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replacing dip tube in Rheem "Professional 50" home  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Wed Oct 4th, 2006 04:58 am
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hammondr
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I've read on your site all about the faulty dip tubes of the '90s, and Rheem has confirmed that I have one of "those" tubes installed. So, I jaunted down to my local plumbing supply and bought all I thought I might need to fix this problemo quickly.

I think this is my tank: http://www.rheem.com/Documents/Product Catalog/Residential/Gas/RHGuarProfessionalGas_101-14.pdf

Unfortunately, I'm stumped about how to remove the dip tube in this heater! I wish I had a handy digital camera to show you what it looks like -- that would really help. What I'd like to do is to describe as best I can the hook-up, and ask you all for advice -- other than to call a professional. :)

The cold water supply to this heater goes through a gate valve, sweated to a ~8" copper pipe with a female threaded adapter sweated to the end. (Man, a picture would really help here!) At the top of the tank, there is about 1/4" of thread visible before it enters the female adapter.

I can't see a way to unthread the dip tube from the tank. I've seen some references to a 7/8" hole saw that might be needed to remove or replace a dip tube, but I don't really see how that would help me in this case. The thread, which I assume is the top of the installed dip tube, is coming out of a solid round 'thingy' on top of the heater. (Man, a picture would really help here!) The 'thingy' is the same on the hot water outlet and the anode hole.

I don't think I'm supposed to drill out that thingy, since it seems pretty integral to how the tube is installed into the tank. I also don't want to just go experimenting and cutting the cold water intake in hopes I can figure out what to do next.

Any suggestions? My next step (should have been my first) is to call Rheem techinical support.

Thanks,
Ryan

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 Posted: Wed Oct 4th, 2006 06:34 am
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eleent
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Hello:  From your description, your tank is "hard plumbed".  That is, no flex connector was used and it sounds like no union was used.  The only way to get access to the dip tube is to remove the plumbing down to the tank.  You'll likely need to cut the copper tubing and redo it, preferably using a flex connector.

Once the piping is removed, a wooden dowel or straight handled channelocks can be inserted into the dip tube and  then pulled up while moving in a circular motion. This will walk the old dip tube up so you can grasp it... if there is actually anything left :?   They often are quite delicate, so remove it slowly and with care.

Once you have a new dip tube in place, I'd replace the gate valve with a threaded ball valve. Do this by sweating a male adaptor onto the copper pipe and screwing the ball valve to it.  Add a 3" brass nipple to the valve.  Go from there to a copper flex connector and then to a plastic lined nipple in the tank. That's what this plumber would do ;)

Yours,  Larry

ps. Considering the age of the tank, this plumber would also replace the anode!

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 Posted: Wed Oct 4th, 2006 06:35 am
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elenano
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The copper pipe is screwed onto a pipe nipple. The dip tube will be beneath that nipple, resting on a steel ring. Someone is probably going to have to cut the copper plumbing, unscrew what's left from the nipple, then remove the nipple.

After that, a dowel has a certain charm for removing the old dip tube, which merely sits on the steel ring. Use a mixing motion, always upward until the tube comes out. Then you put the new one in (I presume you got a simple replacement and not a combination dip tube/nipple), replace the nipple with six wraps of Teflon tape, and solder a threaded male adapter onto the end of the cut copper pipe. That way you can use a threaded copper flex line to connect to the nipple and not have to go through this mess the next time you need to get into your water heater.

If the replacement dip tube has a nipple integral to it, that's when you need the hole saw, to drill out that steel ring. Odds are the nipple won't screw in with it there. Then you screw in the nipple, using six wraps of Teflon tape,  and proceed, as above, with the copper pipe.

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Wed Oct 4th, 2006 05:25 pm
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hammondr
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elnano and eleent,

First of all, thanks for your very, very quick (almost simultaneous) replies! I think you may be just the pair to help me ... fingers crossed ...

Yes, I can see why you'd describe my tank as "hard plumbed". No flex hosing, and I do see the benefit of replacing the current piping with flex when I do the job.

I did buy a combination nipple and dip tube, but the Rheem parts catalog shows the proper replacement part is SP11248R (http://www.rheem.com/Documents/PartsCatalog/WHPartsGuide2006_PPC101R1.pdf). The associated picture shows the kind of tube you are describing ... one that would sit on a metal ring.

If the replacement dip tube has a nipple integral to it, that's when you need the hole saw, to drill out that steel ring. Odds are the nipple won't screw in with it there. Then you screw in the nipple, using six wraps of Teflon tape, and proceed, as above, with the copper pipe.

Q1: So, if I take eleent's advice to cut above the current gate valve and add (from "top" to "bottom"):

existing copper cold water source
|
v
copper male threaded adapter
|
v
threaded ball valve
|
v
3" brass nipple
|
v
copper flex connector
|
v
My already-bought combo dip tube

....or, if I want to go on the cheap(er).... cut below the current gate valve and add:

3" brass nipple
|
v
copper flex connector
|
v
My already-bought combo dip tube

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm still having a hard time imagining what to drill out, and I'd like to understand better before I start ...

