What is wrong with our water heater?

In 1988 we bought a water heater it was called 'state'.

In 1997, a flood came and we had to have it cleaned out and a new burner put inside of it.

Now we are getting about 15 minutes of hot water. We have to wait for us to get hot water Any more and it only produces usless than 15 minutes of hot water before the water turns cool again.

What should we do?

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Best Answer

Sounds like a broken or cracked dip tube which is allowing cold water to enter near the top of the heater rather than at the bottom as it should. Then you only get several minutes of hot water until the cold water enters and mixes with the hot water in the heater at the top. That is a common issue especially on some older models with plastic/defective dip tubes. You can replace the dip tube fairly cheaply or given the age of the unit, it might be wiser to spend money on a new water heater. At 20-30 years old, it's well beyond a typical lifespan.

Dip tube issues....
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Answers

It sounds like one of the electric coilsOR its associated thermostats is kaput. Since it has lasted this long, maybe it is worth fixing, install a new anode etc. The new ones don't last anything like that long. On the other hand it could be rusty inside.
One thing you can do cheap (free) is drain and flush the unit,employing agarden hose to the outside.This will always improve performance.

The unfortunate part is nearly all of the new ones are scrap.

It has lasted 30 yrs, time to buy a new one.

I don't understand

have you tried draining it of 'silt' ???

I don't know the specific problem with your water heater, but a 30 year old water heater is WELL PAST its expected lifespan.

that is a very old hot water heater could be time for a new one

Was there plumbing done anywhere else in the house? At or after 1997? I don't care if it is the remote washroom in the garage...if it has hot water it is tied to the tank. Here is a wild stab in the dark.Follow the hot line to every faucet, especially the last addition to the house.If the hot water somehow Tees to the cold water line then THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Think of water like driving down a highway single lane.That is hot water from the tank to the tap with no connection to the cold water at all.
If you have a connection then the hot water tank now has to heat the entire water system back to the water source...which may be a lake.Not just the water in the hot water tank.I found this when an outdoor laundry sink on a porch that had both hot and cold water had the plumbing disconnected by a so called plumber.So instead of leaving the taps outdoors he brought the pipes into the house and then joined the hot to the cold with a U joint type connection.He should have left the taps on or capped the individual lines to do it properly. He joined hot and cold together at the farthest point away from the hot water tank.Then nailed plywood over it to hide it on the inside. It took awhile to find as I had 3 bathrooms, 3 kitchen sinks, and a heated floor(heated with water) Of all this plumbing I did one bathroom.None of the other.
The entire house heating was also affected as the floor was not being heated as warm as it should have been..
1 1/2" connection done wrong messed it up.

Maybe check for that first before blaming the gas hot water tank.

As for longevity of the tank....mine has been in 45 years. without a problem.Usually they start leaking when they start failing...meaning they are rusting through.Only solution is replacement.

It's antiquated and not designed to last a life time.
Get it removed and a new modern heater installed. in the long run it will save you so much time and money.