The ready availability of hot water at our fingertips is something many homeowners take for granted. That is, until this luxury disappears – especially if it happens to run out while we’re in the shower! Fortunately, however, this is not something that occurs on a regular basis, as hot water tanks are generally designed to be quite reliable, and able to function for years without problems. Nevertheless, much like all household appliances, there will come a time when you will be forced to look into repairing your existing hot water tank, or having a brand new one installed. Thankfully, Shorty’s Plumbing & Heating Inc. has been employing some of the best licensed professionals, with the experience, knowledge and skill necessary to get you out of your bind, since 1983.
What is a Hot Water Tank?
A simple description of a hot water tank would be that of a large, cylindrical container, with the purpose of heating and storing water in order to maintain a hot water supply to distribute throughout the home.
Most homes are equipped with the above-described standard tank-type water heaters, which are typically powered either electrically, or fuel-fired. Fuel-fired units normally run on gas (natural or propane) or oil, and use a vent pipe to carry exhaust away from your home. Electric systems, on the other hand, are fitted with a power cable that connects directly to your electric service panel.
What Does a Hot Water Tank Consist of, and How Does it Work?
As mentioned above, the purpose of a hot water tank is to heat water, as well as store it for distribution throughout the household when needed. In order to accomplish this, all tanks are built with water supply and delivery pipes. The supply, or intake, pipe allows cold water from your home’s water supply to flow to the bottom of the tank by way of a “dip tube.” The delivery pipe distributes heated water from the top of the tank to any hot water outlet that has been turned on.
As hot water flows out of the tank through the top, your tank automatically refills with cold water at the bottom, which is then heated and stored for future use. A properly functioning tank will continually repeat this cycle as needed.
In order to effectively store heated water for an extended amount of time, hot water tanks have built-in thermal insulation which reduces standby heat loss. Since hot water is not constantly in use, it is very important to make sure the tank you choose has adequate thermal insulation to ensure hot water is available whenever you need it. In addition to insulation, and because hot water tanks are made of steel, the inside of the tank is lined with glass in order to prevent corrosion.
While supply and distribution pipes, as well as insulation, are essential to storing and delivering hot water, your tank’s most crucial element is the heating system. Without a properly-operating water heating system, your tank will not be able to perform the job it was designed to perform. Heating systems come in two varieties: Electric and Fuel-fired.
Electric water heating systems operate by delivering a current to heating elements, or coils, within the tank, which are controlled by a thermostat. The thermostat will automatically switch the heating elements on when the water temperature dips below a set heat, and will switch them off once water reaches the desired limit.
When a hot water tap is opened, your tank will automatically refill from your home’s cold water supply. The drop in temperature caused by the influx of cool water will trigger your thermostat, and the heating element at the bottom of your tank will begin operating until all water has reached a chosen and uniform temperature.
Fuel-Fired Water Heater System
Fuel-fired hot water tanks store heated water exactly like their electric counterparts. However, instead of employing elements inside the tank as a heat source, gas or oil-fired heaters ignite a flame under the tank which heats the cool water entering the bottom of the tank from your home’s cold-water supply.
The heating cycle repeats itself continuously as hot water is expelled from the tank through household hot water taps and faucets.
Shorty’s Heating & Plumbing Inc. is Winnipeg’s Trusted Solutions Provider for All Hot Water Tank Needs
While hot water tanks are specifically designed for durability and reliability, proper maintenance is essential in guaranteeing a long and effective life-span. For information on our hot water tank installation and repair services, or to schedule a consultation for an estimate, contact the experts at Shorty’s Plumbing & Heating Inc. today!