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DIPTUBE.INFO - DO-IT-YOURSELF REPLACEMENT

How do I repair a failed dip tube?

A.O. Smith has shared the following do-it-yourself step by step directions for dip tube replacement. Search the other portions of our site first to make sure that this is needed and then decide if this is a project that you want to take upon yourself, or whether you should seek out the professional help of a plumber.

Dip Tube Repair Procedure

PLEASE READ ALL THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION BEFORE ATTEMPTING REPAIR PROCEDURE:

This information is designed to address a common situation encountered in the operation of the product, and is not meant to be all-inclusive. If you are experiencing a problem not covered in this procedure, please contact Technical Information by submitting a question on our "Ask A Question" page/tab. This procedure is intended for use by licensed plumbing professionals, and reference should be made to the instruction manual accompanying the product. This applies to tank type top plumbed heaters only.

  • Shut off gas or electricity and water to unit.
  • Completely drain unit. Home owner may assist by doing this prior to arrival of the plumbing professional.
  • Disconnect piping at cold water inlet to access dip tube.
  • CAREFULLY remove remaining dip tube (to prevent further damage to tube). Additional parts may fall into the water heater creating more labor if dip tube is mishandled.
  • Loosely reconnect cold water supply pipe without dip-tube.
  • Remove drain valve.
  • Use flashlight to check for larger pieces and remove them.
  • Connect 3/4” nipple with hose adapter into the drain spud.
  • Connect garden hose to adapter and run into a floor drain.
  • Repeatedly flush unit by opening cold water supply at shut off and allow water to "shower" tank bottom for approximately 5-6 gallons. Allow unit to drain off each time.
  • REMOVE 3/4” nipple from the drain spud; again check for large pieces and remove.
  • REMOVE temperature and pressure relief valve and check for larger pieces and remove.
  • Set up wet vacuum appliance (shop vacuum).
  • Secure or hold vacuum hose to drain spud.
  • Turn on the vacuum and the cold water supply.
  • Allow water to fill above drain spud while running the vacuum.
  • Shut off supply water.
  • Continue to vacuum until unit is completely drained.
  • Repeat as necessary.
  • Look through drain spud to ensure no additional pieces of dip tube are floating in the tank. Remove pieces. If debris of dip tube is visible at this point, use 1/2" copper tubing with 90 degree extension adapted to the shop vacuum hose and collect additional debris with vacuum.
  • Install replacement dip tube.
  • Reconnect cold water supply pipe.
  • Reinstall drain valve.
  • Refill and re-light or re-energize unit.
  • REMOVE AND CLEAN faucet screens, shower heads, hot water supply filter to clothes washer and dishwasher, etc.
  • Flush water until all dip tube pieces have been flushed from the plumbing fixtures.

Added Information : Clean and flush your shop vacuum (remember if shop vacuum needs to be lifted, consider the weight of the water, 8 1/2 pounds per gallon).

If you have already had dip tube repairs performed and continue to have problems with a disintegrating dip tube you will need to contact the plumber or other service professional that performed the original repairs for follow up repair.  Included here is information from the Dip Tube Settlement regarding disintegrating dip tubes made by Perfection Corporation.

Paragraph 8.2.6 states that dip tube repairs made under the class action settlement program "shall be covered by the standard warranty of the service personnel performing the work." Our attorneys said that when dip tube customers call in and claim they need to have follow up repairs made, we should refer them back to the plumbers who did the repairs. We need to tell callers the following:

  • The plumber was responsible for making sure that all necessary repairs were properly made. That required him to assess the situation and determine what work was necessary to completely take care of the problem. At a minimum, it required him to determine if the dip tube had deteriorated and, if so, to flush out the water heater and the hot water pipes completely and to clean out all faucets, aerators and appliances hooked up to hot water.
  • Sometimes the dip tube broke off and part of it remained inside the water heater. It was the plumber’s responsibility to determine if that happened. If it did, the plumber should have attempted to fish the broken part out. If, in the plumber’s professional opinion, that was impossible, the plumber was to contact the Garden City Group and request authority to have the water heater replaced. If the plumber did not do that, he did not properly exercise his professional judgment and should be responsible for fixing the problem
 
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