The copper pipe is screwed onto a pipe nipple. The dip tube will be beneath that nipple, resting on a steel ring. Someone is probably going to have to cut the copper plumbing, unscrew what's left from the nipple, then remove the nipple.

Q2: If I have a dip tube as pictured in the Rheem manual, are you saying that there is a pipe nipple just sort of resting on top of the plastic dip tube (i.e., no connection, threaded or otherwise, between the nipple and dip tube)?

If I drill out the steel ring, what will the new combo dip tube that I bought screw into on the tank? I get the connection from the cold water supply to the dip tube, but what is "sealing" the connection between the dip tube and the water tank itself if I drill out the steel ring you've described?

Is there a place I can find pictures of this setup (the dip tube - to tank-like-mine connection)?

Thanks a ton! If we can't figure this out today, I'll use my wife's camera tonight to upload some photos.

Thanks for the help!!!

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 Posted: Wed Oct 4th, 2006 07:11 pm
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elenano
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You are almost there. Everything is right except that if you have a combination nipple/dip tube, it replaces the dip tube you're getting rid of and the nipple, which doesn't rest on top of it, but is screwed into the port above it. The only thing you drill out is the steel ring the current dip tube rests on. The dip tube is flared at the top and that's what rests on the ring. And it's really no big deal: 30 seconds with a hole saw and that's it.

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Wed Oct 4th, 2006 08:25 pm
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hammondr
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Randy, thanks again for the super speedy reply. I'm hoping to get this done before my wife & kids come home from a beach outing tonight. :)

elnano / Randy Schuyler wrote:
...if you have a combination nipple/dip tube, it replaces the dip tube you're getting rid of and the nipple, which doesn't rest on top of it, but is screwed into the port above it.

I think I understand how the current dip tube is situated in the tank, but not so sure about what happens between the top of the flared dip tube opening and the nipple or threads I see coming out of the current tank. I can't tell from what you just wrote if there is anything between the "nipple in the port above it" and the tube itself. I am thinking there must be something there that prevents water shooting out everywhere, but I'm not understanding it from the visual I have and your explanation.

I'm sorry to be so dense, but can you make another stab at telling me what is going on between the nipple I see and the dip tube I don't see (but can mentally picture sitting in a steel ring)?

elnano / Randy Schuyler wrote:
...The dip tube is flared at the top and that's what rests on the ring. And it's really no big deal: 30 seconds with a hole saw and that's it.

My last bit of stumped-osity, I think: If I drill out the ring the current tube is sitting in, and the combo dip tube is threaded into a male connector at the cold water inlet, what keeps the water in the tank from shooting up out of the tank? That must sound funny to read .... What I'm picturing is the "top" section of the dip tube's threads connecting to a copper flex connector, with the "bottom 1/2" of the dip tube's threaded section not threaded into anything. (If the steel ring is gone, what's left to thread the bottom 1/2 into?) Surely the tube tube doesn't just hang down into the tank through where the steel ring used to stop the old dip tube ... with nothing "sealing" the resulting torrent of cold water in the tank?!

Is this making sense? I feel like you've helped bring me 98% of the way there, but my mind isn't getting that last (and critical) 2%.

:)

Thanks again,
Ryan

Last edited on Wed Oct 4th, 2006 08:30 pm by hammondr

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 Posted: Wed Oct 4th, 2006 08:43 pm
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hammondr
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Hmmm...

I just took another look at the tank top, and think I should revise my earlier information. :shock:

It looks like what I thought was a female adapter at the end of the cold water supply pipes, with a threaded nipple coming up out of the water heater is probably not right. That seems like a relatively important detail. :)

Upon further inspection, it looks like both the cold supply pipe and hot outlet pipe have male adapters on the end that screw right into the top of the unit's ports.

(In short, what I thought were threads coming out of the tank and connecting to a female adapter are really male threads coming down from the supply/outlet pipes and into the tank...)

That makes my mental picture much easier to jive with Randy's and Larry's earlier posts.

If I cut that cold water pipe, I should be able to unscrew the threaded male end of the pipe from the water heater ... where I'll find a dip tube hanging through a steel ring. Use a pinky, dowel, etc. to remove the old dip tube, then a hole saw to take out the steel ring... thread the new combo dip tube into the tank (with lots of teflon tape), attach previously mentioned flex tube, etc. all the way up...

Does that sound right?!

Eureka? :)

-Ryan

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 Posted: Thu Oct 5th, 2006 03:13 am
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hammondr
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well, right or wrong, it's done now. :) I'll post photos of the finished work tomorrow.

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 Posted: Thu Oct 5th, 2006 08:21 am
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elenano
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Yes. And as you've doubtless already figured out, water won't be shooting anywhere because once you've screwed in the nipple and screwed plumbing onto the top of that, it will be a closed system.

