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How Does a Hot Water Heater Work?

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 hot water 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 here at McClain Bros. thought it would be a good idea to explain exactly how a hot water heater works.

The Different Types of Water Heaters

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.

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 can 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 us and we will gladly assist in making the switch!

How does a gas heater work?

Gas water heaters are a popular choice for many households, providing fast and efficient hot water on demand. These heaters work by using natural gas to ignite a burner at the bottom of the tank, heating the water stored inside. When hot water is needed, it flows through a pipe from the tank to the faucets. Compared to electric water heaters, gas water heaters are generally more efficient and cost-effective. They can also provide hotter water, making them a great option for larger households with high-demand needs. However, it’s important to note that gas water heaters require professional installation and regular maintenance to ensure safe and proper operation.

How do electric water heaters work?

Electric water heaters have become a popular solution for homeowners, especially in areas where natural gas is not readily available or where utilities are more expensive. These appliances offer an efficient and convenient way to have hot water in your home without the need for a gas line or propane tank. Unlike gas water heaters, electric models use an electric resistance heating element to heat the water. As cold water enters the tank, the element heats up and warms the water to the desired temperature. The heated water then rises to the top of the tank and is pushed out when a faucet is turned on. With electric water heaters, there is no need for venting, which makes them a safer and more versatile option for homeowners. Overall, electric water heaters are an excellent choice for those looking for a reliable and affordable way to have hot water in their homes.

Do Water Heaters Require Maintenance?

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 is failing. 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 give us a call! Here at McClain Bros., we are your professional plumbing experts who specialize in repairing, installing, and maintaining water heaters. That way we can resolve any hot water heater issues you may have right away!

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!

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