Workaround for water heater with broken diptube

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Old 01-14-17, 01:34 PM
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Workaround for water heater with broken diptube

I have an old Marathon plastic waterheater which has served me well for at least 20 years. Unfortunately it had a Perfection Mfg. dip tube, which, judging from symptoms is pretty much disintegrated (small pieces in water, hot water lasts just a few minutes.)
The configuration of the small area in which the tank resides would make it very difficult to tip the tank at the angle at which there would be sufficient clearance to install a new dip tube.
While not optimal, it strikes me that the tank could be drained and flushed and the input reoriented to enter at the drain faucet opening. I believe some tanks not having dip tubes are already designed this way.
May I have comments on this? If positive, I will go ahead.
Thank you!
 
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Old 01-14-17, 01:40 PM
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Yes, you can remove the drain valve and install a tee (may need a nipple between the tank and the tee) then feed the cold water into the bottom of the tank. Don't forget to close the original inlet connection.

I am assuming that the tank has threaded connections for the inlet and drain piping. Be careful that you don't break the plastic or the heater will be just a piece of junk.
 
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Old 01-14-17, 08:18 PM
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Thank you!!! Believe me, I am worried about trying to unscrew any of the fittings, especially given their likely state of corrosion. The input has a gate valve so no need to unscrew anything.
Ideally I would like to avoid unscrewing the drain faucet, but if connected to the hose threads I would probably notice the volume reduction as compared to 3/4 inch. I'm away from the house right now, but it might be a threaded plastic fauce in which case I'm probably saved.
I have never seen this solution discussed before. You probably know there was a successful class action suit that would have helped me had I known, but which required claims before 2000.
 
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Old 01-15-17, 05:11 AM
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I might add to Furd's comments that if the tank is 20 years old there will more than likely a large amount of sediment, scale and pieces of dip tube laying on the bottom.
Unless you are able to properly clean the tank you will be stirring up the sediment with every time you draw water.
Assuming this is an electric hwh a way to check scale is to remove lower element and use a thin enough probe to scoop the bottom or just maybe look in there.

I suspect after 20 years of faithfull service it might be time to replace it.
 
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Old 01-16-17, 11:14 PM
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As per GregH's comment: This is a plastic tank manufactured by Marathon with a lifetime guarantee so I would suspect minimal debris, aside from the tube residue. But wouldn't that float? I see it floating in the bath water quite often. Thank you.
 
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Old 01-17-17, 06:17 AM
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The lifetime warranty on the tank has nothing to do with sediment formation on the bottom of the tank.

In my opinion, trying to relocate the tank inlet to the drain valve would to me seem like twice the amount of work as it would be to just drain the tank and remove it to replace the dip tube.

This would give you the opportunity to install unions to remove tank next time if yours does not have them.
 
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