Water heating is one of the largest energy users in the home as it is needed for many domestic activities. A water heater should provide enough hot water at the busiest time of the day. This is why it pays to choose carefully when replacing a worn out or existing water heater.
The most typical domestic uses of a water heater are for cooking, cleaning, bathing and the heating of a space. Water heating is a thermodynamic (a branch of physics that studies the effects of changes in temperature) process that uses an energy source to heat water to above its initial temperature. In a common domestic sense water is heated in things such as kettles; however this does not supply a constant flow of hot water.
The appliances that are used for a mostly constant supply of hot water are known as water heaters. Like many applications and pieces of machinery, waters heaters come with safety concerns, two of the main ones being the risk of scalding and the risk of the water becoming contaminated with Legionella. These are conflicting safety issues and both revolve around the water heater temperature. If the water is intensely hot it can cause scalding but if it is not hot enough it will fail to kill bacteria.
Both of these safety issues can be life threatening so it has been said the thermostat should be set to 50°C (120°F). Another safety concern with water heaters is that they have the potential to explode if certain safety devices are not installed. If a water heater did explode it can cause a substantial about of damage as well as injury or even death. If the water temperature exceeds 100°C (212°F) the water will remain a liquid inside the tank but when the pressure is released through water coming out a tap the water will boil and could cause burns. Water above 88°C (190°F), when connected with skin will cause 3rd degree burns.
A temperature and pressure relief valve known as T&P or TPR is fitted to on top of the water heater as a safety device that will dump water if the temperature or pressure becomes too high. There are a few tips that you can follow to help preserve your water heater: ? Insulate your water heater ? Take showers instead of baths ? Insulate the first 6feet of hot and cold water pipes connected to your water heater ? Drain a quarter of water from your tank every three months to remove sediment that lowers efficiency Unless you wake up one morning and go to take a shower only to find there is no hot water you won't probably spend much time thinking about your water heater. The way your water heater works is that when cold water enters it, this cold water remains at the bottom of the tank as it is denser than the hot water. If you consume all the hot water in the tank and your shower turns cold it is because you are using the hot water faster than it is being heated up. However if this seems to be a regular occurrence it could mean that the bottom heating element has burned out or that your water heater is too small for your house.
Helen Cox is the Web Master. Water Heating Ltd has over 30 years experience in water heating products. Please feel free to republish this article provided a working hyperlink remains to our site