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Anatomy of Home Water Heaters

Dec 09, 2021
Anatomy of Home Water Heaters

Your home’s water heater works hard all year round to provide you with hot water at a moment’s notice. Even though water heaters look like simple fixtures on the outside, they exploit a number of components to deliver hot water with a minimum of fuss.

In this article, we will look at the anatomy of home water heaters to help you understand what goes on in the unit.

The following are the basic components of a water heater:

  • Tank: This is the big metal cylinder typically located in the basement of a home. A standard water heater tank holds around 40 to 60 gallons of hot water at 50 to 100 psi of pressure. It is heavily insulated to prevent heat loss and save energy. Tankless water heaters do not require storage tanks, as they are desfigned to heat water instantaneously as it travels through a pipe and into the unit. Unlike conventional water heaters, which continually heat water stored in a tank, tankless systems heat cold water immediately it enters the unit.
  • Dip Tube: This is a plastic pipe that fits into a water heater’s cold water inlet and runs down to the bottom of the tank. The pipe delivers cold water to the bottom of the tank where it’s heated to the desired temperature.
  • Shut-Off Valve: This valve is located on top of the water heater to allow you to stop the flow of water into the water heater.
  • Heat-Out Pipe: This pipe carries hot water from the water heater to your plumbing system.
  • Thermostat: This device keeps the temperature of the water inside the tank at the desired level. When the temperature dips below the desired level, the thermostat triggers the heating mechanism to start heating the water and cuts off the power supply once the desired temperature is achieved.
  • Heating Mechanism: Electric water heaters and gas water heaters use different heating mechanisms. Electric water heaters use electric heating elements inside the tank, while gas water heaters use a burner under the tank.
  • Drain Valve: This valve is located at bottom of the tank and allows you to empty the tank when you want to replace faulty components or remove built-up sediment.
  • Pressure Relief Valve: Also known as a T&P valve, a pressure relief valve prevents excess pressure buildup in the tank. When too much pressure builds up in the water heater, this valve releases some of the hot water and air to lower the pressure back down to safe levels.
  • Sacrificial Anode Rod: This is a long metal rod that protects your water heater from corrosion. It attracts corrosive elements through a process known as electrolysis to protect the tank’s lining from corrosion. 

Need Water Heater Replacement? Call Neighborhood Plumbing For Prompt And Reliable Service

While water heaters are built to last anywhere between 8 to 12 years, these fixtures may need replacement due to various reasons. When you need water heater replacement or maintenance, you can count on Neighborhood Plumbing to do an efficient job. Our talented plumbers are equipped with everything they need to perform efficient water heater replacement.

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