Hot Water Heating Systems

The water that enters a home is cold or cool. Hot water does not run from the pipes to your home without a hot water heating system. For the vast majority of these home heating systems, a tank-based hot water heating system is utilized. For homes without a water tank, boiler or stand-alone water heaters are also available.

Tank-Based Hot Water Heating Systems

Tank-based hot water heaters are, by far, the most commonly used hot water heating system in the United States. There are two types of tank based water heaters – electric and fuel-fired (gas or oil) heaters. With an electric hot water heater, homeowners simply use a power cable to connect the heater to the home’s electric service panel. With fuel-fired hot water heaters, the water is heated by utilizing the power of gas or oil and the tank is equipped with a vent pipe at the top. This pipe carries away any exhaust gases. Before looking at the two types of tank-based hot water heaters, we have provided an overview of how a tank-based hot water heater works.

Tank-Based Hot Water Heaters: How The Water Tank Works

The water tank is the primary player in tank-based water heaters. These tanks are generally made of steel, with a glass-lined inside for corrosion prevention. The water tanks heat and store the water used in the system. Due to the fact that the tank needs to store the water once it is heated, tanks come with insulation that helps keep the water warm in between heating cycles. Tanks are capable of failing. The primary reason for tank failure is corrosion. As previously mentioned, water tanks are glass-lined on the inside to help slow corrosion. As an additional precautionary measure, all water tanks are equipped with an Anode rod that works to control corrosion. This rod is made of magnesium and protects the tank by corroding instead of the tank. The Anode rod will eventually wear down and, thus, should be inspected and replaced annually.

A set of supply and delivery pipes is situated at the top of each water tank. The supply pipes route cold water into the bottom of the water tank before hot water delivery pipes carry the heated water away from the water tank. Additionally, all water tanks come with a temperature and pressure relief valve that runs down the outside of the water tank. This combination of parts ensures efficient hot water storage and delivery.

Electric Hot Water Heaters

Electric hot water heaters use electric current, usually wired to a 220-volt circuit, to heat the water. The electric current passes through the heating elements located at the middle and bottom of the tank. The power supply for each of these heating elements is delivered through a thermostat. Once the current passes through the heating elements, the water in the tank is heated and sent into a home.

Fuel-Fired Water Heaters

There are two types of fuel-fired water heaters – gas and oil heaters. In gas-fired heaters, a burner is fed gas through a control valve and thermostat switch. In oil-fired hot water heaters, the burner is similar to that found in furnaces. The operation of a fuel-fired water heater is simple. The fuel heats the tank and the tank heats the water. Due to that fact that the tank is constantly being heated, the effects of wear and tear on fuel-fired water heaters is greater than the levels associated with electric water heaters.

Tankless Water Heaters

While tank-based water heaters are the most commonly used hot water heating system, tankless water heaters are a viable alternative for homes without a water tank. In a tankless water heater, the main component is a coil of pipe that is connected at both ends of the piping system. This coil of pipe is connected to the cold water supply at one end and to the hot water delivery piping at the other end of the heating system. The home’s boiler will heat the water for the home. The water then heats the coil, and the heated coil creates hot water for a home’s taps.

Stand Alone Home Heating Units

The least commonly used hot water heating system is the standalone heating unit. In these units, a coil and heat exchanger are used to instantly heat water as needed. These systems are known to suffer from low supply issues and can fall short during periods of high demand. Therefore, they are not widely used.

Contacting A HVAC Professional To Choose A Hot Water Heating System

An experienced HVAC technician can walk homeowners through the process of choosing the right system for their home, installing the heating systems and providing all needed troubleshooting and maintenance. Call 908-286-1920 to speak with an Argent Plumbing technician about your home’s heating.