I am a Northern Utah home inspector and many of my clients have been affected by failed water heater dip tubes. This information has been compiled for their benefit, but I realize that most of my visitors are from other parts of the world. Please take a moment and send me your information and dip tube experiences.
LATEST QUESTION: “Does the dip tube drop in or thread in?”
DIP TUBE CLASS ACTION, FAILURE, & WARRANTY COVERAGE: There was a now expired nationwide dip tube class action settlement program that required that households affected properly file claims on or before December 31, 2000. Under the terms of the class action settlement, after that date, no more repairs were required to be made by the manufacturers. The court order approving the class action settlement only provided for dip tube repairs up until December 31, 2000.
If you are the owner of a water heater that would have been covered by the class action settlement and you did not file a claim in a timely manner, then the manufacturers will NOT handle your claim to provide services related to the failure or other issues related to your water heater's dip tube. The only exception to this are the units that are still under their manufacturer warranties. If your water heater has a failed dip tube and it is over 5 years old, then either replace the dip tube and anode rod, or replace the entire unit, and then flush the hot water piping and fixture system. Visit my DIP TUBE TOPICS section for info on these steps.
MY ADDED OPINION: Water heaters are now built with designed obsolescence. Most have a five year warranty and are designed to last 5 years and a day. The manufacturers make money selling water heaters and the plumbers get paid to install them. If your unit is over 5 years old, then don't throw good money after a worn out unit. The days of the water heater that will last 20 or 30 years are long gone. 8 to 12 years is a long life for modern units with earlier failures becoming more and more common. Changing the water heater alone is not enough when dip tubes fail. The hot water plumbing and fixture systems also need to be flushed to clean the plastic debris from the failed dip tube.