How Does a Water Heater Work?

How Does a Water Heater Work?

Just like nearly every other convenience in a person’s home, having a regular supply of hot water is only truly appreciated when it stops. Oftentimes, the realization that you have run out of hot water comes at the most inopportune times, such as while taking a shower or doing a load of laundry. Fortunately, hot water heaters are generally pretty reliable machines that can run for upwards of a decade. However, if the time should ever come where your water heater malfunctions, having some background information into how these machines work can be invaluable. Even if you may not be able to fix it yourself, knowing how a water heater works can help you diagnose the problem faster.

How Do Tank Water Heaters Work?

Most homes are equipped with traditional tank heaters with large, cylindrical tanks that hold up to 100 gallons of water. Traditional heaters heat water by burning some sort of fuel, be it natural gas or
electricity. This heated water is stored in the insulated tanks and is continuously kept warm until it is ready to be used.

At the top of the unit are two pipes – the water supply and the delivery pipes. Cold water comes through the supply pipe into the bottom of the tank through the dip tube, with warm water being taken out of the heater through the delivery pipe. All heaters have a temperature-and-pressure (T&P) relief valve to ensure both the water’s temperature and pressure stay within a safe range. This valve is oftentimes attached to a pipe running down the outside of the tank and is designed to open in the event that a problem exists.

On the bottom of every tank is a drain spigot to empty the heater as necessary, along with a valve on the supply pipe for shutting down the hot water supply to the home. Since these tanks are oftentimes constructed of steel, they are often constructed with an inner glass insulator and magnesium anode rods to protect against corrosion. Corrosion is one of the most frequent reasons why tanks fail over time.

How Do Tankless Heaters Work?

As their name would suggest, tankless heaters do not have a large reservoir for storing water. Instead, these types of units heat water on-demand as it is needed. These systems have a coil of pipes that travels from the cold water supply to the delivery pipe. As hot water is needed, the unit’s boiler or electric heating element heats the coil, thereby heating the water within it. Tankless heaters do not have to continuously keep a supply of water warm and are more energy efficient.

Columbia, SC Water Heater Services

If your water heater is in need of replacement, repair, or installation, the friendly Columbia water heater technicians at Plumbing Solutions, LLC have you covered. We know water heaters inside and out and can provide the quality workmanship you need to ensure your plumbing needs are fixed promptly and correctly the first time around. Best of all, with 24 hour emergency services, we can handle any home plumbing catastrophe at any time.

Call (803) 618-4163 to schedule a service today!