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How Does a Water Heater Work?

How Does a Water Heater Work?

When it comes to home appliances, we can’t think of anything that gets more use than your water heater. Between washing dishes, washing clothes and taking showers, your water heater is there. Though you may not spend a lot of time thinking about your water heater, we believe in providing a basic understanding of how it works. In this blog we’re answering the question, “how does a water heater work?”

Types of water heaters

Before we tell you how water heaters work, we’re going to talk about the two most common types of water heaters. If you live in Sacramento, Stockton, or Vacaville, you most likely have one of these two water heaters.
  • Standard – The standard water heater is fueled by either electricity or gas. Both have their pros and cons. Gas powered water heaters are more expensive to purchase, but cost less to operate. On the flipside, electric water heaters are more efficient, but can cost more to run. When choosing between one, it’s best to consider the type of power already existing in your home and what will work the best. Both gas and electric water heaters work the same way. They store hot water in the tank until that water is needed. Then, when the hot water is used the tank refills and the process starts over again.
  • Tankless – Tankless water heaters live up to their name. These compact appliances are oftentimes installed directly on a wall. Instead of storing water in a tank for future use, the tankless system warms water as it is requested. For example, when someone turns on a warm water tap, cool water will travel from the outside water supply into the water heater. The tankless appliance warms water as it travels through the system; voiding the need for a tank and ensuring a home will never run out of hot water.

How Does a Traditional Water Heater Work?

A traditional water heater stores warm, treated water in a tank. The water stays in the tank until someone turns on a hot water faucet. When the tank needs to be refilled, cool, outside water enters through the dip tube. The dip tube lives at the top of the tank and extends to the bottom. It disperses cool water to the bottom of the tank and allows hot, treated water to stay at the top. If you’ve ever heard the term “heat rises” it applies to this scenario. Hot water will naturally rise to the top while cool water stays below. Once cool water is delivered to the bottom of the tank a heating mechanism will warm the water and keep it warm until it is needed. In electric water heaters, the heating components are inside the system; gas systems use a burner and chimney. A thermostat controls the temperature of all water in the tank. One of the biggest downsides to these traditional systems is that a busy home can run out of hot water. The tank only holds a specific amount of water until it needs to be refilled.

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

We’re seeing more homeowners opt for tankless water heaters. Tankless heaters have no storage tank, leaving more room, and uses less energy than a standard water heater. Tankless heaters also never run out of hot water; they’re perfect for large families or households. The tankless water heater sits idle until someone in the house turns on a hot water tap. Once this happens, the system will pull cold water from an outside supply. As the water travels into the system, a series of heating elements—either gas or electric—will warm the water as it passes through. Once the tap is turned off, the system turns off. This system ensures a home will never run out of hot water, no matter how many people need to shower. Additionally, Tankless water heaters are the more energy efficient than standard water heaters because they only heats water as needed.

Interested in a New Water heater? Bell Brothers is Here for You.

If you want to learn more about water heaters or want to explore the best option for your home, call the experts at Bell Brothers. Our plumbers are up to date on the best type of water heater for your specific need. We proudly serve our Sacramento, Stockton, and Vacaville communities. To schedule service, call the number at the top of the screen today!