The Design of Water Heaters Is Simple But Continues to Stand the Test of Time
The water coming into your home makes a journey through a system of pipes, and it's cool or typically cold, depending on the season. To have water hot enough to take a hot shower or bath, or use your dishwashing machine or washing machine, you need a water heater.
Water heaters are familiar sights in most houses. They generally look like big metal cylinders, tall drums that are more often than not located in a laundry room or basement.
More recent styles have some fascinating features, like losing the tank completely in favor of water-on-demand, however the old, dependable water heater style that's most commonly used in the U.S. today is actually a quite simple home appliance; it's generally a drum filled with water and geared up with a heating mechanism on the bottom or within. Despite the fact that they lack the drama and complexity, hot water heater are still pretty remarkable.
What makes them intriguing is that they exploit the heat rising principle to provide warm water right to your faucet with a minimum of hassle. Do not let the basic shape, shrouded in its wooly insulating blanket fool you. Hot water heaters have an ingenious design on the inside for something that looks so normal on the outside.
Now we are going to take a more detailed look at what's actually going on in that big steel can of a water heater in your basement.
Inside a Water Heater
Let's take a glance at the parts that collaborate in your hot water heater to make your early morning shower so satisfying:
Tank - The inner shell of a water heater is a heavy metal tank consisting of a water protective liner that holds 40 to 60 gallons (151 to 227 liters) of hot water at around 50 to 100 pounds per square inch (PSI), within the pressure range of a typical home water system. The outside of the tank is covered in an insulating product like polyurethane foam. Over that, there's a decorative outer shell and potentially an extra insulating blanket
Dip Tube - Water goes into the hot water heater through the dip tube at the top of the tank and journeys to the tank bottom where it's then heated up.
Shut-off valve -The shut-off valve stops water flow into the water heater. It's a different element from the heater situated outside and above the unit.
Heat-out pipe -Suspended towards the top of the tank's interior, the heat-out pipe permits the hot water to exit the water heater.
Thermostat - This is a thermometer- and temperature-control gadget. Some electric water heaters have a separate thermostat for each element.
Heating mechanism - Electric water heaters have heating elements inside the tank to heat the water. Gas water heaters use a burner and chimney system instead.
Drain valve - Located near the bottom of the outside housing, the drain valve makes it easy to empty the tank to replace the aspects, eliminate sediment or move the tank to another area.
Pressure relief valve - This security device keeps the pressure inside the water heater within safe limits.
Sacrificial anode rod - Made from magnesium or aluminum with a steel core, the sacrificial anode rod is suspended in the water heater tank to help slow down corrosion.
Now, let's see how all these parts collaborate to offer you with warm water.
TAKING TOO DAMN LONG?
The bottom heating aspect inside the tank might have burned out if your electrical water heating system is taking longer to bring water to temperature than it used to. It might also be time to use your tank's drain valve to eliminate accumulated sediment.
Heating the Water
Let's take a close-up take a look at what's going on inside a hot water heater's tank to see how simply and elegantly it does its task.
A hot water heater's thermostat manages the temperature level of the water inside the tank. Usually, you can set the temperature anywhere between 120 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to 82 degrees Celsius). The water temperature level setting recommended by a lot of makers is in between 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to 60 degrees Celsius). This is hot enough to be effective for household usage, however not so hot that it can present a scalding danger. If there are children living in your house, it's a good idea to stay closer to the lower end of the range.
Setting your water heater to a lower temperature level saves energy, too, and if you remember to turn down the heat when you go on holiday, you'll experience significant energy savings. Generally, the thermostat lies underneath a protective cover plate and has a knob or dial you can turn to set the temperature.
The dip tube feeds cold water from your house's water lines to the bottom of the tank's interior, where the water begins to warm up. Water exiting the water heater at the top is constantly the hottest in the tank at any given minute, since it's the nature of hot water to rise above denser cold water.
The secret to a hot water heater's design for separating cold, incoming water from hot, outgoing water is that it counts on the concept that heat rises to do the hard part. The position of the heat-out pipeline at the top of the tank does the rest.