Water Heaters

Water Heaters 101

A hot shower may be part of your morning routine, or you may unwind with a hot bath after a long day at work. Hot water supplied to your sinks, washing machine, and dishwasher makes ridding clothes and dishes of germs and grime a simple task. It’s easy to take hot water for granted until your water heater stops working. If you’ve ever waited for your bath water to warm with no results, then you know how frustrating it can be when your water heater isn’t working as it should.


You probably don’t think much about your water heater. Chances are it sits somewhere in your house and the only time it crosses your mind is when it’s out of order or starts making noises. Although water heaters are designed to be relatively self-reliant, they do require regular maintenance. It’s important to maintain your home’s water heater by flushing the system once or twice a year. You may also need to consider whether your water heater is built to meet all of your family’s hot water needs. Especially for new parents, you may find that you’re using more hot water in your home to bathe your children, wash clothes, and clean dishes, which in turn could mean that you’re running out of hot water more often throughout the day.

Signs That Your Water Heater Needs an Inspection

Have you noticed a leak in your water heater tank? Is it taking longer than usual for your water to warm? Is water coming out cold altogether?


Any one of these issues could be a sign that your water heater is in need of inspection. The problem could be a result of poor upkeep, or might suggest that your water heater tank is not appropriately sized to accommodate all of your family’s needs. Regular preventative maintenance is the best way to extend the life of your water heater; a well maintained water heater could potentially last for decades.


Whether you have a tank water heater or a tankless water heater, the professionals at Best Choice can keep your home’s hot water system running as it should. When it comes time to replace your water heater, we can also help you choose the best option for your family’s needs and budget. We understand that many homeowners don’t expect to replace their water heater until a major problem occurs.

Tank Water Heaters

Tank water heaters are easy to spot; they comprise a large cylindrical hot water storage tank standing on end with pipes coming out of the top and a drain cock towards the bottom. Tank-type water heaters not only heat water but also store it in a tank until it’s ready for use. Typically, water heater tanks are made of steel and lined with glass to prevent the steel from rusting. They are also insulated to keep the water hot between heating cycles.



How Gas-fired Tank-type Water Heaters Heat Water

Gas-fired tank-type water heaters use a burner centered underneath the tank to heat the hot water storage tank, which in turn heats the water within the tank. Gas is fed to the burner through a gas control valve and thermostat switch that are usually located toward the bottom of the hot water storage tank. The gas coming out of the burner is ignited via pilot light. Natural gas and liquid propane (LP) are the two most common types of gases used in gas-fired water heaters.


The combustion of gases within gas-fired tank-type water heaters create by-products such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide that are removed through a flue baffle that runs through the water heater storage tank. The flue baffle turns into a vent that exits through the top of the hot water storage tank and runs through a wall or ceiling, releasing the by-products outside of the home.


Wrapped around the vent that comes out of the top of a gas-fired hot water storage tank, there should be a round, bell-shaped (or cone-shaped) piece of metal called a draft hood. This hood prevents backdraft, which is when the combustion by-products are blown back into the home or water heater system. Not only does backdraft prevent the venting of harmful by-products but it can also blow out the pilot light

How Electric Tank-Type Water Heaters Heat Water

Electric tank-type heaters utilize electrical-resistance heating elements located within the hot water storage tank to heat up the water within the tank. There are usually two heating elements inside the storage tank, one located near the bottom and one located in the middle of the tank. A thermostat that controls and senses the temperature of the water within the tank delivers power to the heating elements when it detects that the temperature of the water is below the temperature set on the thermostat. Instead of a vent, electric tank-type water heaters have a 220-volt power supply cable going into the top of the hot water storage tank that supplies electricity to the thermostat and heating elements.