Plus Plumbing are specialists in the installation of all kinds of water heaters. You can purchase your Water Heater wherever you wish and we will install it, meeting all safety standards and codes.
Conventional Storage Water Heaters
Conventional storage water heaters remain the most popular type of water heating system for the home. Here you’ll find basic information about how storage water heaters work; what criteria to use when selecting the right model; and some installation, maintenance, and safety tips.
How They Work
A single-family storage water heater offers a ready reservoir—from 20 to 80 gallons—of hot water. It operates by releasing hot water from the top of the tank when you turn on the hot water tap. To replace that hot water, cold water enters the bottom of the tank, ensuring that the tank is always full.
The Illustration above shows the parts of a storage water heater. On top of the tank are two thin pipes; one pipe is the hot water outlet, and the other is the cold water inlet. A large pipe in the middle is called a vent pipe. A pressure/temperature relief valve is also on top of the tank and is connected to an open pipe that runs down the side of the tank. Another valve near the bottom of the outside of the tank is the thermostat and gas valve. A cutout shows the parts inside the tank, which include a large tube called a flue tube/heat exchanger. Inside this tube is a jagged insert called a flue baffle. Beside the flue tube/heat exchanger is a thin tube called the anode rod. At the bottom of the tank is a gas burner, and beneath the burner are combustion air openings.
Conventional storage water heater fuel sources include natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and electricity. Natural gas and propane water heaters basically operate the same. A gas burner under the tank heats the water. A thermostat opens the gas valve as the water temperature falls. The valve closes when the temperature rises to the thermostat’s setpoint. Oil-fired water heaters operate similarly, but they have power burners that mix oil and air in a vaporizing mist, ignited by an electric spark. Electric water heaters have one or two electric elements, each with its own thermostat. With two electric elements, a standby element at the bottom of the tank maintains the minimum thermostat setting while the upper demand element provides hot water recovery when demand heightens.
Because water is constantly heated in the tank, energy can be wasted even when a hot water tap isn’t running. This is called standby heat loss. Only tankless water heaters—such as demand water heaters and tankless coil water heaters—avoid standby heat losses. However, you can find some storage water heater models with heavily insulated tanks, which significantly reduce standby heat losses, lowering annual operating costs.
Proper installation and maintenance of your water heater can optimize its energy efficiency. Proper installation depends on many factors. These factors include fuel type, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues, especially concerning the combustion of gas- and oil-fired water heaters. Therefore, it’s best to have a qualified plumbing and heating contractor install your storage water heater.
Periodic water heater maintenance can significantly extend your water heater’s life and minimize loss of efficiency. Read your owner’s manual for specific maintenance recommendations. Routine maintenance for storage water heaters, depending on what type/model you have, may include: * Flushing a quart of water from the storage tank every three months * Checking the temperature and pressure valve every six months * Inspecting the anode rod every three to four years.