How Do Storage Water Heaters Work?
Most of the homes in the U.S. use storage water heaters dependably for many years. In principle, water heaters work like a stove burner, providing heat to warm the water. Natural gas and electricity provide the energy to warm the water, although other fuels also work. Cold water enters the tank and exits through another pipe network that supplies all the hot water fixtures in a home.
All electric water heaters use at least one heating element inside the water tank. Some have two elements, each controlled by its own thermostat. A gas water heater uses a burner that sits below the tank to heat the water. The flue vents the combustion gases outdoors.
The following are the critical parts of water heaters:
- Thermostat: All water heaters use thermostats that control the water’s temperature. You can adjust the heat setting, and for the most energy efficiency and tank durability, it should be set at 120 degrees.
- Pressure or temperature relief valve: As the water in the tank heats, pressure can build and when it gets too high, this valve opens and lets some air and possibly water escape. This valve should be checked routinely because it prevents water heater explosions.
- Insulation: The insulation sandwiched between the interior tank and its shell prevents standby heat losses in storage water heaters.
- Anode rods: These rods are also known as sacrificial rods because the water sitting in the tank corrodes them first, instead of the tank. The rods are replaceable and should be checked periodically to extend the water tank’s life.
- Drain valve: This valve is threaded for a standard garden hose and lets you drain a few quarts of water from the tank to flush out the dissolved solids that collect at the bottom.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues, including storage water heaters – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.