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The Water Heater: Understanding How It Works Can Prolong Its Life

The Water Heater: Understanding How It Works Can Prolong Its LifeMost people tend to take their hot water for granted when they hit the shower in the morning or wash their dishes at night. But when the unit breaks down, it becomes all too apparent that this home appliance is a necessity. Learning how your water heater works can help prolong its life span by allowing you to pinpoint potential problems before that become major repairs.

Inside the Unit

The water heater has a rather elegant design. The tank typically holds between 40 and 60 gallons, depending on the unit, and the inside of the tank is lined with a protective liner.

The unit has a thermometer that keeps the water at the desired temperature, which is set by the user. This temperature can be anywhere from 49 to 82 degrees Celsius. However, most manufacturers recommend the thermostat be set to somewhere between 49 and 60 degrees Celsius to prevent scalding injuries.

Heating the Water

A dip tube runs from your home’s water source to the top of the water heater where the water enters the tank and travels to the bottom. This is where the water begins to warm up. A heating element or burner will stay on until the water reaches the desired temperature.

Because heat rises, the water rises to the top of the tank as it heats, which means the water at the top is always the hottest. It then exits the tank through a heat-out pipe located at or near the top of the tank.

A water heater also has a drain valve on the exterior at the bottom for easy draining and a shut-off valve that stops the flow of water to the unit. A pressure-release valve is located inside the unit and maintains the pressure at safe levels. To prevent corrosion, a magnesium or aluminum sacrificial anode rod with a steel core is suspended inside the tank.

For more expert advice and information about your water heater or if you need help servicing your unit, contact us at Arpi’s Industries. We have proudly served Calgary for more than 50 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Image courtesy of Shutterstock