How Does a Water Heater Work?

It’s difficult to picture a life without access to hot water, as water heaters have become standard in most homes in the United States. Even when the weather outside is warm, a cold shower is simply not bearable for most people, and besides, we use hot water for cleaning, food preparation, and many daily grooming tasks. But most people do not take the time to think about how the hot water heater works. However, understanding a few basics of how the traditional storage tank water heater can help you to recognize trouble so that you can call for repairs as soon as problems occur. Let’s take a look at some of the fundamentals.

The parts of a water heater are actually not too complex. Your unit needs a pilot light for a gas burner, or electrical wiring for an electric heating element, depending on how you power your unit. But the rest is fairly simple to understand. A pipe called the dip tube runs from your cold water supply all the way down to the bottom of the tank. This is where the water heats up, and it naturally rises to the top of the tank, where it exits through a pipe when you turn on a hot water tap. As long as the dip tube is free of cracks, the burner works properly, and the water heater is the right size for your family’s needs, you should get an adequate amount of hot water.

The tank is made out of steel, which may be problematic because a steel tank can rust. Steel is an iron alloy, and iron rusts when it reacts with water and oxygen to form iron oxide. A rusting tank is bound to corrode, which is why your tank typically has a glass liner to protect it. But this can form cracks, so you also have a sacrificial anode rod for further rust protection. The anode rod is made up of aluminum or magnesium, elements which are highly corrosive, so this should corrode before the tank does. It’s vital to replace the rod from time to time in case it wears down too much.

For water heater maintenance or repair in Pickering, trust in the water heater professionals at Advantage Airtech today!