You probably don't give a lot of thought to your water heater — until that time when you turn on the faucet or shower and discover that there is no hot water. Because you likely pay little attention to your hot water heater unless something goes wrong, you might not know much about what it is and how it works.
A water heater relies on a process known as heat transfer that uses an energy source to heat water above its normal temperature. Most manufacturers set their water heaters to heat water to a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests that a setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit will make the water hot enough for most household uses and help to conserve energy.
We would like to cover the water heater basics to give you a better understanding of this essential but often mysterious piece of household equipment.
Hot Water Heater Types
If you are in the market for a new water heater for your home, you have several options from which to choose:
- Conventional storage: This type of water heater is the most common and features a storage tank that, depending on the size, can hold between 30 and 80 gallons of hot water. The energy source for tank water heaters can be natural gas, propane, oil or electricity. The tank contains a gauge that measures the water temperature and causes the unit to turn on automatically when it drops below the preset level.
- Tankless: Unlike conventional models that use a 24/7 continual heating process, tankless heaters only heat water on demand. Because you do not need to store water in a tank, you end up paying for only the hot water you actually use, which can result in significant energy savings. On the downside, tankless models have low flow rates, which means that one unit can accommodate only one household appliance at a time.
- Solar: These units rely on the power of the sun to heat water. They feature two primary components: a solar collector that receives the sun's energy and a storage tank to hold the heated water. A properly functioning solar model can be the most energy-efficient water heater type.
Water Heater Parts and Components
Some examples of the various parts and components found in gas-powered conventional storage hot water heaters include:
- Burner: The burner ignites the gas and heats the water inside the tank.
- Flue pipe: This part extends from the top of the water heater and evacuates the gases generated during combustion.
- Draft diverter: The diverter is a fitting on the end of the flue pipe that propels the gases into the pipe for evacuation.
- Temperature and pressure relief valve: This water heater element releases pressure from the tank to prevent an explosion.
- Hot water outlet: This pipe drops down into the tank to allow the heated water to enter the home's water supply.
- Thermostat: Typically located at the bottom of the unit, this mechanism will enable you to adjust the water temperature.
Contact Mr. Rotor Plumbing of Oneida to Learn More
If you're located in the Greater Syracuse area or elsewhere in Onondaga County, the professionals at Mr. Rooter Plumbing can help you learn everything you to need to know about water heaters. We are also available to provide top-notch hot water heater maintenance and repair service. Give us a call at 315-472-1203 or contact us online to request a free estimate today.