November 13, 2005
A few small repairs
A brief follow-up to the continuing saga of the laundry room. I got a proper breaker for the water heater which puts a single switch on two branches, rather than the two separate breakers that had been in there, probably illegally, before. That cost about $15 and about 5 minutes, not counting Home Depot time.
I had also been concerned that the water heater seemed quite inefficient since I reinstalled it. It was producing hot water, but only enough for one shower, and not even a long one at that. I figured that all that manhandling I'd subjected it to had probably done something to one of the heating elements. I was thinking of pulling those and replacing them.
When I was researching that, I also ran across a suggestion that inefficient hot water can be caused by a broken dip tube, which carries the incoming cold water from the inlet (on the top of the water heater) to the bottom of the heater for heating. A broken dip tube lets cold water into the top of the heater, where the hot water is (since it rises). The article I was reading suggested: "A sign of this is just a few minutes of hot water before it turns cold."
That sounded suspiciously familiar. I went and had a look at the cold water inlet in my water heater to see how I might go about taking it off to get at the dip tube. While I was cogitating on the fact that the inlet appeared to have no obvious way to dismantle it, I noticed that the cold water inlet was connected to the outgoing hot water pipe. And the incoming cold water was connected to the hot water outlet.
Oops. I guess that I hooked them up backward last time. Gee, could this have anything to do with small quantity of hot water I was getting out of the beast?
I'm surprised I was getting as much hot water out of it as I was, actually. But anyway, I exchanged them and all seems to be ok now. Just to be sure, though, I went and took a long, hot shower.