Cracked dip tube may be culprit for cold sink

Q: I live in a 1,200-square-foot home with a 40-gallon water heater. The showers only take about a minute to get warm, but the sinks are always ice cold. Is there anything we can do to get hot water without getting an on-demand system?

A: Although getting an on-demand recirculation system is more reasonably priced than ever, there are some things you might want to check out first. Your problem could possibly be a broken or cracked dip tube - a plastic pipe located inside your water heater.

When the tube is damaged the cold water entering at the top of your water heater can dilute the supply of hot water. Turn off the water supply to the water heater. Remove the incoming cold water line connection at the top of the water heater to expose the dip tube. Remove it and check it for damage.

If the dip tube isnt damaged, try flushing your water heater to get rid of any sediment that may have settled inside. The sediment build-up can prevent your burners from heating efficiently. Also, try insulating your hot water lines.