Water Heater Infographic

  1. T & P Release Valve
    Located near the top of the water heater, the temperature & pressure release valve is a safety mechanism designed to release water in the event that the tank’s pressure exceeds safe operating conditions. Without this valve, water heaters would run the risk of exploding if the temperature got too high.
  2. Overflow Pipe
    The overflow pipe does exactly what it sounds like; takes excess water (or gas) storage from the water heater and runs it outside the home. It’s important that the overflow pipe or expansion/vent pipe is in good condition with no corrosion or perforations to ensure that carbon monoxide does not enter the home.
  3. Hot Water Outlet
    Located at the top of the water heater, the hot water outlet feeds your water supply with hot water. Hot water outlet connections tend to have a limited lifespan eventually becoming loose, which can cause leaking.
  4. Anticorrosion Anode
    This long metal “anode rod” is designed using magnesium, aluminum, or aluminum/zinc alloy to attract corrosive elements found in the water, thereby extending the life of the water heater. Replacing the anticorrosion anode about every five years is known to double the life of your water heater.
  5. Drain Valve
    Not intended for regular use, the drain valve is located at the bottom of the water heater and allows you to release unwanted or excess water from the tank. If compromised, this valve can cause leaks, which can lead to structural water damage and possibly damage the water heater itself.
  6. Burner
    The burner is located at the bottom of the heater and serves as the primary source of heat. Propane or natural gas fuels the burner allowing it to transfer heat inside of the water heater. It’s important to inspect the burner annually to ensure that it is free of dirt and debris, which can significantly reduce performance.
  7. Thermocouple
    A primary safety mechanism, the thermocouple is essentially a sensor made up of two wires used to measure temperature. These welded alloy wires join at one end creating a junction where the temperature is measured. The heat provided by the pilot light creates the thermocouple’s voltage, which in turn keeps the shut-off valve open. If the pilot light fails resulting in a drop in temperature, the thermocouple’s voltage drops with it, automatically closing the pilot light fuel valve preventing the flood of unburned gas.
  8. Control Valve
    The gas control valve both ignites the pilot light and commands the flow of gas to the water heater. Once the pilot is ignited, it heats the thermocouple. Once the thermocouple is heated, it sends an electric current to the control valve, which in turn opens the safety valve allowing gas to continuously flow to the pilot. Always follow proper lighting instructions and never try to light the pilot if you smell gas.
  9. Gas Supply Shutoff
    Used for maintenance or as a last resort in case of a malfunction, the gas supply shutoff valve is a manually operated valve that opens and closes the gas supply. Gas supply shutoff valves are located on the exterior of the water heater usually about one to two feet away.
  10. Insulation
    Often referred to as an insulation blanket, water heater insulation is a sheet composed of insulating materials such as fiberglass, denim, and foil. Insulation increases the efficiency of a water heater by trapping the existing heat, which reduces overall energy consumption.
  11. Dip Tube
    The dip tube is an elongated plastic pipe that extends from the cold water inlet down to the base of the tank. Your hot water depends on the dip tube as it discharges cold water flowing into the tank to the bottom of the tank where it is then heated.
  12. Cold Water Shut Off Valve
    Used for maintenance or replacement, the cold water supply shutoff valve is a manually operated valve that opens and closes the water supply. Cold water supply shutoff valves are usually located on right side of the top of the exterior of the water heater typically identified by a blue handle.