposure to hot water, many disintegrate and break off.
Check the water heater serial number to know the age of your water heater. The first four numbers are usually the month and year of manufacture. If your water heaters have the numbers 93, 94, 95, 96, or 97 in the third and fourth digits, the dip tube may need to be replaced.
A simple task to test a broken dip tube is when you begin finding small bits of plastic in your faucet aerators, showerheads, clogging strainers, and filter screens on appliances.
How To Replace Dip Tube In Water Heater?
Water heater dip tube replacement is easy (in theory). There is some task that can be very difficult. If you’re unsure about performing this DIY task, it’s in your best to call a professional technician.
Some manufacturers use a dip tube with a curved bottom that swirls the water around. It reduces sediment buildup and makes it easier to flush out. You can curve the end of a dip tube by heating it over a flame and bending it by hand.
Safety Before you start
- Turn off the gas/power units.
- For electric units, turn off the electrical switch in your electric board.
- Find the dial and swing it to either the “Off” or “Vacation” position for gas units.
Turn off the cold water inlet valve on top of the water heater and always close off the water at the meter or pump to be extra safe.
We cover this water heater dip tube replacement in extensive detail. The replacement task is a simple process that involves simple tools.
Step 1. Cut the power to the water heater.
Ensure that the power is off before performing any maintenance work on your dip tube water heater.
For an electric water heater, check the breaker at your circuit breaker panel that connects to your water heater and turn it off. If you have a gas water breaker, locate the “on/off” dial on your water breaker and turn it off.
Step 2. Turn the cold water inlet valve off.
Shut off the cold water supply to the water heater before performing dip tube replacement. The cold water shut-off valve is usually found just above the water heater.
Step 3. Drain a few gallons of water from the tank.
Clear any remaining water from the hot water pipes that are above the level of the top of the tank. This is done by draining a few gallons of water through the drain valve from the tank.
Step 4. Disconnect the cold-water supply line at the top of the water heater.
To remove the internal dip tube from your water heater, cut the pipe between the cold water shut-off valve and the water heater. Tighten the tubing cutter around the pipe and rotate until it is completely cut.
Some water may come out after you cut the pipe, although it may not be much.
Step 5. Remove the Dip Tube.
You will see your dip tube at the top of your water heater. It will typically have a pipe nipple remove the connector, and then you can begin the loosen the nipple counterclockwise with a wench. The dip tube is connected to the nipple; be careful when removing it as you could have a broken dip-tube.
Using a pipe wrench, remove the remaining pipe from the dip tube, followed by the dip tube itself. If you find your dip tube in good condition, other problems may affect it. However, if it is heavily corroded and there are missing chunks due to disintegration, you will likely need to replace the dip tube.
Step 6. Replace and Install the New Dip Tube.
With your new dip tube, wrap the threads with a plumber’s tape or with a pipe joint compound. This will seal the threads and prevent leaks.
Insert the dip tube into the tank, ensuring the tube is flush with the top of your tank, and then reconnect your pipes with a wrench.
Step 7. Refill the Water Tank.
Disconnect your hose and close the drain valve. Begin to turn the pressure relief valve counterclockwise to close it, then turn on all your hot water taps, and you can then open the inlet pipe valve.
You need to refill the water heater tank back with water, so open your cold pipe valve for this to allow the water back into the tank. Once you have left your water taps open for 3 mins, you can begin to close them.
This will remove any air and water in the system. After a successful flush, you can turn back the power to your tank and at your mains.
How Much Does it Cost To Replace Dip Tube In Water Heater?
The average cost of replacing a water heater dip tube is around $75-$100. Depending on size, make, and model, water heater dip tubes price is $20-$40. You can buy the dip tube from your local hardware store. If your water heater is under warranty, you may be able to get the replacement for free.
Replacing the water heater dip tube is something that anyone can do and can help you save time and money on water heater repair. All you need are the right tools and the knowledge to do it. Feel free to comment on any problems you may have while doing water heater dip tube replacement.