Hot Water Repair


Have you noticed that your water heater isn’t able to produce the volume of hot water that it once did? One of the commonest causes of this is a broken dip tube, inside the tank. Replacing the dip tube is an easy and inexpensive fix. This shows a step by step example of this repair. Edit: Several people in the audience suggested that I missed the opportunity to install unions at the connection points, which would have allowed easier replacement of the water heater in the future. They are right about that and I would recommend that be done also.

This video is posted for entertainment purposes, and is not a comprehensive instructional guide. I am not a professional plumber, and so if you intend to do this yourself you will need to study this topic in more depth from multiple sources before trying it yourself. The accuracy of the appended information is not guaranteed, and you need to check your local plumbing code before proceeding with any attempted repair. Any misadventure resulting from your attempt to accomplish any plumbing repair is your responsibility.

25 thoughts on “Hot Water Repair”

  1. These days, water heaters are much more poorly made, and it’s annoying they
    don’t make it easy to extend their lives. Consumers make it worse by being
    unwilling to put in the effort. And, the mark-up on a water heater is so
    much higher than just a dip tube that professionals don’t participate in
    maintenance either.

  2. You missed the opportunity to install a union on your supply, which would
    allow for easier servicing and future replacement.I like to use unions and
    ball valves on both risers. This allow me to pull out the unit and flush it
    outside with a garden hose if need be. Also young man, you didn’t wipe your
    joints.~ Picky old plumber

  3. Do you always have to solder the pipes? Mine seem to be attached with a
    bolt that is separate from the pipe.

  4. great vid! but i cant believe you put that saddle tap compression fitting
    feeding your humidifier back on , it would have been the perfect time to
    install a 3/4 inch tee fitting and then install a reducer to a 3/8 or 1/4
    turn stop valve to tie that in giving you valve control of humidifier in
    case of maintenance repair, which will never leak. That saddle tap
    compression valve is a water leak waiting for you to go on vacation to
    happen! just check insurance statistics why do leaks occur when we are on
    vacation??? thats a great mystery! that kind of valve is what rent owners
    use, plumbers never use these, too much of a warranty liability, ask any
    local plumber about these that puncture pipe and compress over pipe with
    rubber compression to stop a leak which has just been created, its a
    redundant design, easy but not good for long term, please dont get
    offended, it just looks like you like to do things correctly and that
    surprised me

  5. I suppose this is a pretty hopeless DIY if you have no clearance above your
    heater? It’s in the crawl space with about a foot above the tank to work

  6. I just did this and the pipe was inside the heater. Any other idea why the
    water just get hot for 15 min ?

  7. Thank you for the very informative video on how water heaters work. I
    learned alot from this video. Keep posting please.

  8. Helpful video, thank you! Question – is it necessary to turn OFF the gas
    completely for this? I’m about to check mine (13 year old AO Smith that
    has recently not had as much hot water as it used to), but would prefer to
    not turn the gas off completely. Can it just be turned to the pilot
    setting and temp all the way down? Re-lighting it is a bit scary so I’d
    like to avoid it if it’s not necessary.

  9. Thanks so much for this vid. I have a 13 year old A.O. Smith unit from 2000
    that wasn’t producing as much hot water as it used to. I really wanted to
    see if it was the dip tube so I bought one for $4 at a local plumbing
    supply store (couldn’t find one at any retail store). Also bought from Home
    Depot nipples, a 24″ braided line with a Sharkbite connector, and a female
    to female 3/4″ Sharkbite coupling. Had to cut the cold-in pipe, and was
    able to get the old nipple out with a big pipe wrench. I looked in with a
    flashlight and could tell it was cracked and in bad shape. I was able to
    pull the dip tube out in once piece, although it was cracked/shredded from
    top to bottom. I installed the new one and reconnected everything using all
    the extra parts I bought (I really thought it all through beforehand –
    exactly how I was going to hook everything back up). I’m very happy to say
    we are now enjoying lots of hot water again!!

  10. Is there a life expectancy for water heaters manufactured in the 90’s? Do
    you think they will last longer than the ones manufactured in 2014 or so?
    I have an AO Smith from 1996, will change both the dip tube and Anode rod.
    I am kinda wondering if 25 years is “unheard of” regarding life

  11. Did your $10 dip tube come with the dielectric nipple, or did you re-use
    the original?
    I just came back from the hardware store, and the dip tube the man showed
    me was just the plastic part. It had a flange on it (sort of like a sink’s
    tailpiece) and man said to drop it into hole, insert supplied washer, then
    screw old nipple in. Does this sound right to you.?

    Also, very nice video. Good content. Well prepared and presented.


  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We have hot water once again! When my
    husband removed the pipe, there was not even a dip tube attached anymore,
    just like in your video. We didn’t even have to cut pipes or anything, but
    he did have to replace the top fitting because it bent when he removed it.
    We had ordered a dip tube online from (some time ago,
    actually, but just this weekend had the time to perform this task, but
    shipping was pretty fast, about 4 days) and had to cut a little of it
    off…anyway, long story short, we have LOTS of hot water again vs. the 5
    minutes of pretty hot then cold water! Hallelujah! Plus, I love the fact
    that that big old water tank, which had nothing wrong with it otherwise,
    will not end up in a landfill anytime soon. Ours is a AO Smith from 1997.
    We could not have done it without your step by step instructions! Thanks
    again, for the 4th time!

  13. This video is very helpful so thanks for sharing. You mentioned at the very
    end to watch leaks. So what if there’s leak coming out from the top? This
    is what’s happening to my water boiler. I started seeing water coming from
    the top by hot water pipe. Your help is appreciated.

  14. Dielectric Unions would be the best option ultimately. This allows you to
    disconnect and remove the water heater much easier. Also you shouldn’t
    mate copper to galvanized iron since they are dissimilar metals and can
    corrode very quickly. Generally though that seems to occur more often if
    you have a stray current going through your pipes.

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