How A Hot Water Heater Works

How Water Heaters Work

To understand how efficiently and effectively a water heater accomplishes its job, let’s take a closer look at what’s going on within the tank. The thermostat on a water heater is responsible for regulating the temperature of the water in the tank. Temperatures between 120 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit are usually OK in most cases (49 to 82 degrees Celsius). For the most part, manufacturers recommend that the water temperature be set between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to 60 degrees Celsius).

If you have youngsters in your household, it’s best to keep closer to the lower end of the price range than the upper end.

Most of the time, the thermostat is hidden under a protective cover plate and is controlled by a knob or dial that you can turn to adjust the temperature.

The heating device, which can be either a burner or an element, continues to operate until the water reaches the desired temperature.

Close to the top of the tank is a pipe that removes the heat.

Using the theory of heat rising to accomplish the difficult task of separating cold, entering water from hot, departing water is the key to understanding how a water heater is designed for this purpose.

Published on April 1, 2000 in the original version.

How Does a Hot Water Heater Work? Let Us Explain!

The less you have to think about your hot water heater, as is the case with most other household utilities, the better. The only thing that is actually vital to know is that it is operating to provide your house with the hot water that it requires. Nonetheless, having a basic understanding of how your water heater operates is always important. If the machine is one that is utilized on a regular basis, this is especially true. Water heaters are responsible for ensuring that water is delivered via the pipes to its intended destination at the right temperature every time you shower, wash dishes, or do a load of laundry.

Hot Water Heater Components

The less you have to think about your hot water heater, the better, as is true of most other household conveniences. Everything else is secondary; the most essential thing to know is that it is producing the hot water that you require. Nonetheless, having a basic understanding of how your water heater operates is always advantageous. If the machine is one that is utilized on a regular basis, this is particularly true.

Water heaters are responsible for ensuring that water flows through the pipes to its intended destination at the appropriate temperature every time you shower, wash dishes, or do a load of laundry. Describe the operation of your home’s hot water heater in detail.

Tank

In the same way that most other amenities of the house benefit from having you think less about them, the less you have to worry about your hot water heater the better. The only thing that matters is that it is supplying your house with the hot water that it requires. Nonetheless, having a fundamental understanding of how your water heater operates is always important. If the machine is one that is utilized on a daily basis, this is especially true. Water heaters are responsible for ensuring that water is delivered via the pipes to its intended destination at the appropriate temperature every time you shower, wash dishes, or do a load of laundry.

Dip Tube

In the same way that most other amenities of the home benefit from having less attention paid to them, the less attention you must devote to your hot water heater the better. The only thing that is actually necessary to know is that it is operating to provide your household with the hot water it need. Nonetheless, having a basic understanding of how your water heater works is always good. This is especially true for a computer that is utilized on a regular basis. Every time you take a shower, wash the dishes, or do a load of laundry, your water heater is responsible for transporting the water through the pipes to its right destination at the proper temperature.

Heating Element / Gas Burner

A heating element in the tank of an electric water heater heats the water within the tank to a desired temperature. When using a gas water heater, the heating mechanism is provided by a gas burner. Both of these items may be found near the bottom of the tank.

Anode Rod

Another safety step is the use of anode rods. It does this by electrolyzing the tank and preventing rust from forming. In this case, the metal-coated steel rod (which is often coated in aluminum, zinc, or magnesium) rusts instead of the steel lining that is used to line the tank’s internal walls.

Thermostat

Another safety step is the use of anode rod. Because of electrolysis, it avoids corrosion of the tank. In other words, the metal-coated steel rod (which is often coated in aluminum, zinc, or magnesium) rusts instead of the steel lining that lines the inside of the tank.

Heat-Out Pipe

The hot water service line is the pipe that transports hot water from the tank to the hot water service line. It may be found at the very top. The hottest water rises to the top of the tank due to the fact that hot water has less density than cold water (and heat rises by its own nature).

Valves

  • Valve for Drainage– The drain valve is positioned near the bottom of the tank, on the exterior of the tank. The drain valve, as its name implies, is responsible for draining off silt that has accumulated inside the tank. Shut-off Valve– A shut-off valve is located on the outside of the water heater. Essentially, this stops the flow of water into the tank. Pressure Relief Valve– The water inside the tank is extremely pressured, necessitating the use of a pressure relief valve. An emergency pressure relief valve is designed to prevent pressure from accumulating to a dangerous level.

How Does a Hot Water Heater Work?

So, how do all of these components interact with one another? What is the operation of a hot water heater? So, here’s a synopsis of the situation. The trip of your hot water begins with the main water pipe and continues to your shower, washing machine, sink, dishwasher, and other appliances. Water heaters that use gas or electricity are both tank-type water heaters.

These are the most prevalent types of water heaters that may be used in residential settings. They both function substantially on the same premise, with the primary differences being in their different heat sources. Regardless of the heating technique used, the following procedure must be followed.

