Your water heater is an appliance that converts energy to heat. It transfers that heat to water. So it’s connected to a cold water supply pipe and it has an outgoing hot water pipe that supplies heated water to faucets and appliances. But how does a water heater work? Let’s take a quick look at the components that work together in your water heater to make your morning shower so satisfying.
The tank is the shell of a water heater. It is a heavy metal with a protective liner that holds forty to sixty gallons of hot water. Water enters the water heater through the dip tube at the top of the tank and travels to the tank bottom where it’s then heated. The shut off valve stops water flow into the water heater. So it’s a separate component from the heater located outside and above the unit.
Towards the top of the tanks interior is the heat out pipe. This allows the hot water to exit the water heater. Just like in your house there is a thermostat that controls the temperature of the hot water. Some electric water heaters have a separate thermostat for each element. Electric water heaters have heating elements inside the tank to heat the water. Gas water heaters use a burner and chimney system instead. To keep the pressure inside the water heater within safe limits there is a pressure relief valve. At the very bottom of the tank there is a drain valve. This valve makes it easy to empty the water heater to replace the elements, remove sediment or move the tank to another location.