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How Does An Electric Hot Water System Work?

Want to know how your electric hot water system heats your water? Check out our comprehensive guide to learn more about electric hot water unit works!

Suppose you check out the energy star rating of water heaters. In that case, compared to gas hot water systems or solar hot water systems, an electric hot water system is among the most convenient and cost-effective utilities for getting hot water at home.

Electric hot water systems are easy to install, last longer, and are suitable for large and small families. In case you’re planning to get electric water heaters installed, it is not only best to calculate how much hot water systems cost and their energy efficiency (Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) apply for electric hot water storage systems, gas hot water storage and instantaneous gas systems), but you must also learn how they function. This information can come in handy when looking for the best option for your family’s needs regarding an electric storage system and hot water heaters.

And for that purpose, we’ve shared this guide on the topic here to help you. So, let’s begin!

The Most Common Hot Water Systems

Electric Hot Water System Stainless Steel

Two primary factors differentiate hot water systems, the power source and storage. Conventional hot water systems are powered by gas or electricity, but in recent years, solar-powered systems are becoming incredibly popular due to their higher efficiency.

The most advanced systems use heat pump water heaters which are excellent options for utilising the latest technologies and renewable energy sources. Heat pump systems use 30% of the energy of a traditional electric hot water heating system.

You can also differentiate hot water systems based on whether they are instantaneous or utilise a tank. Instantaneous systems heat water as and when it is required and do not have any storage function. On the other hand, tank-based systems hold a specific quantity of water, and as the water is used up, the tank gets refilled.

Tank-Based Hot Water Systems

Tank-based hot water systems are conventional systems that remain the most commonly used. In the storage tank system, a large amount of water is held in an insulated storage tank. Cold water is sent to the tank where it gets heated and keeps the water hot. It is then sent to the various outlets in your home. When this water is used, more water is sent to the tank, where it is heated, and the tank ensures that the water remains hot.

This storage tank contains hot and cold water, with hot water at the top. Due to this reason, the hot water outlet is located near the top of the tank. The burner or heating element is at the bottom, where the cold water enters the tank and gets heated instantly.

To maintain an uninterrupted supply of hot water, the tank should be able to heat the cold water entering the tank faster than hot water usage. That’s why you require a thermostat that controls the burner, turning it on or off as needed.

Different tank-based systems are available, from 25-litre portable ones to 400-litre tanks used by large families. They can also vary depending on the materials used for construction and the insulation systems that enhance their efficiency.

Working Of Electric Hot Water Systems

As the name indicates, electric water heating systems require connecting the tank to the power supply. While you can plug smaller systems into a regular outlet, you must integrate the larger ones into the electrical system.

An electric hot water system has a nickel-chrome alloy or copper element with a wire passing through it. Electric current passes through this wire and generates heat from friction, heating the element, which heats the water.

Diagram Electric Hot Water System

Working Of Gas Powered Systems

You must connect gas-powered hot water systems to the natural gas supply or an LPG one. A gas hot water system or gas storage systems have a burner for igniting the gas and a flue that can remove other gases. While gas systems are one of the more efficient options, they are also costlier to install.

Working Of Instant Hot Water Systems

Instant hot water systems are also known as continuous or tankless systems since they do not have a tank for water storage. Continuous flow systems have a copper pipe placed inside a heat exchanger, through which water passes and is heated by a gas burner or electric element.

Continuous flow water heaters are generally more efficient than tank-based ones since they do not require energy to maintain the water temperature in storage. But purchasing and installing them can be very expensive.

Working Of A Solar Hot Water System

Solar water heating systems operate by using the energy of the sun to heat the water, using different techniques. One of these involves installing solar panels on the roof, which transfer the heat to the tank, which stores the water.

Alternatively, you can mount the tank onto the roof, or the water can pass through tubes close to the solar panels for heating purposes. In most cases, such systems are also connected to the gas or electricity supply, as solar power is not always available.

Plumber Checking Hot Water Heater

Discover How An Electric Hot Water System Works

Now that you know how various electric hot water systems work, deciding which one to pick may be more accessible. Remember that every system has advantages and disadvantages; finding the most suitable one will depend on your requirements for a reliable hot water source.

Also, it is highly recommended to consider various factors such as efficiency, maintenance, and the space required for installation before making a decision. Doing so will ensure you have the best experience and save a lot of hassle later.

If you need the expert opinion of a licensed and experienced local plumber about an electric hot water system, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can find your home’s best hot water system to fit your requirements and lifestyle. With our periodic water heater general maintenance, we can keep your hot water system last longer than it should.

On that note, we shall be wrapping up. Until next time!

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