Regardless of whether you are using traditional or modern water heaters, the water heating system works similarly. The difference is on the source of fuel, such as electric, solar or gas. When you want to understand how the water heaters work you, need to understand its components and their interaction within the system to increase the temperature of water.

The Components of a Water Heater

Both electric and gas heaters have some similar components. These components include the internal anode rod, TRP valve, and the drain valve, dip tube, the fittings, pipes, and the pressure or overflow relief. The water heaters also have an internal tank in an insulating material that can maintain the heated water for a long time. The thermostats are somewhat different in both water heaters. The electric water heater has separate thermostats while the gas water heater is constructed into the gas control valve. The water heaters also have a device that limits overheating and help to circulate heat evenly and a thermocouple that shuts down the gas when there is an emergency.

How Does Water Heaters Works?

When you get down to basics, you will understand the different operations in both the electric and gas water heaters. However, in both models, cold water enters into the dip tube to the tank where it is heated. Here is how each model heater works.

Electric Water Heater

In the electrical water heaters, a thermostat must be mounted on the side of the internal tank so that it could sense when the temperature has decreased below the preset threshold. Here, the thermostat triggers the switch allowing electricity to flow to the element of heating the water. The heating element then submerges into the water in the tank heating it up in a concept where electricity is passed through the resistant material and converting the energy into heat. The thermostat will sense when the water has heated to the preset temperature, and it will shut off the power to the element.

Gas Water Heater

Just like the electric model, the gas water heater also has a thermostat, which is made of a small tube with a mercury sensor. The model also has a special sensor called a thermocouple that helps to sense when the pilot light is burning. In case the pilot light is not working, the thermocouple will allow gas to enter into the burner. The thermostat will send a signal to the gas control valve when the temperature decreases. In such a situation, the gas control valve will work on the signal from the thermostat to indicate there is a pilot light. The valve will open to allow gas to get into the burner to ignite a flame.

The ignited flame heats the bottom of the internal tank to heat the water. Hot water will be rising as cold water sink to create a natural circulation cycle. The heat that rises through the central flue keeps the internal temperature uniform. The thermostat will send a signal to the control valve when the water has reached the required temperature, which instructs the gas to stop flowing again.