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Wed Apr 11th, 2012 10:23 pm
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sev0099
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I have a question for you. I assume the hot water outlet tube is the same as the dip tub, just cut shorter. How long should the water outlet tube be? Maybe a 12 to 18 inches? I couldn't find a part for the out tube so have just ordered 2 dip tubes, intending to cut one down. I have a 1998 Rheem rheemglass standard 81V66d b. Believe it or not the dip tub seems intact, but the feed tube broke off. going to replace both anyway. TY in advance for assistance.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 11th, 2012 10:43 pm
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elenano
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There is no such thing as a hot-water outlet tube. Either there is nothing in the hot port or there is a combo anode there. The dip tube should equal about two thirds the depth of the tank.

I'm not sure what you mean by feed tube. The dip tube, or cold-water inlet tube, sits below the cold port and is designed to carry cold water to the bottom to be heated and not mix with already-heated hot water at the top of the heater.

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2012 01:10 am
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sev0099
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For the hot water exiting the hot water heater, you have a pipe nipple. It is male threaded on both ends. One side seats into the tank and the other side connects to your flex tube. On the tank side under the nipple I found the remnants of a plastic pipe with flange. 3/4" diameter and only about 1/4" left unbroken. I assume the rest sits at the bottom of the tank. This is the piece I am referring too. In all the drawings I have seen on the net, they show a short pipe on the exit side. Much shorter than the cold water in "dip tube". My base problem is hot water flow. I have drained sediment 4 times. I have back flowed the hot water side from 3 faucets in the house. I have great flow into the tank. Also great flow from the pressure temperature valve. So I believe I need to replace this pick-up tube (not sure of proper name). See the graphic I attached. Look for (B. Hot Out). Notice the Hot out extends into the tank.

So how far should it extend into the tank for a Rheem Rheemglass Standard Model 81V66D B? Does this clarify my question? Sorry I don't know the proper names to describe.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2012 01:13 am
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sev0099
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Oh here is the diagram.

Attachment: WaterHeaterDiagram.JPG (Downloaded 64 times)

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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2012 01:33 am
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sev0099
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Picture 1 of 3

Attachment: 0411121922.jpg (Downloaded 64 times)

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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2012 01:33 am
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sev0099
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Picture 2 of 3

Attachment: 0411121921.jpg (Downloaded 63 times)

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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2012 01:34 am
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sev0099
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Picture 3 of 3

Attachment: 0411121920.jpg (Downloaded 64 times)

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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2012 04:53 am
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sev0099
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And 1 more picture. See red circle.

Attachment: WaterHeaterDiagram2.JPG (Downloaded 63 times)

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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2012 07:28 am
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elenano
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OK. The final diagram doesn't mean anything. The hot water outlet is just that. Heat trap nipples are common. The other diagram, from How Things Work, surprised me because I've never seen, or heard of, anything in the hot water outlet except a nipple or a combo anode.

I was kind of hoping Larry Weingarten would post, because he knows more things, about more things, especially water heater things, than anybody I know.

I don't believe in posting when I don't know the answer. In this case, I can't imagine why there would be a plastic tube in the hot port.

But if there was one, and it's gone, it wasn't much of a loss and I don't think you need to worry about replacing it.

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2012 09:09 am
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eleent
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Hello:  There is a water flow problem, so that needs looking into.  Dip tubes don't exist in the hot side of normal water heaters.  They do exist sometimes in solar tanks and certainly in tanks with bottom connected plumbing.  A short dip tube in the hot side of a standard heater would do a few things.  It would trap a bubble of air at the top of the tank.  It would reduce the available volume of hot water and it would leave the hottest water unused at the top of the tank.

Hot water floats on cold water  and that's why you want to take hot water from the very top of the tank.  I've looked into thousands of heaters and the thing you're looking for really doesn't exist and wouldn't be helpful if it did.  Now, there is a flow restriction someplace and we should find it...  ;)

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2012 08:50 pm
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sev0099
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Well there is defiantly a short pipe there 2" to 3". It appears it is needed to work. Whether it is needed for water flow I'm not sure, just guessing. On one of the sites pages "http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/WHRpages/English/Longevity/the-best-water-heater.html" it says in part "long about 2005, Rheem changed its design, with a deeper hot port that extends well below the threads, with the result that a standard combo anode won't go in without drilling out the port and may not allow water to pass even after that.". No one seems to sell the part its either part number AP8910-1 or SP20003. But SP20003 seems to be heat trap pipe nipples only. So I will cut a dip tube to 2" and use the gasket that comes with it. This heater must be an odd design.

Not sure what else to try on the water flow issue. I have drained the tank, and back flowed the hot side from 3 faucets in the house. Cleaned all the faucet screens. I guess I may have trash (broken hot outlet heat trap tube :cool:)in the line that I will have to get a plumber to fix. Unless there are other things to try?

Attachment: WaterHeaterDiagram3.JPG (Downloaded 59 times)

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