Your water heater is a crucial part of the overall plumbing system because it supplies instant, stored, hot or boiling water to use your appliances or to take a bath or shower. It can be gas or electric, and servicing your water heater annually can extend its life and efficiency.
Gas water heaters are typically cheaper to
Water heaters generally have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years. It is connected to every fixture in the home. Whether gas or electric-powered, the water heater is typically the second largest energy user after the central heating system. This is why it is so crucial to maintain it well in order to conserve energy.
It is important to know how your water heater works so that you can take better control over your home appliances and bills. Without proper care and maintenance, you may risk an explosion from a gas leak.
Components of a Gas Water Heater
- The Tank – This is the big cylinder that holds water, and it is the largest component of the appliance.
- Dip Tube – The dip tube is a plastic pipe that deposits cold water coming in to the tank to the bottom where it’s then heated. Gas and electric water heaters have identical dip tubes.
- Discharge Pipe – As the water is heated, it travels to the top where it leaves the tank through the discharge pipe and is transported throughout your home.
- Shut-off Valve – The shut-off valve stops water flow into the heater, and is what you can use to shut off water in the case of an emergency. It is located outside and above the unit.
- Thermostat – This is a thermometer- and temperature-control device that is used to control how how the water gets in a water heater.
- Drain valve – Located near the bottom of the tank, the drain valve is what allows you to empty the tank to replace the elements, get rid of sediment or relocate the tank. This component is susceptible to leaks due to use and deterioration overtime.
- Insulation – Water heaters generally have insulation that encases the metal tank to retain heat in the tank. The better the insulation, the less thermal heat loss.
- Heat-out pipe –Suspended toward the top of the tank’s interior, the heat-out pipe allows the hot water to exit the water heater.
- Burner – The burner ignites propane or natural gas, and heats the tank. This transfers heat to the water inside.
- Heating mechanism – Electric water heaters have heating elements inside the tank to heat the water. Gas water heaters use a burner and chimney system instead.
- Pressure relief valve – This is a safety device that retains the pressure inside the water heater within safe limits.
Troubleshooting a Gas Water Heater
If your shower is freezing cold or taking longer for your water to heat up to the right temperature, here are some common reasons why you are no longer getting any hot water:
The pilot light is out.
This is the most common hot water problem to fix. Luckily, it is a simple fix. Start by checking to see if the pilot light is still on (if you need helping
In the following video, find out how the pilot light lies within an outer and inner cover with help from a master plumber and heating specialist:
Sediment buildup causes
Flushing the tank periodically can prevent these problems. It is something you cannot ignore, as it can cause a premature tank failure.
If you have a gas water heater, you may notice a rotten egg smell around the water heater. The most common cause is too much sulfur present in your water. It’s not harmful but still an irritant for obvious reasons.
Broken Dip Tube
A broken dip tube allows cold water to enter the top of the tank, which means less hot water during your bath or shower. If you have a broken dip tube, a lot less hot water will be available. If you run out of hot water fast and faucet aerators are clogged with plastic pieces, this could be symptomatic of a broken dip tube.
Leaking Water Heater
If the tank is leaking, one of the components may have sprung a leak due to sediment build-p inside the tank. You can prevent this from happening by cleaning your water heater on a regular basis, softening hard water with a water softening agent, and reducing the temperature of the water heater to 130 degrees.
If there is any rust in your tank, you cannot remove that buildup and the entire unit will need to be replaced.
If you are getting hot water but it’s not getting hot enough, you may need to adjust the temperature on your water heater thermostat. If your thermostats are not working correctly, you may need to replace them.