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What Does It Mean When My Faucets Alternate Between Hot and Cold Water?

Have you ever been taking a warm shower and suddenly been hit with a blast of cold water? It’s certainly an unpleasant issue, but one that tends to be limited to one specific cause. If you have this problem, you should call for a plumber to examine your water heater for you. While you’re waiting, let’s go over why this happens in the first place.

The Dip Tube

If you use a tank water heater, as most people do, then your water heater contains a part called a dip tube. The dip tube runs from the water line down through the top of the storage tank, letting out near the bottom. All new water that enters the water heater flows through the dip tube. The reason the dip tube is there is to ensure that cool water is always injected closest to the burner assembly, where it will warm up the fastest. Hot water is taken from near the top of the tank, so the dip tube has the added function of making sure that no cold water makes it into the plumbing system from the water heater. However, the dip tube can become cracked or broken over time.

If your water heater has a broken dip tube, it’s possible that cold water is leaking into the supply of hot water instead of traveling to the bottom of the tank to be heated. Depending on where the break is located, this might be why you suddenly receive short bursts of cold water when you’re expecting heat. Fortunately, the dip tube is fairly easy to replace, so your system can be restored to proper function in short order.

If you think your water heater needs repairs, call The Sunny Plumber. We offer a full range of water heater repair services throughout Phoenix, AZ. 

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