Water heaters are essential to many of our day-to-day domestic functions, such as bathing, washing dishes, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, and even washing our hands. However, you've probably never thought twice about how they work and other important maintenance information.
The Parts of a Water Heater
Water heaters utilize a heating element—often a burner of sorts—to raise the temperature of the water before it ever even reaches your faucet or shower head.
A water heater is comprised of multiple elements:
- The Tank is the inner shell of the water heater, with a capacity of somewhere between 40 to 60 gallons of hot water at about 50 to 100 lbs per square inch.
- The Dip Tube allows water to travel into the tank and down towards the heating element.
- A Shut-Off Valve, as its name implies, is a separate component that stops all water flow into the water heater.
- A Thermostat not only measures the temperature of the water, but allows you to set the maximum heat to somewhere between the range of 120-180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The Heating Element is a mechanism that electrically raises the temperature of the water. Gas water heaters, on the other hand, utilize a burner and chimney in place of electricity to raise the temperature.
- A Drain Valve is located near the bottom of an exterior casing, allowing the tank to empty sediment and easily replace elements.
- A Pressure Relief Valve is a safety device that keeps water pressure within a safe operating limit.
- A Sacrificial Anode Rod is constructed of aluminum and magnesium with a steel core. It is suspended within the water heater to prevent corrosion.
Additional Water Heater Facts
- The general lifespan of a water heater is 8 to 12 years. However, some situations may warrant a sooner replacement. Even if your water heater is in good condition towards the end of its lifespan, it is still recommended to replace it, to be on the safe side.
- A professional should inspect your water heater once every 6 to 12 months.
- A water heater consumes about a quarter of the energy used within your home.
- The first water heater was conceptualized by a painter in London in 1868.
- Exploding water heaters are a myth, as it almost never happens. However, it can still happen, technically. As long as you follow through with regular maintenance and replace your water heater every decade or so, you shouldn't have to worry.
- The average person will use between 6 and 8 gallons of water while showering. Those who bathe, on the other hand, will use about 15-20 gallons of water.