Earth For Energy

DIY Solar Water Heater Kit

How Do Hot Water Heaters Work

Hot water heaters are actually relatively simple appliances. As a result, it is easy to understand both how they work and how they can be repaired if necessary. Even if you do not have a lot of plumbing experience you can learn how to do the preventative maintenance necessary to keep your hot water heater running long-term.

Understanding how hot water heaters work will also help you if you’re thinking about building your own water heating system.

hot water heaters

All water heaters work on the same basic principles: cold water goes into the tank, comes into contact with some form of heat, and then hot water can be piped out of the water heater to your shower. For a traditional water heater, the heating elements are usually on the bottom of the water heater. The reason for this is that typically cool water will sink to the bottom of the tank. As a result, the hot water is near where the water heater pipes it out to be used and the cold water ends up next to the heater.

You can run out of hot water if you use it faster than the heater is able to warm the water. If you notice this happening on a regular basis it can mean a few things. It might mean that there is something wrong with your water heater - like a leak. It may also mean that the heating elements are burned out or not working as well as they should be.

Here are a few problems that your hot water heater can have as well as some advice as to how you can fix it without too much trouble. Why pay for a plumber if you don’t need to?

If you are running out of water too quickly, it could mean that the dip tube is broken in your hot water heater. This is less obvious than if your hot water heater has an external leak. In this case, not all of the incoming cold water will end up on the bottom of the tank near the heater. Since any time you use hot water, cold water comes into the tank, there will end up being a flow of cold water near the top of the tank. This water will mix with the warm water and may even overwhelm it, making it seem as though your water tank is out of hot water, even if there is a lot of hot water left.

You may also have problems with sediment if the water is not heating properly. If there is too much sediment build up on the bottom of the tank, it can act as an insulator. This keeps the heat from reaching the water above it. Sediment at the bottom of the tank can also contribute to making the tank noisy. Bubbles from superheated water that gets trapped under the sediment can cause the sediment to shift when they finally escape.

You can fix sediment build up by flushing out the hot water tank. You should do this as soon as possible if you have a loud water heater because another cause of hot water heater noises is water leaking onto the heating element. Leaking water can cause a power short and should be checked right away.

Whether your have a DIY water heater or one that you bought, all water heaters operate in the same basic way. Cold water enters the hot water heaters, the water is heated, and then it is piped out for use. Understanding this can make hot water heaters easier to fix.

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