How Does a Hot Water Heater Work?

Have you ever wondered how a hot water heater works? After all, water heaters are one of the many great inventions of our modern world. The ability to have hot water on command is vital to living a happy and healthy life. We need our hot water heaters to do all the essentials like cooking and cleaning but also for soothing and enjoyment. In our busy lives it can be easy to forget about our hard-working home appliances. However, it’s important to know what type of water heater is providing for your family and to know about how it works. Knowing what you have is vital to keeping it running longer and keep your home running smoothly. This is why we at McClain Bros. thought it would be a good idea to explain exactly how a hot water heater works.

What types of water heaters are there?

There are three main types of hot water heaters: tankless, gas, and electric. Each one may have some different variants on them but for the most part, they will classify as one of these three types. Gas and electric water heaters are similar in that they are a storage-based style, whereas tankless functions differently. Which you guessed it right, tankless water heaters have no tank.

Tankless Water Heater
McClain Bros can service your tankless water heater
Gas Water Heater
McClain Bros can service your gas water heater
Electric Water Heater
McClain Bros can service your electric water heater

How does a Tankless Water Heater work?

Also known as an “on-demand” water heater, this type is a newer type that is gaining in popularity. This is because of its energy efficiency, which makes it worth the pricier upfront costs. Tankless water heaters are smaller than their storage counterparts because, obviously, it doesn’t have a tank to store water. Rather it heats water as you turn on your sinks, tubs, or other appliances. 

As you need water, the tank-less heater will heat the naturally cold water that passes through it with either a gas or electric element. Gas-fired models tend to produce hot water quicker than electric models. Tankless water heaters are perfect for small homes that are more conservative on hot water use, however larger homes can still benefit from tankless water heaters. For instance, you can install more than one tankless heater for homes that use a lot of hot water. You are able to do this without taking up much space too. 

Additionally, there are solar-powered options if your area allows for them. Like most home appliances, some maintenance is required. Tankless water heaters do need to be flushed about once a year to keep it clean and in order to prevent clogs. The filtration and fans also require regular cleaning. While this may not sound difficult, it is highly recommended you get a professional to perform the maintenance. DIY solutions may void your warranty which can potentially cause a problem down the line. When properly cared for tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years, which is double the lifespan of those with storage tanks!

If you are interested in switching to a tankless water heater, contact McClain Bros.

How does a Gas Water Heater work?

How does an Electric Water Heater work?

Gas and electric water heaters are both storage style water heaters, which means they work in a similar fashion. Gas and electric water heaters store hot water until it is needed. However, one type is heated with a flame and uses natural gas, while the other uses resistant coils.

These heaters use the science of convection heating, specifically thermosiphon. Thermosiphon is a method of heat exchange that is based on natural convection heating. This allows the water in the tank to circulate without the need of a pump. So while cold water is constantly being supplied into the tank, either the flame or coils heat it. This causes the heated water to rise to the top, and the cold water to stay circulating near the heat source. That way when hot water is needed it will be available and used in whichever appliance requires it. 

Storage style water heaters are less efficient than tankless types but are more affordable and still the most common water heaters around. Electric water heaters are a bit more energy efficient but gas is still considered better at heating in general.

Gas and Electric water heaters do require less maintenance overall than the tankless, but also do have a shorter lifespan. When going on a trip it is recommended to adjust the water heater’s thermostat to save on some energy. We recommend to keep an eye and ear out for any signs that your water heater might need some attention. These signs can include leaking, noises, or a loss in water pressure and temperature. If you have any issues with your hot water heater, be sure to call a us here at McClain Bros., your professional and local plumbing experts in water heaters. That way we can resolve any hot water heater issues you may have right away!

Water Heater Services for Bucks County

Keep your whole home happier and healthier, and operating more efficiently by making sure your vital appliances get the TLC (tender love and care) they deserve when needed. Knowing how your home works will help you avoid emergency situations such as expensive repairs or water damage that’ll need restoration. Be sure to talk to your local trusted plumber the McClain Bros., the highest quality water heater professionals in the greater Philadelphia area. We are ready to help all of Bucks County and Montgomery County for all of your plumbing and water heater needs! Call us today for reliable, affordable and most importantly our high quality professional service!