What to Know About Your Water Heater Tank

If you have a traditional tank water heater, you may not give it much attention. However, just like anything else in your home, you should understand how your water heater works and how to properly maintain it. If you don’t know much about water heaters, check out these facts you should know.

It Allows for Automatic Hot Water

The water tank’s goal is to be constantly filled with hot water, which makes life more comfortable, especially when you are washing clothes, taking a shower, or washing dishes. Unlike demand (or tankless) systems, as soon as you turn on the hot water, it should almost immediately reach the desired temperature, so you don’t have to wait for the water to heat.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to the tank: it can run out of hot water. Depending on the size of your tank and how many people use the hot water at once, your tank’s hot water can become depleted. If this happens, you won’t have hot water again until the tank refills. If this is a common problem, you may need to upgrade to a bigger tank.

If you live alone or with only one other person, you probably only need a tank with a capacity of 50 to 60 gallons. However, if you have three to four people in your home, the tank should be closer to 80 gallons.

It Uses a Lot of Energy

Another drawback to water heater tanks is the amount of energy they use. In order to keep that hot water ready when you need it, the water heater is continuously using electricity. Therefore, even if you go a whole day without using hot water, the water heater still used energy to keep that water warm.

In order to use less energy, you can first ensure your tank is well insulated. The more insulation the tank has, the better it will naturally keep the water hot without using energy. If the tank doesn’t have much insulation, you can add some if you don’t need to or can’t afford to replace your water heater tank.

Another trick is to adjust the temperature on the water heater. The higher the temperature, the more power the tank will use to reach that high number. However, you can save money by lowering your water heater to 120 degrees. For every 10 degrees Fahrenheit reduction in temperature, you save three to five percent a month on water heating costs.

It Needs to Be Regularly Emptied

While you don’t have to fiddle with your water tank every day, it does require regular maintenance. Some of it you can do yourself, such as monitoring the tank for signs of damage or rust. You should also make sure the pressure valve is working to prevent the tank from exploding if too much gas builds inside the tank.

Contact a professional to empty the water tank on occasion, however. When you first purchased the tank, water may have been the only thing inside, but as time passes, debris builds up in the tank. This is usually sediment, minerals, etc. from the water. In small amounts, they are harmless, but when they build up, they can affect how well your tank works.

The more debris you have inside the tank, the less space the tank has for water. Of course, the tank may still act as if it’s holding the same amount water, so it may continue to use as much energy as normal to heat less water.

Water tanks are a comfortable and fast way to heat the water in your home. However, they do use a lot of energy, and need regular cleaning. For more information regarding water heater tanks, or if you want to learn more about other water heating options, contact us at Ragan Mechanical.

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