How Does My Water Storage Heater Tank Work?

Despite the warm weather around Greater Los Angeles, we still need a way to keep our water warm at home. In most homes, the method used is a storage tank water heater, so the question “How does a water storage heater tank work?” is a common one. When you know the answer, you’ll be better prepared to choose the right system for your home.

Source: iStock.com/Minerva Studio

Source: iStock.com/Minerva Studio

Hot Water at the Ready

Storage tank water heating systems consist primarily of a tank, a heating method, and pipes that carry cold water in and hot water out. Most tanks in single-family homes hold 20 to 80 gallons of hot water.

When you turn on a hot water tap or a hot-water appliance, such as a washing machine, your home’s hot water tank releases hot water from the top of the tank into pipes that supply those taps and appliances. As hot water flows out, cold water flows into the bottom of the tank to replace it until the tank is full again.

To ensure a constant supply of hot water, the water is heated even when you aren’t drawing any from the tank. This means you’ll lose some energy to standby heat loss as the surround air cools the tank. Insulation around the tank slows this loss, but can’t stop it completely. HVAC contractors in Los Angeles can help you find other ways to improve your water heater’s efficiency.

How Your Water is Heated

Storage tank water heaters use either fuel such as natural gas or electricity to heat water. In a fuel-burning system, a thermostat triggers the system to burn fuel for heat when the water’s temperature falls. When the temperature reaches the setpoint, it triggers the system to stop burning fuel. In an electric system, there are one or two electric elements that each have a thermostat. The bottom element maintains the minimum temperature and the upper element turns on to provide supplemental heating when demand increases.

For a more detailed answer to the question “How does a water storage tank work?” contact us at Reliance Home Services in the Los Angeles area.