Here’s how a water heater works:

In order for water to enter your home, it must flow via the main water line. Just before the water heater, the line is divided into two different paths, each of which serves as the water intake system for your home. After that, you switch on the hot water faucet. Ice-cold water pours through the shut-off valve and into the water heater tank, where it will soon be heated to a comfortable temperature. The water is heated by the heating mechanism located at the bottom of the tank in accordance with the thermostat setting.

After that, you switched on the hot water faucet, and additional water poured into your hot water tank through the dip tube.

This hot water rises via the heat-out pipe and is sent to the hot water faucet.

Tankless Water Heaters

A tankless water heater is another alternative that is becoming increasingly popular, albeit being less prevalent. Tankless water heaters do not store hot water in a tank that is constantly heated; instead, they heat water only when it is required. When you turn on a hot water faucet, a flow sensor in the tankless water heater unit is triggered to respond. Assuming the tankless unit is fueled by gas, this sensor switches on an internal fan to pull in air, opens the gas valve, and ignites the burner by activating a gas valve inside the tankless unit.

  • In either scenario, the heat exchanger inside the unit is warmed, and the water is heated to a certain temperature as a result of this heating.
  • As a result, there is no need to store hot water in a tank and there is no need to use the energy required to maintain a high temperature on a consistent basis.
  • With a tankless unit, you will never run out of hot water since there is no tank to run out of water.
  • These advantages, on the other hand, come at a larger cost up front than with a traditional hot water heater, which is why they are more expensive.

Hot Water, Whenever You Need It

It is not difficult to comprehend a hot water heater if you grasp the fundamental concepts. If you have a problem with your hot water heater, want routine maintenance, or want to look into replacement choices, you need a dependable plumber you can rely on. South Jersey residents may turn toLaury Heating Cooling Plumbing for the best quality plumbing services available.

How Does A Hot Water Heater Work?

It is not difficult to comprehend a hot water heater if you grasp the fundamental concepts. If you have a problem with your hot water heater, want routine maintenance, or want to look into replacement alternatives, you need a dependable plumber you can rely on to get the job done well.

South Jersey residents may turn toLaury Heating Cooling Plumbing for the highest-quality plumbing services available.

Components of a Water Heater

Anode rod, dip tube, and pipes and fittings for hot water and overflow/pressure relief are all standard components of both electric and gas water heaters. The drain valve, the TPRvalve, an internal anode rod, and pipes and fittings for hot water and overflow/pressure relief are other common components. In both circumstances, the inside tank is insulated with a layer of material to keep the water hotter for a longer period of time. Electric water heaters are equipped with a separate thermostat, whereas gas water heaters have their thermostat integrated into the gas control valve.

How a Water Heater Works

When you get down to the nitty-gritty of water heater functioning, the distinctions between electric and gas water heaters become more evident. Cold water enters the unit through the dip tube at the top of the tank and is channeled to the bottom of the tank, where it is heated in both designs.

How Does an Electric Water Heater Work?

In electric variants, the thermostat is flush with the side of the internal tank, and it does not require any adjustment. A switch (or two, if you have a dual element system) is triggered when the thermostat detects that the interior temperature has gone below the predetermined threshold. This permits energy to flow to the heating element, which is then turned on. It is this heating element, which is submerged in the water of the tank, that warms up in the same manner as an electric stove burner does, by transmitting electricity through a heat-resistant substance and turning the energy it contains into heat.

When using dual elements, each with its own thermostat, they alternately heat the top and bottom sections of the tank, as only one heating element is turned on at a time with the dual elements.

How Does a Gas Water Heater Work?

In electric variants, the thermostat is flush with the edge of the internal tank, and it does not require any additional space. As soon as the thermostat detects that the interior temperature has dropped below the predetermined threshold, it activates a switch (or two, in the case of a dual element system) that permits electrical flow to the heating element. It is this heating element, which is submerged in the water of the tank, that warms up in the same manner as an electric stove burner does, by transmitting electricity through a heat-resistant substance and turning the energy it contains into thermal energy.

After determining that the water has reached the desired temperature, the thermostat turns off the power to the element. Due to the fact that only one heating element is active at a time, dual elements, each with its own thermostat, alternately heat the top and bottom regions of the tank.

Variations on Water Heaters

Several types of water heaters employ a hot water recirculating system, which maintains hot water moving through the heating system and avoids hot water flow from being stopped by “cold” bursts of unheated water throughout the heating process. Solar water heaters, which are the major means of heating water, employ a system that is similar to this. Hot water expands as it rises through the system, forcing cooler water ahead of the hot water and cycling water through the solar heater’s internal pipes.

How A Water Heater Works

The information contained in this article is provided solely for the purpose of providing general information and does not constitute professional advice. With respect to this material, LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY makes no claim to be an expert in the subject matter, and you should conduct your own research and/or seek the advice of appropriately qualified professionals with respect to your specific circumstances before taking action. LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY makes no claim to be an expert in the subject matter, and you should conduct your own research and/or seek the advice of appropriately qualified professionals with respect to your specific circumstances before taking action.

