Water Heater Basics



Tank Water Heaters at a Glance

A tank type, or storage water heater, consists of a glass-lined tank with a burner beneath it which heats the water in the tank. Even though the tank has glass-lined steel for reliability in holding water, an anode system is also installed for extended tank protection. Recent technology by A. O. Smith incorporates a powered anode system that provides even longer lasting tank protection.

The energy from the burner is converted to hot water which is stored in a well insulated tank until it is needed. The burner will ignite to provide additional heat only when the temperature of the water in the tank drops below the thermostat set point.

Although storage water heaters have been around for more then 70 years, they have undergone significant innovations and improvements during the last 5 years. Newer models are much more energy efficient than older models, including the one that may be in your home today.

A typical storage water heater usually lasts about 12 years on average, but when maintained properly may last up to 20 years. Therefore, replacing your current water heater is not a decision to be taken lightly. Below you will find a quick guide on what to know and what to ask, when deciding to purchase a water heater.

Electric, Gas or Propane?

When thinking about purchasing a new water heater for your home, make sure to check the connections to determine what type of replacement heater you will need. A tank type water heater uses gas, electricity or propane to heat water, and can store between 30 and 120 gallons of hot water at a time, giving you large quantities of hot water to accommodate your hot water needs.

If you were to cut a water heater in half, you would find that it looks something like this (electric on the left, gas on the right):