gas water heater capacity
Posted by jJoey on February 21, 2004 at 13:51:04:
I have a 40 gallon Bradford White gas water heater, Model MI40S5LN10. It was installed on 8/24/94. In the past week, I have noticed a significant decrease in its hot water capacity (shower, sinks, everywhere.) I have checked into a few things, with these results:

1) I turned up the thermostat. The heater turned on and remained on for several minutes. I could also turn it off by turning down the thermostat. I conclude that the thermostat appears to be working properly.

2) I visually inspected the burner. The flames are blue and appear to be as large as I would expect. The house also uses natural gas for heating and cooking, and I have not noticed any problem with either. I conclude that I have adequate gas pressure and the water heater burner is working properly.

3) I searched for white plastic remnants of the dip tube in my faucet aerators. I only found one small speck. I put it in vinegar and it did not react. I conclude it is not calcium carbonate.

4) The water heater is in the basement, not on a slab, and I have not noticed any hot water leaks anywhere in the house. I conclude the hot water is not leaking somewhere unobserved.

Does this rule out everything except a dip tube failure?

Even though the tank is nearly 10 years old, I am game to just replace the dip tube, since if the tank leaks, it will be just in the unfinished basement. I have enough head room to install a replacement dip tube. I'm wondering how they are installed. Are they a separate piece or somehow integrally attached to the pipe nipple? If separate, are there different designs, such as flanged vs. flared, etc., and how do I know which kind I need without dismantling it first.

Thank you for your help.
Joey


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