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Mar 05 2023

The Anatomy of Your Water Heater

When it comes to ensuring a steady supply of hot water to your home or business, a traditional tank-style water heater can be a reliable and efficient choice. However, like any complex mechanical system, water heaters can experience issues over time that can affect its performance and lifespan. To understand how to maintain and repair a water heater, it's helpful to know the key components that make up this appliance.

In this brief read brought to you by Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air, we dive into the anatomy of your tank-style water heater. If you need water heater repair, or even a hot water heater tank replacement, just grab the phone and call Rooter Hero to speak with a live representative and schedule a convenient appointment.

Water Tank

The hot water heater tank is the most recognizable part of a traditional tank-style water heater. It is a large cylindrical tank, typically made of steel, that is designed to hold and heat water. The size of the hot water heater tank can vary depending on the needs of your household, but typically range from 20 to 80 gallons. Larger tanks are able to provide hot water for longer periods of time, while smaller tanks may need to reheat more frequently.


The thermostat controls the temperature of the water in the tank. It is usually located near the top of the tank and can be adjusted to suit your needs. When the thermostat senses that the water in the tank has dropped below the desired temperature, it signals the heating element to turn on. The heating element then heats the water inside the tank, maintaining a consistent temperature until the thermostat determines that the water is heated to the desired level.

Heating Element

The heating element is an essential component responsible for heating the water in the tank. The heating element is typically made of copper, nickel, or stainless steel and is housed in a tube or cylinder inside the tank.

Electric water heaters typically have one or two heating elements that are powered by electricity from the home's electrical system. Gas water heaters, on the other hand, have a burner that is fueled by natural gas or propane, which heats the water in the tank.

Dip Tube

The dip tube is a long plastic or copper tube that runs from the cold water inlet at the top of the tank down to the bottom of the tank. The dip tube is designed to direct incoming cold water to the bottom of the tank where it can be heated by the heating element or burner. By directing the cold water to the bottom of the tank, the dip tube helps to maintain a consistent supply of hot water.

Anode Rod

The anode rod is a long, metal rod that is inserted into the top of the tank. It is made of a less noble metal than the tank, usually magnesium or aluminum. The anode rod attracts the corrosive elements in the water that would otherwise attack the steel tank, sacrificing itself to protect the tank. Over time, the rod will corrode to the point where it can no longer provide protection, and it will need to be replaced.

Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve

The pressure relief valve is a safety device that prevents the tank from exploding if the pressure inside the tank becomes too high. It is typically located near the top of the tank and is designed to release excess pressure from the water tank.

Looking for a Uniformed Plumber?

If you are looking for a uniformed plumber for water heater repair or replacement, then grab your phone and call Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air. Our courteous representatives are on standby to take your call today.

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