  1. When you need hot water for a shower, to do a load of laundry, or to wash your dishes in the United States, you often rely on a water heater.
  2. This type of water heater heats water to a certain temperature and then stores it at that temperature in a tank until a homeowner switches on the “hot” water tap.
  3. If you’re interested in finding out more about alternative water heaters, have a look at our list of the advantages and disadvantages of the tankless water heater.
  4. The only thing that differs is the source of heat for the water.
See also:  What Is The Best Water Heater To Buy

Gas Water Heater

When using a gas-powered water heater, cold water is introduced into the tank using a dip tube (1). The water in this tank is heated by a gas burner (2). This burner burns gas, sending highly hot yet hazardous air up via a chimney in the middle of the water heater tank, which is located in the middle of the tank (3). The chimney exhausts this noxious air to the outside while simultaneously heating the metal of the chimney (4). As the heat from this chimney rises, the surrounding water warms up as well.

  1. Warm water rises to the top of the water heater tank and is circulated throughout the house via the heat-out pipe (also known as the return pipe) (5).
  2. The thermostat(6), which is attached to the gas line and ensures that the appropriate quantity of gas is delivered to the burner in order to attain the desired temperature, allows homeowners to specify the temperature at which they want their water to be heated.
  3. Whenever the water temperature or pressure within the tank becomes too high, the temperature and pressure relief valve (also known as the T and P valve)(7) will open and discharge water to cool it down.
  4. It is recommended to drain your water heater once a year to avoid sediment buildup.
  5. How to remove sediment from your water heater (learn how to remove sediment from your water heater).
  6. A sacrificial anode rod(10) is also included in the water heater’s design, which is a rod made of a metal that rusts more quickly than the metal that makes up the water heater tank.
  7. As long as it is replaced every 1-2 years after rusting away, it should be satisfactory.

In this article, you will learn more about what a sacrificial anode rod is and why it is used in your water heater. In the event that a gas water heater is not properly maintained, a Landmark home warranty plan will provide coverage.

Electric Water Heater

When it comes to operation, an electric water heater is virtually identical to a gas water heater. It draws in cold water through the dip tube(1) and heats it in the tank with the help of the electric heating elements(2) located within the tank. The hot water rises to the top of the tank and is distributed throughout the house via the heat-outpipe (3). In the same way as a gas water heater has a thermostat(4), a temperature and pressure relief valve(5), a drain valve(6), the tank is insulated(7), and it has an anode rod(8), an electric water heater includes the following features: (8).

If an electric water heater dies due to regular wear and tear, a home warranty plan will cover the cost of replacing it.

Water Heater Maintenance

A homeowner should do regular maintenance on their hot water heater, which should include the following tasks:

  1. Set the water heater’s thermostat to a temperature that is comfortable for you. The majority of manufacturers recommend setting the thermostat to about 120 degrees to save money on heating expenditures. It is recommended that you flush your tank once a year. A water heater may fail to function properly if this is not the case. Check and replace the anode rod if necessary. Rather of “sacrificing” itself and rotting, this rod prevents your tank from rusting. Pressure relief valves should be tested by chilling the water, placing a bucket beneath the pipe, and opening the relief valve.

Landmark’s home warranty protection plan does provide coverage for repairs and replacements of water heaters up to 70 gallons in capacity. Protect your budget by purchasing a home warranty plan, and you will only be charged a service call fee if your water heater or other equipment and appliances in your house need to be repaired or replaced. More information may be found at.

How Is a Tank Type Gas Water Heater Designed?

With a little care and attention, the typical “tank-type” water heater may offer years of trouble-free service in the majority of households. While tankless water heaters, which heat water only when it is required, are becoming increasingly popular, the tank-type water heater is far less expensive and is still chosen by the majority of homes. Tank-type water heaters are available in both gas and electric forms, however gas units are more common due to their cheaper initial cost as well as their reduced operational cost over time.

Basics of Gas Water Heater Operation

A tank-type water heater, as the name implies, warms cold water and then stores it until it is required by different plumbing fixtures and appliances around the home. A gas water heater operates using the principles of convection, which is the physical rule that governs how heat rises. With a water heater, cold water enters the tank through a cold water supply tube, which ensures that the tank receives a steady supply of cold water throughout the day. The thick cold water at the bottom of the tank is heated by an agas burner, which is positioned under the sealed tank’s surface.

In comparison to the dip tube, the hot water discharge pipe is significantly shorter since its purpose is to channel away the hottest water, which is situated at the very top of the tank.

It continuously monitors the temperature of the water inside the tank and adjusts the burner’s on and off times as necessary to keep the water at the desired temperature.

The hollow flue is equipped with a spiral metal baffle that collects heat and delivers it to the surrounding water, allowing the appliance to operate at peak efficiency and efficiency.

The typical tank-type gas water heater’s remarkable simplicity is demonstrated by a thorough analysis of each of its constituent components.

