Water Heater - Gas

How It Works

Gas water heaters combust natural gas or propane to heat water for cooking, cleaning, bathing and heating. Cold water enters the bottom of the water tank. The water rises up and through the tank as a gas burner heats the water. Exhaust from the gas combustion is vented through the top of the water heater and then outside the home.

What Can Go Wrong?

If the pilot light goes out or the electrical igniter won’t fire, there may be a problem with your hot water heater. If you confirm that gas fuel is properly reaching the water heater, then the problem is likely a failed thermocouple or electrical igniter. You’ll need to get a repair service technician to replace it.

Another common problem is caused when sediment (scale) builds up at the bottom of the water heater tank. The build-up creates problems with the sacrificial anodes, which are meant to protect from corrosion. In addition, this may cause the bottom of the tank to overheat and can even melt away the protective glass lining. Regular maintenance can prevent this. 

Environmental Impact

Aside from heating and cooling, water heating represents the greatest consumption of energy in the home, amounting to about 25 percent of gas usage. The typical household uses 30 to 140 gallons of hot water per day, while water heating tanks range from 20 to 80 gallons in size. Conventional gas water heaters use much less energy than electric hot water heaters. A typical water heater for a household using 100 gallons of hot water per day burns about 38,200 cubic feet of natural gas annually, and produces about 17,500 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2).


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