What Is a Water Heater?

Water Heater Denver is a major appliance that keeps incoming cold water hot to provide hot water for your showers, sinks, tubs, and dishwasher. Most homes use conventional tank-type models powered by either gas or electricity.

Water enters the tank through a dip tube, and a heating element or burner heats it up until your desired temperature is reached. There’s also a thermostat and pressure relief valve for safety.

Water Heater

Generally found in homes, tank-style water heaters use an insulated tank to heat and store hot water until needed. They can run on a variety of home power sources, including electricity, natural gas, liquid propane or oil. A gauge on the unit indicates when it is time to refill and heat the tank again, a process that goes on 24 hours a day. When the tank reaches capacity, a pipe emerges from the top of the heater to supply the demand for hot water to appliances, showers and sinks throughout the house.

The water heater tank is equipped with a cold water inlet pipe, a hot water discharge pipe, and a safety valve to prevent the unit from overheating and flooding a house if it becomes damaged. A gas line connects to the water heater’s burner, and a vent pipe channels combustion gases outside through the tank’s chimney or vent system. A spiral metal baffle inside the flue pipe captures any leftover heat from combustion, further increasing the water heater’s efficiency.

A drain valve on the bottom of the tank allows the user to easily remove sediment from the unit. Also near the bottom is a shut-off valve to prevent water from flowing out of the tank when it’s emptied.

An electric heating element is located inside the tank to raise and maintain the water temperature set by a thermostat. A longer dip tube brings cold water into the bottom of the tank for heating, and a shorter hot water discharge pipe funnels off the hottest water at the top of the tank. Because hot water has less density than cold water, the hot water is drawn off on demand from fixtures throughout the house.

While convenient and cost-effective, the constant availability of hot water requires a lot of energy to heat and keep warm. The energy consumed to maintain a large volume of water at a hot temperature is known as standby energy loss, and it accounts for 10 to 20 percent of a home’s annual water-heating costs. Some newer storage models are designed to reduce this waste by using a new type of insulation that is less susceptible to condensation.

A tankless water heater costs more upfront than a traditional model, but energy efficiency savings cut your electric or gas bill so that you can break even in just a few years. Depending on your usage, you could save even more. These units have a burner that heats water only when it’s needed, instead of heating gallons at a time and holding them in reserve. This cuts your energy consumption by 24 to 34 percent.

They have no storage tanks, which reduces the risk of leaks that may cause costly damage. They can also operate at lower pressures than traditional units, so they are less likely to produce dangerous carbon monoxide if there is a problem with the combustion process. They can run on natural or propane gas, and some have digital connectivity that lets you control the temperature and monitor energy and hot water use from your smartphone.

One disadvantage of on-demand water heaters is that they need a constant flow of water to keep them operating properly. This means that if you run too many things at once that require hot water, you could exhaust the system and get only lukewarm water for hours until it recharges. This is why those who have them tend to limit their use of dishwashers and washing machines at the same time.

Because they burn a different fuel than traditional heaters, these models have to be connected to a compatible gas line and a dedicated electrical circuit. Some have a built-in recirculation pump that can be activated by a timer, motion sensor or smartphone app to push water back through the heater, so you’ll always have instant hot water.

Look for a pro who understands the unique venting, gas and electrical requirements of these units and can install them according to local codes. You’ll also want a pro who can make sure the gas line is adequate, install an inline filter or aerators, and ensure that the unit’s air supply and exhaust vent are free of blockage and corrosion. They should also provide annual service, including cleaning or changing filters and performing a vinegar flush to keep hard-water minerals from clogging the heat exchanger.

Home energy efficiency has improved drastically over the past several decades thanks to better heating, cooling, and insulation systems. But water heaters still require a significant amount of energy to function. Upgrading to a more efficient model can save you a great deal of money and contribute to a greener lifestyle.

Whether you are thinking of replacing your current water heater or simply looking for ways to reduce your energy consumption, there are many easy steps you can take. These can include lowering the temperature settings on your hot water system, using colder wash cycles on your dishwasher, taking shorter showers, and only filling your bathtub partially. These changes can all have a big impact on how much energy your water heater consumes.

Standby heat losses, which occurs while the water heater is storing hot water, can be reduced by using an insulated blanket around your tank. These are available at most home improvement stores and are relatively inexpensive. They can cut heat loss by up to 45% and help your water heater operate more efficiently.

It’s important to make sure that your new water heater is properly sized for your household needs. The best way to do this is by using a specialized online calculator that will take into account the number of people living in your home, the average length and temperature of your showers, how often you run the washing machine and dishwasher, and other factors that influence your daily usage of hot water. A reputable plumber or home energy expert can also help you determine the appropriate size of your water heater to maximize efficiency.

Another way to improve your water heater’s energy efficiency is by insulating your hot water pipes. This will minimize the amount of heat that is lost as water travels from your hot water heater to where you use it. It can also help your hot water reach the desired temperature faster, so you don’t have to wait as long for it to arrive.

Another option is to consider switching to a demand water heater. These do not have a storage tank, so they can be more efficient than traditional models, and they are also less likely to leak. They work by heating the water only when you need it, so they are a good fit for households that use 41 gallons or less of hot water per day. However, they do require an electrical outlet to operate and may require special wiring that’s different than the wiring used by conventional storage tanks.

The water heater is the appliance that heats incoming cold water so your home’s appliances and fixtures can output hot water. Your clothes washer, dishwasher, showers and tubs all rely on it to produce warm or hot water.

Installing a new water heater is often considered a DIY project. However, a qualified professional plumber will ensure that all installation work follows national and local plumbing, electrical and building codes. They will also verify that the new heater matches your home’s specific energy needs. Professional installers may also help you qualify for rebates and tax credits that will reduce your overall costs.

Before you begin installing the new unit, shut off water and electricity to the old one. It’s also a good idea to remove the access panel on the electric water heater and disconnect its wires, marking each with pieces of tape so you can reconnect them on the new unit. If you’re replacing an existing gas or electric unit, it’s important to drain the old water heater before removing it. This will remove all the sediment and minerals that have built up inside the tank over time, making it easier to drain later.

Once you have the new water heater installed, it’s important to test for any leaks or other issues. For example, you’ll want to make sure that the temperature and pressure relief valve is properly connected. These valves will discharge water if the pressure in the tank becomes too high and will prevent the unit from exploding or releasing dangerous gases into your home.

You’ll also want to make sure that the venting system is properly configured. Most modern homes require a venting system that uses a double-chambered pipe to both direct the exhaust gases out of the house and allow fresh air in at the same time. Depending on your location, code may also require that the pipe be insulated and that you have a power fan to assist with venting. If you’re installing a gas water heater, you will need an approved natural gas line to use it.