The Tank

The tank of a water heater is made up of an exterior jacket made of steel that encloses a water storage tank that has been pressure tested. In order to avoid corrosion, a vitreous glass or plastic layer is attached to the inside surface of the inner tank, which is constructed of high-quality steel. Exhaust gases from the burner are channeled via a hollow exhaust flue t hrough in the center of the tank, where they are exhausted through an exhaust vent. Typically, a spiral metal baffle inside the flue absorbs heat from the exhaust gases and transfers it to a tank nearby, as seen in the illustration.

You may also add more insulation to the hot water heater by installing a fiberglass insulation tank jacket around the outside of the unit.

Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images & Stock Photos

Inside the Tank

There are many important components inside the tank, in addition to the lengthy dip tube that delivers cold water to the tank and the shorter hot water output pipe that allows hot water to flow into the plumbing system. In glass-lined tanks, there will be a metal rod in the tank, generally magnesium or aluminum, which is known as a sacrificial anode and serves to protect the tank against corrosion. In order to ensure that the anode rod reaches deep into the tank, it is bolted and attached to the tank’s top.

A hot water outlet pipe that has been coated with magnesium or aluminum to act as an anode is used in certain versions instead of a separate anode rod, which is more cost effective.

Replacing an anode rod is a relatively simple Do It Yourself job.

Cold Water Supply Pipe and Hot Water Discharge Pipe

Two water pipes are attached to the top of the tank: a cold water supply pipe and a hot water discharge pipe. Both of these pipes are made of copper. a cold water supply line controlled by a cutoff valve: Cold water is supplied to the tank through a cold water supply line controlled by a shutoff valve. It is essential to be aware of the location of the water supply shutdown valve so that you can close it when repair is necessary. Due to the pressure created by the cold water entering the tank, turning off the cold water supply essentially stops all water flow.

A blue handle will be seen on the cold water supply shutdown valve in many installations, indicating that it is active.

The hot water discharge pipe may also be equipped with a shutdown valve, which is often distinguished by a red handle. Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images & Stock Photos

Gas Regulator and Burner Assembly

It is provided by a pipe with its own gas shutoff valve, which is coupled to a gas pipe made of steel black pipe or copper tubing, and which provides the natural gas or propane for heating the water. It is critical to be aware of the location of this gas shutoff valve so that you can switch off the gas in an emergency or to perform repairs if the need arises. The gas line is connected to an agas regulator, which also serves as a thermostat for the water heater. A short secondary tube connects this valve to the pilot light, which is responsible for turning on the burner when the regulator valve and thermostat signal it to do so.

  1. This assembly comprises the pilot light as well as the actual gas burner.
  2. The gas flames should be about 1/2 inch in height and have blue tips, according to the manufacturer (yellow flames indicate dirty burner jets or an improper air mixture).
  3. This component is referred to as an aflame sensor on more recent water heaters.
  4. The replacement of a thermocouple or a flame sensor is a very simple procedure.

Exhaust Flue

It is provided by a pipe with its own gas shutoff valve, which is linked to a gas pipe made of steel black pipe or copper tubing, and which provides the natural gas or propane for the water heating. In order to be able to turn off the gas in an emergency or to conduct repairs, it is critical that you are aware of where the gas cutoff valve is situated. The gas line is connected to an agas regulator, which also serves as a thermostat for the water heater and other components. A tiny secondary tube connects this valve to the pilot light, which is responsible for illuminating the burner when the regulator valve and thermostat signal that it should be done.

In this assembly, you will find the pilot light as well as the actual gas burner.

Approximately 1/2 inch in height, with blue tips, the gas flames should be used (yellow flames indicate dirty burner jets or an improper air mixture).

This component is known as an aflame sensor in contemporary water heaters.

It is quite simple to replace a thermocouple or a flame sensor. Banks Getty Images provided the images.

Temperature and Pressure-Relief Valve

The natural gas or propane that warms the water is delivered by a pipe that has its own gas shutdown valve and is connected to a gas pipe made of steel black pipe or copper tubing, depending on the model. It is critical to be aware of the location of this gas shutoff valve so that you can switch off the gas in an emergency or to conduct repairs. The gas line is connected to a gas regulator, which also serves as a thermostat for the water heater. This valve also delivers gas to the pilot light, which helps to illuminate the burner when the regulator valve and thermostat signal that it is necessary.

  • This assembly consists of the pilot light and the actual gas burner.
  • The gas flames should be approximately 1/2 inch in height, with blue tips (yellow flames indicate dirty burner jets or an improper air mixture).
  • This component is referred to as an aflame sensor on contemporary water heaters.
  • Replacing a thermocouple or a flame sensor is a very simple procedure.

Tank Drain Valve

It is possible for the hot water tank to accumulate sediments at the bottom of the tank over time, resulting in a variety of difficulties. It is possible to hear bubbling and gurgling noises in a water heater that is full of sediments because the moisture-saturated sediments are boiling when the water heater heats up. These sediments are eliminated and difficulties are prevented by draining the tank on a regular basis using the tank drain valve (see illustration). It’s not difficult to clean out a holding tank.

