The Basics About Water Heaters: Types, Parts and How They work

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Parts of a Water Heater and the Two Basic Types of Water Heaters: Tank Type and Tankless

This is the type of water heater everyone has seen and most have in their home. Traditionally they are the most energy inefficient ÿhowever new self condensing and power direct vent tank type water heaters have been developed by American/A.O. Smith that bring 95% efficiency to the consumer. The following cross sectional gas water heater parts diagram shows the components common to most tank type heaters.

This valve shuts the cold water supply down when a heater needs to be drained or replaced

?This is a fitting on the end of the flue pipe that gather the gasses to be safely evacuated into the flue and then to the outside.

?This is another pretty self explanatory term. This valve allows excessÿheat or pressure to be released from a hot water tank so it doesn?t explode. They are code on all tank type water heaters. If your T&P valve is constantly discharging you should replace.

?Put it simply this a pipe that is attached to the T&P valve, in the event that the T&P valve releases excess heat/steam the pipe allows the water to drain safely away from the heater. Some municipalities allow you to pipe the overflow to the floor but some require the overflow to be piped to a floor drain.

It?s the pipe that drops down into the heater that allows the hot water exit the heater in enter into the potable water supply in a home or business.

?This is an extremely important part of a tank type water heater. They are installed at the top of the tank and are generally made of magnesium or aluminum with a steel core. Simply put through electrolysis the anode rods will corrode before the exposed metal in the tank. If the anode rod has been corroded the water begins to attack the exposed metals and your water heater will eventually fail. If your water heater has an egg smell and someone tells you to remove the anode rod tell them no. It will void the warranty of every water heater from every water heater manufacturer in the world. (Please see detailed description of anode rods in the profession plumbing section.)

?The dip tube is a tube connected to the cold water inlet and extends nearly to the bottom of the tank. Because hot water rises to the top the dip tub allows the cold water to enter at the bottom of the tank where it is heater rising to the top always self circulating. This also helps circulation of suspended solids so they don?t sit at the bottom of the tank. Most water heaters have dip tubes unless the cold water inlet is at the bottom of the heater.

Gas Water Heater Parts Diagram

?All tank type water heaters have insulation that wraps the metal tank to keep the heat in the tank the more insulation the lessÿthermal heat loss.

Here is the Skinny on Tankless Water Heaters and How They Work

?It?s the valve installed at the bottom of a tank type water heater that allows the tank to be drained down.

?It is a mechanism to control how hot the water gets in a water heater. Most local plumbing codes have minimum/maximum temperatures that water heaters be set. Water heaters typically perform better and longer when set at a higher temperatures but because of scalding issues must be tempered down. In commercial applications the heater is usually set at a higher temperature and tempered down at the source i.e. lavatories showers etc.

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