The domestic water servicing your home enters the house at temperatures around 55 degrees. In order to have hot water in your house, it must be heated. The heating of the water is done with a hot water heater. The majority of homes in the U.S. have water heaters. They look like big metal cylinders or tall drums usually situated or placed in the basement or the laundry room. However, other types especially newer, more advanced water heaters, are available without a water tank and thus are called, tank-less water heaters.
However, it is still the traditional tank water heater design that is widely used today and the operation of these water heaters is fairly straight forward. It is a drum filled with water and some sort of heating mechanism either on the bottom or inside of the tank.
What’s Inside the Hot Water Heater?
Below is a brief discussion of the components of a typical hot water heater for residential use:
Tank – the water heater has an inner shell made of metal. It contains a water protective liner that can hold between forty to sixty gallons of hot water and about fifty to a hundred PSI – within the ideal pressure range of a residential water system. Some heaters come with water tanks that are slightly larger. Most of the time, the tank is covered and protected by insulating material such as polyurethane foam. The same is covered by another outer shell and insulating blanket.
Dip Tube – the dip tube meanwhile is where the cold water enters to reach the water heater. It is found at the top of the tank and covers from top to bottom of the tank, where the water will be heated.
Shutoff Valve – this component meanwhile is responsible for stopping the water flow into the water heater. It is actually a separate component from the heater itself and it is found above the heater.
Thermostat – the thermostat is a thermometer. It is the device in the water heater that controls temperature. As for electric water heater types, there is usually a separate thermostat for every element.
Heating Mechanism – the heating mechanism varies, depending primarily on the type of hot water system. For instance, electric varieties have heating elements found inside the tank to heat water. Gas water heaters on the other hand have a burner and some type of chimney system.
Hot Water Exit Pipe – this is the pipe where the hot water exist the eater heater and is usually placed on top of the interior portion of the tank. The purpose of this pipe is to allow the hot water to exit or get out of the water heater.
Pressure Relief Valve – this component on the other hand is primarily intended to keep the pressure inside the water heater within normal operating pressures. It is there to guarantee the safe limits of heating and pressure.
Drain Valve – the drain valve is found at the bottom of the exterior housing. It is the component that makes it a lot more convenient to empty the tank in order to replace other components or to get rid of sediments or perhaps move the tank to another area.
Sacrificial Anode Rod – lastly, there’s the sacrificial anode rod. It is usually made of aluminum or magnesium coupled with a steel core. The rod is suspended in the heater tank. Its main purpose is to prevent corrosion inside.