  1. Changing the setting of the gas pilot control valve to “pilot” mode
  2. Restricting access to the cold water supply to the water heater
  3. Open the hot water faucet that is closest to you. Using a garden hose, connect the drain valve to a floor drain or utility sink and insert the open end of the hose in the drain
  4. Open the tank drain valve and let all of the water in the water heater tank to drain out of it. As the particles are flushed out of the drain, you will most likely see discoloration in the draining water. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may need to refill the tank with new water then drain it a second time to remove all of the sediments. When the tank is completely depleted, close the tank drain valve and turn on the cold water supply valve to refill the tank with fresh water. Once this is completed, switch the gas control valve to the ON position and check to see whether the gas burner ignites.
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Changing the “pilot” setting on the gas pilot control valve; Disconnect the cold water feed to the water heater; and Open the hot water faucet that is closest to your location. Using a garden hose, connect the drain valve to a floor drain or utility sink and insert the open end of the hose in the drain. Turn on the water heater’s tank drain valve and wait for all of its contents to flow out. Because of the particles being flushed out, you will most likely see discoloration in the draining water.

When the tank is completely depleted, close the tank drain valve and turn on the cold water supply valve to refill the tank with freshwater.

Everything You Need To Know About Your Home’s Water Heater

It’s likely that you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about your water heater, which is a positive thing. As long as it is providing hot water, there isn’t much you need to do to maintain its operation. However, you should have at least a fundamental awareness of how the system operates and what alternatives you have when the heater needs to be repaired or replaced. There are four primary varieties of residential water heaters: tank-type, hybrid, tank-less, and point-of-use. Tank-type water heaters are the most common form of home water heater.

Hybrid vehicles are still in their infancy, but they are worth considering if you want to save as much energy as possible.

Point-of-use water heaters are perfect for supplying hot water to faucets and appliances that are positioned far away from the home’s main water heater in a timely manner. Listed below are brief descriptions of how each sort of device operates:

Tank-Type Water Heaters

JulNichols Photographs courtesy of Getty Images Westinghouse Electric Hot Water Heater Tank-type water heaters, which are often found in most households and are powered by either gas or electricity, serve the great majority of people’s needs. In general, gas water heaters are more expensive to purchase than electric water heaters, but they are less expensive to run since natural gas is less expensive than electricity. Electric water heaters, on the other hand, are more energy efficient than gas water heaters and have better efficiency-factor ratings.

  • The way it works is as follows: Cold water enters the tank through the bottom and is heated either by a gas flame below the tank or by electric components suspended inside the tank, depending on the model.
  • A pressure-relief valve is used to avoid an excessive accumulation of pressure within a holding tank.
  • As the water level in the tank begins to drop, it is automatically replaced with cold water, and the cycle is repeated once again.
  • If you’re in the market for a gas water heater, a condensing unit could be worth considering.
  • The entering cold water subsequently absorbs a significant amount of the heat emitted by the gases.
  • Another issue is that tank-type heaters consume energy (gas or electricity) 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep the water at a constant temperature no matter how much or how little is being used.
  • GEGeoSpring Hybrid Electric Water HeaterA hybrid water heater is a tank-type heater that is also fitted with an electric heat pump for increased efficiency.

The consequence is that the hybrid model consumes 60 percent less energy than a standard water heating system.

Furthermore, state and municipal energy incentives can help to reduce the time it takes to recover your investment even further.

They are also known as instantaneous or on-demand water heaters since they give hot water on demand.

The way it works is as follows: An electric tank-less water heater remains dormant until a hot-water faucet in the house is turned on.

As the cold water goes through the heat exchanger, it is heated to the temperature that has been specified.

Combustion gases produced by gas-fired units are expelled through a specialized, hermetically sealed vent pipe into the atmosphere.

Tank-less water heaters only heat water when it is required, as there is no storage tank to maintain.

And for even better energy efficiency, consider a condensing tank-less water heater, which operates with an efficiency rating between 90 percent and 98 percent; non-condensing tank-less heaters run with an efficiency rating of 80 percent or so, which is still quite good.

Furthermore, tankless water heaters have a lifespan of up to 20 years, which is nearly twice as long as traditional tank-type water heaters.

On the negative, tank-less water heaters are more expensive to purchase and install than normal water heaters, and they are also more expensive to repair than standard water heaters.

Point-of-Use Water Heaters

Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater from Bosch Point-of-use water heaters, in contrast to the previously described whole-house water heaters, are tiny, tankless types that supply hot water practically instantly to a single place, such as a bathroom sink or shower. It is most common to find this sort of electric heater placed at fixtures that are far away from the main water heater. This product’s most compelling feature is that it avoids the all-too-common inconvenience of opening the faucet and then waiting for hot water.

  • Most point-of-use units are about 10 in.
  • in size, making them small enough to fit within vanity cabinets and closets.
  • Heaters for single-family homes and small businesses are quite dependable, and they may easily endure for up to 25 years.
  • Assuming there isn’t a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) electrical outlet nearby where you want to plug the device in, you’ll have to contact an electrician to install one.
  • This material was generated and maintained by a third party and imported onto this website in order to assist users in providing their email addresses for further consideration.

