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Ask the Carey Bros.

JAMES AND MORRIS CAREYthe associated press

Question: We own a 90-plus-year-old house. In the last nine months our hot water pressure has dropped to half of what our cold water pressure is. Our gas water heater is about six years old and we use city water. The pressure for the cold water seems normal at all faucets. We do not have soft water and lime deposits killed our previous electric water heater after 10 years of use. Is the water heater bad again? – TimAnswer: The sudden drop in hot water pressure is often due to corroded nipples at the top of your water heater. Most of the time this is an easy do-it-yourself repair.First, turn off the water supply valve to the water heater. Next, remove both supply pipes (usually flexible corrugated copper). Now you will have to remove the short piece of pipe at each of the openings. You’ll need a pipe wrench for these and supply lines.Here’s the glitch. Sometimes these pipes are so corroded they fall apart. Here is where you will either need to know about easy outs or where a call to the plumber is in order. In either case, once the old pipes are out you will want to replace them with new coated nipples. With these special nipples, the corrosion won’t come back and your hot water will again be free to run at full force.By the way, you may want to take the extra time to replace your cathodic anode. It will extend the life of your water heater many times over. The nipples should cost about $5 and the anode about $15.


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