It is one of the most important appliances in your home or apartment. But most people don’t give it a second thought, until it stops working. No, we aren’t talking about your furnace or your dishwasher. While those are important too, today we are going to talk about your hot water heater.
Your hot water heater has a very important job in your home. Most hot water heaters look like very tall drums, with pipes running in one side and out the other side. Most hot water heaters are found in the basement, sometimes it may be installed in the laundry room, if you are lucky enough to have one.
When water comes into your house, it is usually cold, or at best lukewarm. This is certainly not water you want to bathe in, unless you are a fan of cold showers. The water passes through the intake pipes and into the central part of the cylinder. There, it is heated by the heating element and passes back out of another pipe to wherever you are using hot water.
There are now water heaters that don’t use a tank at all, but most homes still have the drum style water heating unit. These units are either powered by gas, or by electricity. But the end result is the same. Once the water reaches a certain temperature, it is passed back out and you have hot water.
Gas heated water heaters have a few advantages over their electrically powered cousins. They are a bit cheaper to use, and they don’t stop working when the power goes out. Natural gas is usually available in most homes, it is run in through pipes underground. The cylindrical water heater is most common in the United States. It can also be found in parts of Europe as well.
If and when your water heater breaks down, it is not advisable to try and fix it yourself, unless you happen to know a few things about plumbing and electricity. The area around where a water heater is stored should always be kept free of clutter and debris whenever possible. It is also a good idea to make sure your water heater is maintained often and in good repair.
More modern water heating systems use the tank less version, this can be a benefit when the water heaters are placed in certain places around the house where they can draw hot water from the central unit. This system keeps the water heated longer than the cylindrical style unit, which saves time and money, and also means there is very little chance of a cold shower when you don’t want to take one.
When you rent, maintenance of the hot water system is up to the landlord. But when you own your home, that task falls to you. It is a good idea to talk to professionals when you have questions. Better to ask the question, then to not ask and have something catastrophic happen when you can least afford it.
For more information about your hot water heater, call us today at Kirkland And Shaw Plumbing & Heating.