How It Works
An electric water heater uses electricity to raise water
temperature for cooking, cleaning, bathing, and heating. Cold water enters the
water tank at the bottom where two electric heating elements heat the water to
a preset temperature. Heated water rises and is then drawn from the top portion
of the tank and piped throughout the home for general use.
What Can Go Wrong?
Hot water heating elements commonly burn out or become
corroded by impurities in the water supply. If the water in your home isn’t
getting as hot as it used to, a professional service provider may be required
If the issue persists after you’ve replaced the elements,
the thermostat may need to be reset or replaced. If you decide to perform any
replacements on your own, refer to the owner’s manual and shut off the power to
your hot water heater beforehand.
Conventional electric water heaters can account for 14 to 25
percent of the energy consumed in your home. The typical household uses 30 to
140 gallons of hot water per day, and water heating tanks range from 20 to 80
gallons in size. A 40-gallon water heater can consume 4,500 kilowatt-hours
(kWh) of electricity annually, resulting in the production of 6,900 pounds of
carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Modern tankless water heaters make a
great energy efficient replacement for older units. They save energy by
instantly heating water when you turn on the faucet.