How Water Heaters Work

I adore taking hot showers, but because the water that travels into my house is only at ground temperature (read: cold), it must be warmed up before it can be used. This isn’t done at the water treatment facility; rather, the water is supplied from within the house, courtesy of a water heater. Here’s how they function. Tank and tankless water heaters are the two most common types of water heaters. The former makes use of a tank, and is far less expensive. The latter is more costly, but it is also far more efficient.

The Dip Tube Circulates Incoming Cold Water and Helps Evenly Heat It

In your home, when water is brought in from the city’s water plant (or a well), a branch of the water line that will soon become hot branches off and makes a pit stop at your water heater before continuing on its journey through your home. There are two openings at the top of your water heater: a cold water “inlet” and a hot water “outlet.” Cold water “inlet” and hot water “outlet.” But how can you keep the incoming cold water from just pouring out of the faucet when it is turned on? A dip tube, to be precise.

a heavy-duty plastic).

Dip tubes are quite inexpensive and simple to replace. They also require little to no upkeep, if any at all. The only time you’d likely need to replace a dip tube is if the one that came with your water heater was faulty in some way and failed prematurely.

The Gas Burner (or Electric Coils) Provide the Heat

A natural gas or electrical source is used to power the majority of water heaters. However, gas and electricity are the most often used fuels, with additional options (such as heat pumps and solar power) being available. Natural gas water heaters are powered by a burner located at the bottom of the tank, which is similar to the burner found on a standard gas stove top. All of the exhaust gases produced by the burner are vented out of the tank through a vent pipe that travels up the middle of the tank and out through a chimney at the very top.

These coils may be seen within the tank in a cutaway shot from a This Old House film.

A layer of insulation created around the tank prevents the hot water from fast cooling down and the heating components from being activated more than they are required to.

The Anode Rod Attracts Metal-Corroding Elements to Prevent Rusting

Over the course of several years, the interior of this water heater has been corroded. This Old House /YouTube screenshot taken from Water and metal don’t mix well, and because water heaters are built of steel, there must be rules in place to keep rust from forming on the heaters. However, water will naturally damage the protective covering on the interior of the tank, and the lining will ultimately be eaten away, resulting in the tank rusting from within. A sacrificial anode rod is used to prevent this from happening.

The term “sacrificial” is vital to understand since the anode rod, like the battery in your smartphone, needs to be changed every few years, exactly like the battery in your car.

Fortunately, repairing an anode rod is a simple process, and new anode rods are quite inexpensive.

The Pressure Relief Valve Prevents Your Water Heater from Exploding

For years, the interior of this water heater has been corroded due to exposure to water. This Old House /YouTube video screenshot Considering that water and metal don’t mix well, and that water heaters are composed of steel, there must be procedures in place to keep them from rusting away. The interior of the tank is protected with a protective covering, but water has a natural tendency to attack it, and eventually the lining will be eaten away and the tank will begin to corrode. A sacrificial anode rod is used to keep this from happening.

Although the term “sacrificial” is used, it is vital to understand that the anode rod, like the battery in your smartphone, has to be changed every few years.

Fortunately, replacing an anode rod is a simple process, and new anode rods are quite inexpensive to purchase online.

