The Drain Valve Is an Essential Part of Your Water Heater

Water Heater Denver is an essential household appliance that is used to provide hot running water for showering, washing laundry, and doing dishes. They can be powered by electricity, natural gas, propane, or fuel oil.

Water Heater

Water enters the heater tank through a dip tube, then is heated by a burner or heating element until it reaches temperature. The hot water exits through the heat-out pipe at the top.

Tank-style water heaters can be powered by electricity, gas or propane. They are equipped with a storage tank that can hold anywhere from 20 to 80 gallons of hot water and a set of pipes that bring cold water in and deliver hot water out. These types of water heaters are constantly working to keep the water at a set temperature. Once the stored hot water is used up, the heater will need to heat more water to replenish it. This takes time because the heating process isn’t instantaneous.

The storage tank is insulated to keep the hot water inside and help it last longer. A drain valve is located near the bottom of the exterior housing to make it easy to empty the tank. There is also a pressure relief valve that keeps the water pressure inside safe limits. Another safety device is a sacrificial anode rod made of magnesium or aluminum to protect the steel lining from corrosion.

There are three pipes that connect to a tank-style water heater: one to bring cold water in, one to move hot water out and a shut off valve. The cold water pipe brings cold water into the tank to replace a dwindling supply of hot water that is taken from the pipes in your home. This pipe is fitted with a dip tube that goes into the tank and down to the bottom where it is heated.

Once the water reaches the desired temperature, it is moved out through the hot water pipe that is located at the top of the tank. Since hot water is less dense than cold water, it naturally rises to the top of the tank where it can be accessed when you need more hot water.

The other pipe that connects to the water heater is the exhaust flue. This channeling system channels waste gases from the heating process out of the house through a vent pipe or chimney. These water heaters are typically installed outside of the house to help keep the unit and its contents warm and prevent condensation that could lead to mold or mildew.

Heater Thermostat

Depending on your home and the season, you may need to set your heater thermostat to a specific temperature to get hot water when needed. The thermostat senses the temperature and switches the heating elements on and off to maintain your desired temperature setting. If the temperature reaches an unsafe level, the heater has a high-temperature limit switch that shuts off the elements to prevent damage or scalding.

Most modern control thermostats are electronic devices with a sensor called a thermistor that varies its electrical resistance according to its temperature. These sensors have more accuracy than simple mechanical bulbs and rods, but they also cost more. If you have a basic thermostat that uses a bulb and rod, it can be replaced with a newer model without having to replace your whole heater.

Some electric heaters use a gas valve with a built-in thermostat that controls the temperature of the water in the tank. The thermostat is located on the back of the gas valve inside a copper tube that protrudes into the tank. The sensor produces a small electric current that increases when it is warmer and decreases when it cools down, which causes the gas valve to open and close.

The old-fashioned way of sensing temperature changes with a thermostat consists of two different pieces of metal bolted together to form what is called a bimetallic strip. The strip acts as a bridge in an electric circuit that connects to your heating system. As the room heats up, the strip expands and bends, causing it to interrupt the circuit by pushing against a microswitch. As the room cools down, the strip contracts and snaps back into place. Eventually the circuit is complete again and the heating switch turns on.

If you have an older thermostat with a bimetallic strip, you can test its condition by first turning the power to your water heater off at the circuit breaker. Next, unscrew the access panel and carefully remove it to expose the electric wiring that handles the heating element. Using a multimeter, touch one of the meter leads to the upper terminal and the other to the lower terminal on the heating element. The meter display should indicate a continuous flow of electricity through the element if it is in good working order.

Drain Valve

Every household relies on the water heater to supply a constant stream of hot water for showers, washing machines, cooking and cleaning. While most people take for granted the operation and maintenance of their water heater, it’s important to understand how and why its components work together. One such integral part is the drain valve.

A water heater’s drain valve serves a dual purpose of preventing leakage while providing access to the water tank for maintenance and repair. It allows the homeowner to empty the accumulated sediment and debris that gathers in the bottom of the tank. These contaminants, such as mineral scale and dirt, can build up to the point where they clog or damage heating elements and other internal parts. Regularly draining the valve flushes them out to help maintain efficiency and extend the life of the water heater.

To do this, shut off the electricity (for electric) or gas flow to the tank burner (for a gas model). Next, shut off the cold-water inlet to the heater and disconnect a hose from the drain valve opening. Attach the other end of the hose to a drain somewhere safe, such as a floor sink or outdoor spigot. Open a hot-water tap nearby, preferably on the floor above, to alleviate pressure and ensure that water flows freely from the drain valve.

Most drain valves are simple plastic affairs with a handle that can be twisted to close or open the passage through their body. They also have a stem that either blocks or raises a flow-blocking gate, depending on the valve design. Some use a lever to operate the gate, while others employ an up-and-down motion to lower or lift it.

Once the old valve is opened and the hose drained, close the drain valve and turn on any cold-water faucet inside the house. This will stir up the remaining sediment and help clear it away before it has a chance to clog the new valve. Replace the valve, making sure to match it with the water heater’s specific model and manufacturer, if possible. Wrap the threads of the new valve with plumber’s tape and screw it into the tank’s drain opening by hand.

Shut-Off Valve

The shut-off valve is an essential piece of equipment that you should be familiar with. It controls your home’s access to water, and without it everything else in your house that needs water, like sinks, toilets, showers, faucets and appliances, can’t work. The main water shut-off is usually in the basement or crawl space, near where the plumbing enters your house. It can also be located on the outside of your home, usually on the front yard side of the house, under the water meter.

Shut-off valves come in different styles, sizes and connections to accommodate various conditions, pipeline materials and flows. Most are manual fittings that have a handle, wheel or knob that you pull or turn to close or open the flow control component. Some types have a single port, while others are multi-port and offer adjustable flow rates. Valve connection styles range from soldered on copper pipes to compression and push-to-fit varieties.

Most home water shut-off valves are a type of gate or ball valve. These large metal valves usually have a lever handle that you can pull or rotate clockwise to shut off the water flow. If you’re dealing with a newer valve, it may have a spoked wheel handle to allow you to make incremental adjustments. These can be a bit more complex to operate.

These valves are commonly made of steel or brass, which can withstand corrosion and high-temperatures. They also feature a screw-on or threaded end, which connects to the pipe. The handle controls a plunger that moves down against the water-flow port to shut it off.

It’s important to know how these valves work before you face a plumbing emergency. If you don’t, you could damage the valve or cause a leak in your home. You’ll also want to be able to quickly locate the valve in the event of an emergency, so you can shut off your water right away.

The best way to remember how these valves operate is the old saying “righty tighty, lefty loosey.” Turning a valve clockwise stops water from flowing through it, while turning it counterclockwise allows water to flow through. Some valves are difficult to turn, and you might need to wear a glove or use a wrench to get it to cooperate.