All About Hot Water Heaters; Propane vs. Electric

All About Hot Water Heaters; Propane vs. Electric
by Steve P Small

Most of the water heaters in use today are either gas or electric powered. A water line runs to the heater, filling it with water. As the hot water is used throughout the household, more water goes into the hot water tank to be heated up.

The advantages of a propane hot water heater include the fact that it heats the water quickly. This is ideal for large families that tend to use a lot of hot water in a short amount of time. Also, propane hot water tanks require no electricity. If a weather event knocks out the power, you will still have plenty of hot water.

Gas powered hot water tanks have a pilot light that must be lit at all times, or else the flame will not ignite when the water cools. If you run out of natural gas or propane, you will not have hot water.

Electric hot water heaters use a heating element inside the tank to heat the water. There is also a temperature gauge inside the tank that will tell the heating element when to turn itself on. A drawback to electric hot water heaters is that they will increase your electric bill, and if there is a power outage, you will not have hot water.

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Both types of tank are required to have a pressure release valve. This will be a water sprocket that appears on the outside of the tank. If the water inside the tank gets too hot, steam pressure will build inside the tank. If it gets too much for the tank to handle, it will automatically drain itself through the pressure release valve.

Turn off the water to the tank and turn off the tank itself. Call a plumber as soon as possible.

Go to your propane tank and turn off the valve that feeds the propane to the house. While propane leaks are rare, they do happen sometimes and the result can be disastrous.

The type of hot water tank you decide to go with is going to be based on what your needs are, as well as what your budget is. Hot water tanks usually need to be replaced every eight to ten years. It is easier and less expensive to replace a tank with the type of tank you already have. However, if you think you need a change, contact a plumber and get estimates on both types of tanks.

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