water heater dip tube pic2Removing a water heater dip tube will involve unhooking the cold water supply line. To do this the water heater needs to be turned off. Additionally, the excess water in the lines needs to be drained down.

At this point, you should have already purchased a dip tube. If not, see the article, 'Purchasing a Dip Tube' for some things to watch for. Not sure if this is your problem? See the articles, 'Gas Water Heater Troubleshooting' and 'Troubleshooting Electric Water Heaters' for a listing of all the water heater repair subjects.

Shutting Down the Water Heater

For an electric hot water heater the first thing you want to do is shut off the power. Make sure you tag the breaker while you are working on it. You do not have to touch the electrical wiring for this repair, but you do not want the water heating up.

See the article 'Shutting Down an Electric Water Heater' for instructions on the right procedure. You can damage the internal components in a water tank if it is not shut down correctly. For a gas water heater see, 'Shutting Down a Gas Water Heater'.

On a gas hot water heater turn off the gas. Or set the dial on the gas valve to 'Pilot'.

Close the cold water inlet at the top. Run some hot water and check the pipes if you are not sure. Open a hot water valve in a sink near the hot water tank to relieve any latent pressure. It would be best to choose a valve that is lower than the top of your hot water tank if that is possible. Water will find its own level when you remove the valve and it will back up through the hot water tank.

You may want to drain a gallon or two of water out of the tank. It is not necessary to drain the tank entirely. The drain valve is near the bottom of the tank. See the article 'Draining a Water Heater' for instructions on how to do this.

Removing the Water Supply Line

You should have a union above your hot water tank and below your shut off valve. Using two pipe wrenches loosen the union. Next you want to remove the nipple that is between the union and the top of the hot water tank. Use some penetrating oil and let it set for a few minutes. It may take a little muscle to get the nipple to loosen up.


Take the nipple completely out. The flange of the dip tube should be resting on a metal flange inside the inlet. There will be a ring gasket that you will need to remove. You can use a pair of pliers to get the dip tube out. Is it long and undamaged? You may not need to replace it. Broken, corroded or partially disintegrated dip tubes should be replaced.

With the old dip tube removed, you are ready to install the new one. See the article 'Installing a Dip Tube' for the next step.