Arguably, water heaters are one of the most critical parts of our homes.
Water heaters make sure that we don’t have to shower in cold water every morning and have warm water to do the laundry and dishes.
The warm water we are all used to has to travel through a long pipe system, originating from a large metal cylinder we know as water heaters.
Although newer tankless water heaters are now also widely available in the market, they are still not as widely used as traditional tank heaters in American homes.
Simply put, water heaters are basically tanks with water having a heating mechanism (which can be electric or gas) inside. Quite simple, no?
Even though they don’t seem overly complex in design, they still have a significant role to play in our household. Even if water heaters don’t look so complicated, they still have an innovative design and involve many parts.
In this article, we will look closer and see exactly how an electric water heater works.
Gas Vs. Electric Water Heaters
Before we get into the exact inner workings of water heaters, it’s essential to know that traditional tank water heaters are primarily of two types.
Gas or electricity powered. There isn’t much difference between the two other than their heating mechanism. They still do the same job in relatively the same way.
Most houses have electricity, but not every household may have access to gas. That’s why electric heaters are so important.
They provide an alternative to traditional gas-type heaters and offer a few other benefits as well.
Some of the pros of electric heaters include longer lifespan, less maintenance, lesser safety concerns, and are generally more energy-efficient.
The Parts That Makeup Traditional Water Heaters
To understand how water heaters work, we first need to look at the critical parts involved:
The Tank: It is the central place for storing water. The storage capacity can range anywhere from 30 to 70 gallons depending on the needs of your household. It is built to withstand high pressures and has an insulating lining to ensure that water stays at the right temperature.
Thermostat: The device that controls the temperature of the water inside the tank.
Dip Tube: This tube allows the entry of water to the heater from the tank’s top. Water then travels down to the bottom of the tank to the heat source.
The Shut-off valves: This valve stops the flow of water into the heater. It is usually located outside and above the water heater.
The Heat Out Pipe: As the name implies, this pipe allows hot water to leave the heater and travel into the piping system.
Source Of Heat: For electric heaters, these are the heating elements fitted inside the tank. These heating elements work much in the same way electric stoves work. Gas heaters instead rely on a chimney and burner system to heat water.
Drain Valve: This valve allows emptying the tank to replace the heating elements, sediment removal, or transportation of the tank.
Pressure relief valve: This valve can be used to maintain a safe pressure inside the tank.
How Does An Electric Water Heater Work?
After getting to know the essential components, it’s time to see how they work to give you access to water.
The thermostat is the primary means of controlling the temperature of water you want inside the tank.
Be careful not to set it too high a temperature as it can use more energy and be too hot to use.
Coldwater from your water lines enters the dip tube, where it then proceeds towards the tank’s heating elements.
The heating elements remain turned on until the water reaches the temperature set on the thermostat.
The warm-up water then rises towards the top of the tank towards the heat-out pipe. This warm water then goes into the household’s piping system, giving you access to hot water at every outlet.
What To Do When You Need A New Electric Water Heater Installed Or Replaced?
If you have a water heater that no longer functions and wants to have it replaced or just want to install a new one in your house, it’s always best to leave the job to professionals.
Fitting and installing electric water heaters is not something everyone with a bit of plumbing experience can do.
To ensure proper installation and maintenance, it’s always better to get an installation team to do the job for you.
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