How a Gas and Electric Water Heater Work

How a Gas and Electric Water Heater Work

Hot water is one of those things we usually take for granted until suddenly we turn on the faucet and find only cold water pouring out. Without hot water, taking a shower or using a washing can be a pain. A large tank in your home, usually found in the basement, heats cool water and pumps the heated water throughout the home. If you have a home warranty plan, a water heater is covered, provided you perform proper maintenance on the tank. In order to do that, understanding how a water heater functions is imperative.

While there are multiple types of water heaters, this article will focus on the two most prominent kinds: gas and electric. Both are covered under Landmark’s home warranty plans.

Gas and electric water heaters both function by bringing cold water in and heating it, and pumping it through the home. The difference between the two is what heats the water.

With a gas water heater, a burner and a chimney heat the water, while electric water heaters use electric heating elements inside of the tank. All of these elements are covered under a home warranty plan if they’re taken care of by a homeowner. Let’s look at a gas water heater first.

Gas Water Heater

A gas heater brings cold water into the tank using what plumbers call a dip tube (1). A burner (2) heats the water. This gas burner sends extremely hot gas through the chimney, (3) which releases these hot harmful gasses outside (4). These hot gasses heat up the chimney, which also heats the water that surrounds the chimney.

We’ve all heard that heat rises, and water heaters use this to function. As the water is heated, it rises to the top and is taken throughout the home by the heat-out pipe (5). You can choose how hot the hot water heater is with the thermostat (6), which is connected to the gas line and brings the right amount of gas to the burner.

The water heater also has some fail-safes. There is a pressure relief valve (7), which will release water from the tank if there is a malfunction and the water heater’s pressure becomes too high. There is also a drain valve (8) on the side of the tank to drain the water heater is there is sediment build-up, which will be discussed later in this article.

The tank itself is insulated (9), and an anode rod (10), which needs to be changed out throughout your water heater’s lifetime, keeps the tank from rusting.

A home warranty plan will cover a gas water heater, as long as it is properly maintained.

Electric Water Heater

An electric water heater works essentially the same way as a gas water heater. It brings cold water in through the dip tube (1) and heats it using the electric heating elements (2) inside of the tank. The hot water rises in the tank and is taken throughout the home through the heat-out pipe (3).

As with the gas water heater, the electric water heater also has some fail-safes. It also has a pressure relief valve (5), a drain valve (6) on the side of the tank, is insulated (7), and has an anode rod (8).

A home warranty plan will cover an electric water heater if it fails from normal wear and tear.

Water Heater Maintenance

A homeowner should be doing regular maintenance on their hot water heater. If the homeowner has a home warranty plan on their home, it is extremely important to provide upkeep on all of their appliances, as most home warranties will not cover a appliance if it has not been properly maintained. Some of the things that a homeowner should do are:

  1. Set the thermostat on the water heater on a safe temperature. Most manufactures recommend around 120 degrees.
  2. Flush out sediment from your tank annually. Otherwise, a water heater can stop working prematurely. If you have a home warranty plan, any problems caused by sediment damage cannot be covered, as it shows a lack of maintenance. Don’t know how to flush your water heater and drain sediment? You can find our DIY post about that here.
  3. Check and change the anode rod. This rod keeps your tank from rusting, by “sacrificing” itself and rusting.
  4. Test your pressure relief valve by cooling the water, putting a bucket under the pipe, and opening the valve.

Learn how to flush sediment out of your water heater here. If you are interested in covering your water heater through a home warranty plan, you can save thousands of dollars on repairs and replacements for your home. Compare at Landmark Home Warranty’s plans here. You can learn more about what a home warranty plan is by looking at our main page.

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