A Brief Introduction to Water Heaters

Water Heaters Denver CO are an essential aspect of the modern home and allow us to complete a variety of daily tasks. Here is a brief introduction to the different types and some tips on choosing the right one for your household.

Water Heaters

Traditional systems have insulated tanks and operate from electricity, natural gas, propane, or fuel oil. They are usually inexpensive to purchase and install.

A water heater is a household appliance that heats water to the temperature needed for washing, bathing, and cooking. It resembles a big metal cylinder and is typically confined to a utility room or basement. Water heaters are powered by electricity, gas, or oil. The type of energy used impacts annual operating costs.

Tank water heaters hold a reservoir of hot water at 50 to 100 pounds per square inch (PSI). Water enters the tank through the dip tube, which is located at the top of the unit.

Once the water reaches the desired temperature, it exits through the hot-water outlet and flows to the faucets in your home. Water temperature can be controlled with a thermostat, which can be adjusted to match household needs. Water temperatures should be set between 120 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to 82 Celsius). Hotter settings may pose a scalding risk for children.

When a family of four takes several showers, runs the dishwasher and washes a load or two of laundry in an average day, they may use up to 100 gallons of hot water. If your tank is not large enough, it can be difficult to meet this demand. Tank-size is determined by the number of people in your household and peak water usage. A larger tank will cost more to purchase and operate, but it will provide a greater supply of hot water.

The most common fuel source for residential water heaters is natural gas. However, some families choose to use an electric water heater. The energy used to power electric water heaters comes from renewable sources, which are more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. Regardless of the type of fuel used, all water heaters will need a source of power to heat up the water and keep it at a constant temperature.

If you are considering a new water heater, look for an ENERGY STAR label. This indicates that the model meets minimum efficiency requirements. You can also choose a tank-type or tankless/on-demand model. The tank-type models have a storage tank, while the tankless options do not.


Water heaters are one of the most important appliances in a home. They are used for everything from cooking and cleaning to bathing, laundry, space heating and more. They use a combination of energy sources to heat the water above its initial temperature, including electricity, burner oil and gas. Thermostats are used to control the temperature of water and shut off the heating mechanism when the set point is reached.

Thermostats are usually located on or near the outside of a tank’s interior. They can be either digital or mechanical and are often surrounded by an outer casing. They are typically operated using a knob or dial that can be turned to adjust the temperature setting.

Some older thermostats are mechanical and use a bimetallic strip that expands and retracts depending on the temperature. This strip is wound into a coil and attached to a lever that can be moved up or down. The moving end of the bimetallic strip contacts a microswitch that deactivates the electrical current supplying power to the heater’s heating mechanism.

Newer digital thermostats have a microprocessor that senses temperature and activates the heater’s heating elements when the water reaches a certain temperature. The microprocessor also monitors the voltage and current running through the heating elements and detects any abnormal conditions that may cause them to fail.

Regardless of the type of thermostat, it’s a good idea to check them regularly for proper calibration and for any signs of wear and tear. When the sensor is no longer able to read accurately, it will no longer be able to regulate the heating mechanism and your home’s water temperatures.

Digital thermostats are more efficient than their mechanical counterparts and have a lower chance of malfunctioning or failing. However, they can be affected by a variety of factors such as the presence of scale or calc build up on the heating element(s), which can cause the thermostat to trigger at an incorrect temperature and overheat the element.

If you find that your digital thermostat isn’t operating properly, a multimeter with a continuity tester can be used to test the heating elements and the bimetallic switch for continuity. If there is a continuity reading of 0 ohms, the element and/or thermostat are defective and need to be replaced.


The element is a metal rod either straight or in a spiral shape inside the tank that heats the water via electric current. It is connected to a thermostat controller inside the device that when it senses low temperature of water, it sends electric current to the element and turns it on, heating up the water.

If the sediment builds up in the bottom of the tank it will start to affect how well the element works and it could eventually break or short out. This is why regular maintenance of your water heater is very important and if you notice any problems call in the professionals to come and perform a repair.

Water heater elements are not as difficult to replace as you might think. It’s considered a minor repair and you won’t need a permit but this type of work requires knowledge of circuitry and electrical testing because these wires carry high voltage. Unless you are very confident with working on this type of project it’s best to call in the pros for your water heater element replacement.

Before you begin to remove your water heater element, shut off the power supply to the device and drain the unit by opening the drain valve on the bottom of the tank. Once the water is completely drained, take off the cover plate on the top of the tank and then you can access the element by loosening screws. Then use a heating element wrench that’s designed specifically for removing these types of elements and carefully disconnect the 2 element wires.

Once you’ve removed the old element, clean the area around it to remove any dirt that might have built up on the surface. Install the new element and make sure it’s snugly seated in place. If you have a screw-in style element, tighten the screw with a socket wrench or use a wrench on flange style elements. Reconnect the circuit wires and connect them to the element. You can also test the function of your new element by turning on your multimeter to the lowest ohms setting and touching the red probe to one of the element screws and the black probe to the other. If the element is working correctly you should get a reading between 10 and 30 ohms.


Many appliances rely on water heaters, such as clothes washers, sinks, showers and tubs. Water heaters provide a steady flow of hot water for these machines and fixtures, and they store heated water in an insulated tank for future use. The most common water heaters are gas-powered, with an exterior vent that releases excess heat into the atmosphere. Electric models also are available.

Some newer water heaters rely on renewable energy sources, such as solar power and hydropower. These types of heaters don’t release carbon monoxide or other toxic gases into the air, so they are safer than conventional models. These models are usually more expensive up front, but they can pay for themselves through reduced utility bills over time.

Another option is a high-efficiency condensing water heater. This type of unit funnels heated exhaust gas from the combustion process to heat a water tank, saving energy. These units are a good match for homes that primarily use natural gas for heating and cooking.

Another alternative is a hybrid water heater that uses both solar panels to collect energy and an insulated tank for storage. These water heaters can offer a significant tax write-off and help reduce the need to purchase fossil fuels. This model can be the most expensive of the options, but it is also the most environmentally friendly.