How electric water heater works

How electric water heater works Typical 240 volt household water heater has 2 heating elements. the upper and lower elements. Elements are controlled by upper and lower thermostats. Each element is connected to a thermostat.Thermostats are mechanical bi-metal switches that read temperature through side of tank wall and turn elements ON and OFF. Typical water heater thermostats are not voltage specific, and are rated for residential 120 to 240 and any commercial voltages up to 480 volt, including 208, 277, 415, and 480 volt.Residential water heater thermostats can be manually set to temperatures between 90�F to 150�F, or 110� to 160�F, depending on brand and calibration. High Limit trips at 170�F.All thermostat settings are approximate. all values+/- 5%.Higher temperature settings use more electricity. Higher temps over 135�F risk scald and permanent injury.Average bath shower 104�F.Commercial water heater thermostats can have higher, more dangerous range of 120-180�F. Maximum temperature allowed for water heaters of all types is 210�F before the TP valve releases water. Higher temps risk violent steam explosion if TP valve is capped off or removed.Do not install high temperature commercial thermostats on residential water heater. It is unnecessary and dangerous. Typical bath-shower is 104�F.For safety and to avoid scalding, the recommended setting for all water heater thermostats (commercial and residential, gas or electric) that supply potable (drinkable) water into pipes where water can come in contact with people is 120�F.Higher temperature commercial thermostats are used for dishwashing and other high-temperature applications that are often governed by health codes, or need for space heating etc. but high temperatures are never introduced into water pipes where water can come into contact with people. A mixing valve is installed to temper or reduce temperature of very hot water to 120�F before it enters supply lines.ResourcesHow to adjust thermostatsHow to replace thermostat on electric water heater/ commercial and residentialHow to wire thermostatsAdvantages mixing valveHow to increase amount of hot waterElectric water heaters arenon-simultaneous Residential 240 volt 2-element electric water heaters arenon-simultaneous, as can be seen on product label located on side of tank. This means both elements are never ON at same time (simultaneously) unless specific wiring inside heater is changed significantly. One element is ON, or the other element is ON, or both elements are OFF.How to wire water heater for simultaneous operationUpper thermostat is main controller. Starting with a cold tank, upper thermostat turns on upper element until top 2/3 of tank reaches temperature setting. After top of tank is heated, upper thermostat turns-off upper element and sends power to lower thermostat which turns on lower element. Lower element runs until tank reaches temperature setting.Lower element turns on-and-off during standby hours to keep tank temperature at thermostat set point.There is no air inside tank When hot tap is turned on at kitchen sink, hot water immediately exits top of tank. Hot water travels through hot-side pipe until it reaches faucet. At same moment hot leaves top of tank, new cold water immediately enters bottom of tank through plastic dip tube pipe.To save energy, never turn on hot tap when using only cold. because new cold water that enters tank must be heated to set point.ResourcesRead about dip tube9-ways to save with water heaterDuring ‘standby’ hours, between hot water use, lower element maintains tank temperature. Lower element keeps water hot by turning-on approximately 1-4 minutes each hour throughout day and night which equals 45Kwh – 216Kwh each month for standby operation depending on tank efficiency, maintenance, and seasonal incoming cold water temperature. Newer tanks with more insulation, or tanks located in naturally warm area turn on less frequently.ResourcesSee math charts for heating waterKwh hour calculationsOnce hot water is used at faucet, cold water quickly fills bottom of tank. Lower element is a activated first, and when the upper part of tank is below set point, the lower element turns off and upper element turns on, and the heat cycle repeats.The temperature of incoming cold water affects how much energy is consumed. In winter, the incoming water is colder. Colder water means the elements must heat longer to reach the thermostat set point.Average groundwater temperatureTempering tank
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Tankless or Demand-Type Water Heaters

Known as demand-type water heaters or instantaneous water heaters, tankless water heaters supply hot water only when it is required. They do not generate the standby energy losses typical with storage water heaters, which can result in significant savings in energy costs. You’ll learn the fundamentals of how they function, if a tankless water heater is a good choice for your house, and what factors to consider when choosing the best model for your needs. Take a look at theEnergy Saver 101: Water Heating infographic to determine whether a tankless water heater is the best option for you, and our AskEnergySaver conversation on water heating for additional information on energy-efficient water heating.

How They Work

Known as demand-type water heaters or instantaneous water heaters, tankless water heaters heat water only when it’s needed. They do not generate the standby energy losses typical with storage water heaters, which can result in significant savings in energy costs. You’ll learn the fundamentals of how they function, if a tankless water heater is a good choice for your house, and what factors to consider when choosing the best model for your needs and budget. Take a look at theEnergy Saver 101: Water Heating infographic to find out if a tankless water heater is good for you, and our AskEnergySaver conversation on water heating for more information on how to heat water more efficiently.

  • Bathrooms or hot tubs in a remote location
  • Increases the efficiency of household appliances such as dishwashers and laundry washers. Thermoelectric booster for a solar water heating system

Advantages and Disadvantages

Demand water heaters can be 24–34 percent more energy efficient than typical storage tank water heaters in residences that utilize 41 gallons or less of hot water per day on average. For houses that utilize a lot of hot water – around 86 gallons per day – they can be 8 percent to 14 percent more energy efficient than standard models. If you install a demand water heater at each hot water outlet, you may be able to achieve even larger energy savings in some circumstances. A tankless water heater will cost more up front than a normal storage water heater, but they will often live longer and have lower operating and energy expenses, which may more than compensate for their higher purchase price in the long run.

  1. They also feature readily changeable parts, which might potentially increase their lifespan by many years.
  2. With tankless water heaters, you won’t have to worry about the standby heat losses that come with traditional storage water heaters.
  3. When compared to a storage water heater, the removal of standby energy losses might sometimes outweigh the savings from using a tankless water heater.
  4. A tankless water heater’s pilot light has a cost associated with it that differs from one type to the next.

Instead of a standing pilot light, look for versions that contain an intermittent ignition device (IID). This mechanism is similar to the spark ignition system used on certain natural gas furnaces, as well as kitchen ranges and ovens, among other things.

Selecting a Demand Water Heater

The energy efficiency of demand water heaters can be 24–34% higher than that of typical storage tank water heaters for residences that consume 41 gallons or less of hot water per day. For houses that consume a lot of hot water – around 86 gallons per day – they can be 8 to 14 percent more energy efficient. Installation of demand water heaters at each hot water outlet may be necessary in some circumstances to obtain even larger energy savings. Although the initial cost of a tankless water heater is more than the cost of a traditional storage water heater, tankless water heaters are expected to live longer and have reduced operating and energy expenses, which may more than offset their higher purchase cost.

