The Basics About Water Heaters: Types, Parts and How They work

Water heaters are one of those home appliances that we don’t think about until they need to be replaced. And then, it’s not fun! But what is a water heater? How do they work, and why are they so necessary for us?  This guide will discuss the different types of water heating and plumbing services available and how residential water heaters work. We’ll also discuss the parts of a residential water heater and what you can do if something goes wrong with your unit.

What is a Water Heater?

A water heater is a machine that heats water for use in your home. They are an essential part of any home and serve various functions such as heating showers, dishwashers, laundry machines, and so on. Water heaters use one of two methods to heat cold water: gas or electricity. Gas water heaters generate heat through combustion, whereas electric water heaters generate heat through a heating element. Water heaters provide hot water for a variety of household tasks, including dishwashing and showering. They also save energy by providing hot water on demand rather than allowing the water to run cold until it is heated.

What are the Different Types of Water Heaters?

There are three main types of residential water heaters: electric, gas, and tankless.  Electric Water Heaters: Electric water heaters are the most common type of water heater and come in two varieties- storage or instantaneous. Storage water heaters store heated water in a tank, while instantaneous water heaters generate hot water on demand.  Gas Water Heaters: Gas water heaters are the most popular home water heater and come in two varieties- storage and tankless. Storage gas water heaters use a natural gas line to store heated water, while tankless gas water heaters generate hot water on demand. Tankless Water Heaters: Tankless water heaters are a newer type of water heater that is becoming more and more popular. They don’t use a tank to store heated water instead of heating the water as it passes through the unit. This eliminates standby energy losses and can save you money on your water heating and plumbing services bill. 

How do Residential Water Heaters Work?

Residential water heaters use two methods to heat the potable water- gas or electric.  Gas Water Heaters: Gas water heaters store heated water in a natural gas line. The natural gas is then burned to produce heat. This heat is then transferred to the water, which is then heated for your home. Electric Water Heaters: Electric water heaters use a heating element to create heat. The heated water is then stored in a tank until you need it. When you turn on the hot water faucet, the heated water flows out and mixes with the cold water coming in from the pipes. This creates hot water that is ready for use. 

What are the Parts of a Residential Water Heater?

Residential water heaters have four main parts: the tank, burner, thermostat, and heating element.  The Tank: The tank is where the heated water is stored. The tank is made of steel and has a lining that helps to prevent corrosion.  The Burner: The burner is the part of the water heater that creates heat. It uses either natural gas or propane to create a flame that heats the water in the tank.  The Thermostat: The thermostat is the part of the water heater that monitors the temperature of the water. It is located on or near the burner and keeps track of how hot the water needs to be.  The Heating Element: The heating element creates heat for the electric water heater. It is located at the bottom of the tank and uses electricity to create heat. 

What can go Wrong With a Residential Water Heater?

A residential water heater can fail for a variety of reasons. The most common problem is a shortage of hot water. This could be due to a number of factors, including sediment buildup in the tank, a faulty thermostat, or a clogged burner. If you are experiencing a lack of hot water, there are some troubleshooting steps you can take to attempt to resolve the issue. If your water heater is over ten years old, it may be time to replace it. Water heaters that are getting old can begin to leak and lose efficiency. There are a few different types of water heaters to choose from if you are in the market for a new one:
  • Tankless or on-demand water heaters
  • Gas or electric water heaters
  • Solar water heaters
No matter which type of water heater you choose, be sure to consult with a qualified plumber to ensure that it is installed correctly. Improper installation can lead to all sorts of problems, such as leaks or even fires. If you have any issues with your residential water heater, be sure to contact a professional immediately. Tips for keeping your water heater in tip-top shape:
  • Clean the anode rod every year. The purpose of this is to prevent corrosion and rust from building up in your tank. This can be done by using a mixture of water, baking soda, and vinegar. (Do not use any other cleaners or chemicals)
  • Drain and flush your system once a year to get rid of sediment that has built up.
  • Check the water pressure to ensure it is within the recommended range (50-120 psi). If it is not, you may need to adjust your water pressure regulator.
  • Keep an eye on your energy bills – if they start creeping up, it may be time to replace your old water heater with a new, more energy-efficient model.
Water heaters are an essential part of any home, and it is important to understand how they work and what can go wrong with them. By following these tips, you can help keep your water heater in good working order and avoid costly repairs. If you’re ever experiencing problems with your residential water heater, be sure to contact a professional immediately.

Heating and Plumbing Services In Highland Village, TX

Need a new water heater? Visit Strittmatter Plumbing, Heating, and AC to learn more about the different types of water heaters available. We can help you find the perfect one for your home. Or, if you’re experiencing problems with your current water heater, contact us today at (972) 362-4135 for assistance. Our experts are here to help!

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