Hi Randy and Larry,
Thank You for the site and the input on my problem.
Here is what I found and what I did …..
When I removed the cold port there was no dip tube left. I drained the tank and removed the drain valve. with a flashlight I could see in the tank. The old tube was in smallish chunks all over the bottom but it was so brittle there didn’t appear to be any substantial size pieces left. I put on a piece of 3/4 pipe about 8″ long to get good flow out the bottom. Then fitted the tank with a curved dip tube and reconnected the cold supply line which has a ball valve to shut off the water. Using that I shot short bursts of water which yielded UNBELIEVABLE amounts of crud ( looked like part of the anode and a bunch of pieces of dip tube). After a few times there was quite an improvement (decrease) in the stuff coming out.
I tied a key chain LED flashlight on a string and lowered it into the tank. This gave me a GREAT view of the inside of the tank. The flashlights are available for a dollar or two from HARBOR FREIGHT. Still looked kinda messy so I took a section of garden hose ( no ends) and “rigged” it to the cold water supply with a couple fittings and a hose clamp. By putting that thru one of the openings in the top of the tank I was able to remove almost all the rest of the crud after many, many short bursts of water. Finally, I hooked the hose/fittings rig to the top (hot out) port and filled the tank and let the water come out the top and into the floor drain to get the floating pieces out.
Hooked it back up and it is working GREAT. We have LOADS of hot water so I have to assume the dip tube had been disintegrating over a long period of time.
When I replaced the drain valve I put in a high flow ball valve with hose threads and a cap as you sell on the site. Sorry, didn’t have time to order one of yours, needed it back working ASAP.
AGAIN, THANK YOU for saving me a ton of money. I am sure a “regular” plumber would have just said I needed a new water heater.