  1. Their parts are also readily available for replacement, which may allow them to last for several further years.
  2. By eliminating the standby heat losses associated with storage water heaters, tankless water heaters can save money on energy costs.
  3. When compared to a storage water heater, this might sometimes outweigh the benefits of eliminating standby energy losses.
  4. Depending on the kind of tankless water heater, the cost of running the pilot light varies.
  5. If you want to avoid a standing pilot light, look for versions with an intermittent ignition mechanism (IID).
  • Demand water heaters can be 24–34 percent more energy efficient than typical storage tank water heaters in residences that utilize 41 gallons or less of hot water per day. For houses that consume a lot of hot water – around 86 gallons per day – they can be 8 percent to 14 percent more energy efficient. In rare circumstances, installing a demand water heater at each hot water outlet may allow you to achieve even larger energy savings. A tankless water heater will cost more up front than a standard storage water heater, but they will often live longer and have lower operating and energy expenses, which may more than offset their higher purchase price. The average tankless water heater has a lifespan of more than 20 years. They also feature readily replaceable parts, which means they may be used for many more years provided they are properly maintained. Storage water heaters, on the other hand, have a life expectancy of 10–15 years. Tankless water heaters do not suffer from the standby heat losses that are common with storage water heaters. Despite the fact that gas-fired tankless water heaters often have higher flow rates than electric tankless water heaters, if they include a pilot light, they can waste energy. When compared to a storage water heater, the reduction of standby energy losses might sometimes outweigh the benefit of eliminating standby energy losses. In a gas-fired storage water heater, the pilot light warms the water in the tank, preventing energy from being wasted. A tankless water heater’s pilot light operation costs vary depending on the product. Examine the manufacturer’s documentation to find out how much gas the pilot light consumes for the particular model you’re contemplating purchasing. Instead of a continuous pilot light, look for devices that incorporate an intermittent ignition device (IID). This mechanism is similar in appearance to the spark ignition device used on some natural gas furnaces, as well as kitchen ranges and ovens.

Installation and Maintenance

It is possible to maximize the energy efficiency of your demand water heater with proper installation and maintenance. A variety of elements influence the success of an installation. These considerations include the type of fuel used, the environment, the needs of local construction codes, and safety concerns, particularly with regard to the combustion of gas-fired water heaters. As a result, it is recommended that you use a licensed plumbing and heating professional to install your demand water heater.

  • Energy efficiency of your demand water heater may be maximized through proper installation and maintenance procedures. A variety of elements influence the quality of the installation. These considerations include the type of fuel used, the environment, the needs of local construction codes, and safety concerns, particularly with regard to the combustion of gas-fired water heaters, among others. In order to ensure proper installation of your demand water heater, use an experienced plumbing and heating professional. When picking a contractor, keep the following points in mind.

If you’re determined to install your water heater yourself, first speak with the manufacturer about the best way to proceed. The relevant installation and instruction manuals are normally available from the manufacturer. Contact your municipality for information on acquiring a permit (if one is required) and on water heater installation codes in your area.

Periodic water heater maintenance may considerably increase the life of your water heater while also reducing the amount of energy it consumes. Seek advice from your owner’s manual regarding specific maintenance requirements.

Improving Energy Efficiency

Consider implementing some further energy-saving measures once your demand water heater has been properly built and maintained to help reduce your water heating rates. Some energy-saving gadgets and systems are more cost-effective to install in conjunction with a water heater than they are separately.

Heat Pump Water Heaters

A heat pump water heater is one that uses electricity to transport heat from one location to another rather than generating heat directly from the source. So they may save two to three times the amount of energy used by ordinary electric resistance water heaters, on average. Heat pumps operate in the same way as a refrigerator does in reverse to transport heat. Instead of drawing heat from within a box and distributing it across the room, a stand-alone air-source heat pumpwater heater draws heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to a storage tank where it may be used to heat water at a greater temperature.

It is also possible to convert a heat pump to function in conjunction with an existing conventional water heater.

The air that passes over the evaporator can be exhausted into the room or outside the building.

Installing them in an area with excessive heat, such as a furnace room, will improve their efficiency.

In the winter, these combination systems draw their heat from the outside air, while in the summer, they draw their heat from the inside air.

Homeowners generally use geothermal heat pumps – which extract heat from the ground in the winter and from the interior air in the summer – to heat and cool their houses.

You may use adesuperheater in conjunction with a geothermal heat pump system to heat your water.

Afterwards, the hot water travels through a conduit to the storage water heater tank located within the home.

Summertime: The desuperheater makes use of the extra heat that would otherwise be released to the ground by the air conditioner.

During the autumn, winter, and spring, when the desuperheater isn’t producing as much surplus heat, you’ll have to rely more on your storage or demand water heater to meet your water heating needs.

In addition, some manufacturers provide triple-function geothermal heat pump systems that may be used for heating, cooling, and even hot water production. They employ a separate heat exchanger to satisfy all of the hot water requirements of a family.

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