Hot Water Tanks
We all know what a hot water tank is (also known as a water heater), what it does and where in your home it’s located, but do we really understand what makes it work?
How Hot Water Tanks Work
Cold water that is fed into your home’s hot water tank, through the main plumbing system, is heated at the bottom of the inside of a large metallic cylinder. These tanks are very well insulated and capable of retaining heat for long periods of time without consuming much energy. Hot water tanks can range in capacity from just over 100-liters to well over 200-liters. Hot water heaters contain high powered heating elements that are typically located at the bottom of the tank and generate enough power to quickly convert cold water to near boiling temperatures (over 80 degrees Celsius), depending on the desired thermostat setting.
Hot Water Heater Safety
Since hot water heaters are capable of producing water temperatures of over 80 degree Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit), you’ll want to ensure the taps located closest to the heater (less distance traveled) are not going to produce scalding temperatures, particularly in homes with young children or elderly residents. Setting the water heater’s temperatures to a lower setting will also reduce your energy bills.
Hot Water Tank Energy Saving
Heating your home’s water can really add to your monthly energy bill and in a typical family dwelling, it can easily account for about a quarter of your total monthly utility bills. There are simple steps any household can take to help significantly reduce these costs, while doing your part in saving our planet. A couple of these suggestions cost you nothing, while the rest will pay for themselves in no time at all.
- Reduce the thermostat temperature. A setting of 50C (122F) is plenty for most households.
- Purchase & install energy efficient faucets and shower heads. This alone will save you a bundle.
- Insulate your hot water heater. Particularly if your tank is located in cooler areas of your home.
- Replace old hot water tanks. Most have a limited life cycle of about 12 years and older models can be less efficient.
- Fix leaky faucets. Those small drips can add up to big bucks.
Hot Water Heater Troubleshooting
No hot water? Smelly or discoloured water? Some hot water tank problems can be solved by checking a few simple areas, and with some basic household tools. Here are a few typical problem areas and possible causes:
- No hot water. May be caused by a faulty pilot light (gas) or tripped electrical breaker.
- Water is warm and not hot. This problem is sometimes caused by improper installation or a defective dip tube.
- Rusty coloured water. Sometimes anode rods inside your hot water heater begins failing that could cause the discolouration.
- Smelly water. This is usually caused by a bacterial build up inside your tank.