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How Does a Water Heater Work?

water heaters massachusetts Did you know that hot water generation comprises 20 percent of the energy usage in an average American home? That’s a significant investment of energy and money. A subpar water heater is more than a money-waster. It leads to lukewarm showers and long waits at a faucet that won’t warm up.

Let’s break down how water heaters work and how you can ensure you’re getting the most from your hot water system.

How water heaters operate

To begin, your water heater’s thermostat controls the water temperature inside its tank. Most of the time, this falls between 120 and 180 degrees. You can adjust the temperature of your water heater with a dial that’s generally near the bottom of the appliance.

Here’s the process your water heater uses to provide warm water:

  1. The dip tube brings cold water to your water heater’s tank.
  2. A burner turns on to heat this water to your preset temperature.
  3. Hot water naturally rises to the top of the tank.
  4. When a tap is opened in your home, the hot water at the top of your tank exits through the heat-out pipe.
  5. This process continues, with cold water entering at the bottom of the tank, rising as it gets hotter and exiting at the top.

There are other components in your water heater that ensure its health. One is the sacrificial anode rod. This magnesium or aluminum rod slows corrosion in your tank. There’s also a pressure relief valve to ensure that pressure in your tank stays at a safe level.

Getting robust hot water while spending less money

Often, homeowners don’t think about their hot water system until it stops working. Maybe their shower suddenly goes cold, or the tank on their unit starts leaking. Suddenly, they need an emergency water heater repair or replacement.

You can take simple steps to avoid losing hot water and save money on energy bills.

1. Flush your tank once a year

Flushing your water heater tank clears sediment that can corrode the inside of your unit and shorten its lifespan. It’s a simple process. You can contact Needham Oil Complete Heating & Cooling if you have questions.

2. Get regular service

Most people know they should get an annual tune-up for their heating systems. Water heaters benefit from regular maintenance too. Our technicians can check the health of your system and fix minor problems that could lower its efficiency or lead to breakdowns. Trust us: a tune-up pays for itself with reduced fuel use and avoided repairs.

3. Be proactive when it’s time for a new water heater.

The worst time to call us for a water heater installation is when your old unit has failed and you have no hot water. You’ll have to scramble for new equipment. You won’t be able to bathe. It’s a huge mess. Water heaters last around 10 years. If you plan ahead, you’ll have your choice of models and installation times.

Needham Oil Complete Heating & Cooling installs more water heaters than virtually anyone in Middlesex and Norfolk County. Contact us for a free estimate.