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What Is a Hot Water Heater Dip Tube?

What Is a Hot Water Heater Dip Tube?

A dip tube performs a crucial function in your hot water heater, but you might have never heard of it. This unsung hero of the water heater transports cold water to the burner located at the bottom of the tank. Without this essential piece, the water coming out of the faucet would be cold. Keep reading to discover the basics of water heater dip tubes, and how to know when it’s time to get yours replaced.

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Water Heater Dip Tubes

The water in a water heater has to come from somewhere. It comes from a cold water inlet. The dip tube is attached to this inlet and brings the cold water directly to the burner at the bottom of the tank. With a dip tube, the cold water coming into the tank and the hot water going out into the house do not mix.

How Common Are Dip Tubes?

Dip tubes are most common in electric and gas water heaters. If the cold water inlet is on the side or bottom of the tank, a dip tube is not needed.

How Do I Know It Needs To Be Replaced?

Since dip tubes are made of plastic and are constantly submerged in water of various temperatures and acidity, they erode over time.

Newer dip tube models are less prone to corrosion and can withstand water temperatures as well as impurities in the water.

Here are three signs that your dip tube needs replacing:

  • There are pieces of plastic in your drain
  • Water starts out hot but turns cold quickly
  • Water never gets hot

Water Heater Repair

Where to Find a Replacement

A replacement dip tube can be found online or at a hardware store. They come in various sizes, so check your water heater manufacturer’s guide or website for your heater’s specifications. Price wise, a replacement can range from $7 to $40.

Easily Replace a Dip Tube in 5 Steps

With your newly acquired dip tube, you’re ready to replace it. You can do this on your own by following these steps, or you can enlist the help of a professional plumber.

Step 1

Turn off the water heater, electricity, and water supply.

Step 2

Drain the water to remove any pieces of plastic in the tank.

Tips & Insights: How Do I Know If My Water Heater Has a Flue Baffle?

Step 3

Carefully remove the pipe at both ends to expose the dip tube. You can now slowly remove the dip tube with a flat screwdriver.

Step 4

Insert the new dip tube.

Step 5

Turn the water supply back on and refill the tank while keeping a hot water faucet open. This helps remove any air stuck in the system. After a few minutes of letting the air out, turn the tank back on.


Water Heater Repair & Replacement Services From Horizon

If you need a water heater dip tube replaced or repaired, trust the plumbing experts at Horizon Services to get you back to enjoying hot water whenever you want it. We offer exceptional water heater repair and water heater replacement services for homes in Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. In addition, our team of licensed plumbers offer other types of plumbing services such as sump pump repair, sewer line replacement, and water softener installation. For over 30 years, families have relied on Horizon to keep them comfortable. Give our team a call by phone at 1-800-642-4419 or book your appointment online for fast service.


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