Gas Hot Water Heaters
Most households in the United States use gas hot water heaters to heat the water for them. This type of water heater is the easiest to maintain as well as to repair. If you understand the basics of how a water heater works, you will find it relatively easy to locate any problems that may occur. The main purpose of the unit is to heat water and deliver the heated water for a certain length of time. Gas hot water heaters are built to be energy efficient, and are much less expensive than an electric water heater. They can be set to maintain a comfortable temperature that is safe for all members of your household.
At the top of the water tank reside a feed pipe for cold water and a feed pipe for hot water. The cold water feed pipe keeps the tank full. A pilot light located in the control box on the front of the tank automatically ignites the main heating element when the tank temperature drops below the level you have set it at. A pipe runs through the center of the tank and exits out the top. This pipe transfers the heat from the gas heating unit to the water. A hood on top of the flue tank directs clean air to enter it, which feeds oxygen to the actual burner. After the water has increased in temperature to the designated level it is available to go where it is needed through the hot water feed pipe.
If you are wondering how much water to expect, this is mostly dependent on the actual size of the gas hot water heaters tank. A larger tank will hold more water, but it will also be more expensive. A larger tank will provide a longer continuous supply of hot water. Homes with average usage rates usually do just fine with a 40 gallon tank. If your usage is higher than average, say you and your two teenagers may all three need to take hot showers at the same time, then you would require a larger supply tank.
Experts suggest that you can increase the efficiency of gas hot water heaters by using an insulation jacket. As with most things that are heated, there are ways for the heat to escape. For instance, heat can escape from the surface of the body of the tank. Very few hot water heaters are sold with an insulation jacket as part of the package, so you will want to look into getting one that fits your tank. Not only will this reduce the heat that can be lost from the body of the tank, but it will allow the hot water to stay at a higher temperature for a longer period of time. When you install the insulation jacket, you will want to make sure that the control box remains uncovered for easy access.
Remember that for safety you need to maintain a temperature between 102 and 125 degrees. This will ensure that no one gets scalded by the hot water coming from the tap. Also, if you set the thermometer a couple of degrees lower than what you need, you will actually save money over time.