How does my water heater work?

How does my water heater work?

A water heater is a must-have convenience at home. It lets you enjoy hot water whenever you’re taking a shower, doing dishes, washing clothes and more.

Water heaters typically come in big metal cylinders or drums. This common form of water heater is known as the hot water tank. Recently, however, tankless water heaters have gained popularity because of their ease of installation and technology. Today, we’re going to walk you through how these different kinds of tanks function.

Tank-Type Water Heaters

Tank-type water heaters are either electric or fuel-fired. Fuel-fired tank heaters are commonly fueled by gas, natural or propane, and have a vent above to get rid of exhaust. Electric water heaters require only a cable that is connected to an electric panel. Tank-type water heaters have the ability to store hot water until it’s ready for use. Its tanks, which are usually made of steel, are insulated to keep the water hot at all times.

Tank-type water heaters are able to heat water because of the following components:

  1. A heating element - Tank-type water heaters use natural gas or propane, or an electric heating element. The heating element heats the water stored inside the tank and makes sure that hot water is available at any time.
  2. Water storage - This is where hot water is kept. Most tanks are made of glass-lined steel, purposely, to avoid corrosion.
  3. Anode rod - The anode rod sits inside the water storage. It controls corrosion by corroding in the place of the steel. Anode rods will corrode completely eventually, so it’s best to check the anode and see if it needs to be replaced. If the anode rod is not replaced, the water storage itself will begin to corrode.
  4. Temperature and pressure relief valve - For safety purposes, this feature keeps the level of pressure in the hot water tank at a safe level.

Using tank-type water heaters is fairly easy. It sends hot water through the tap whenever needed, but the main disadvantage of using tank-type water heaters is that it can run out. This can be an inconvenience especially if hot water runs out during your morning shower. The only way to get hot water again is to wait until your water heater has heated another supply of water in its tank.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters do not need a water storage unit or tank to function. They use a heating element that heats water as it passes through the water heater. Tankless water heaters use a coil of pipe connected to both a cold water supply and at the end where hot water is delivered. Tankless water heaters provide limitless hot water, but there are a few drawbacks. Sometimes, water is heated warmer than anticipated. You also need to wait a few moments after turning on the tap for the water to heat. The tankless water heater will only “activate” once hot water is requested by turning on the faucet or showerhead.

Should I get another water heater? Which one is better?

Both types of water heaters have their advantages as well as their drawbacks. Tank-type can release hot water immediately. However, when hot water runs out, you will need to give it some recovery time. Tankless water heaters are generally less expensive in the long run, and are ideal for families where water can run out constantly, but tankless water heaters cannot produce hot water immediately. Both water heaters work in different ways, but their purpose is the same: to provide hot water for all your needs.