Alexander Petrovich: What protective technologies are used in water heaters?

Water heaters dur­ing oper­a­tion are con­stant­ly exposed to hot water, which has an increased elec­tro­chem­i­cal activ­i­ty. To pro­tect the walls of tanks from rust and cor­ro­sion, a vari­ety of coat­ings are used. One of the most reli­able are stain­less steel and tita­ni­um enam­el. How­ev­er, water heaters with such a coat­ing are quite expen­sive.

To reduce the lev­el of elec­tro­chem­i­cal cor­ro­sion in water heaters, a mag­ne­sium anode is installed. The mech­a­nism of its oper­a­tion is very sim­ple: it releas­es ions from its sur­face to pre­vent the loss of ions from the walls of the tank. Such anodes require con­stant replace­ment, as their vol­ume decreas­es with time. All stor­age heaters have an over­pres­sure pro­tec­tion sen­sor. When it works, the heat­ing is turned off.

When con­nect­ing instan­ta­neous water heaters, be sure to lay a sep­a­rate wire from the elec­tri­cal pan­el and install an addi­tion­al fuse. Gas water heaters must be equipped with spe­cial pro­tec­tion against net­work fail­ures. When the gas or water pres­sure drops, they should turn off. When installing gas water heaters, a chim­ney is required.

Alexander Petrovich: How is the water heater controlled? Will a simple consumer be able to understand it?

The water heater has a fair­ly easy con­trol and does not require any spe­cif­ic knowl­edge. Regard­less of the mod­el, all heaters are equipped with a ther­mo­stat and a mechan­i­cal ther­mome­ter. You can set the desired water tem­per­a­ture using the ther­mo­stat. The ther­mo­stat in expen­sive mod­els has dou­ble pro­tec­tion against over­heat­ing. Man­age­ment of mod­ern high-end mod­els is car­ried out from an elec­tron­ic pan­el, which is equipped with var­i­ous sen­sors and timers. It is also pos­si­ble to pro­gram them to turn on at a spec­i­fied time. For exam­ple, you can set a heat­ing timer for the night hours when you need to raise the board about the need to replace the anode or clean the tank.

Alex: Water heaters have different capacities and I can’t decide which one to choose.

One of the para­me­ters that should be con­sid­ered in advance before buy­ing a water heater is per­for­mance. Per­for­mance refers to the amount of hot or warm water that you will be able to receive per minute. In a stor­age heater, this val­ue depends on the vol­ume of its tank, and in a flow heater, on the pow­er of its heat­ing ele­ments.

When choos­ing a water heater, you can start from the approx­i­mate water con­sump­tion rates. Accord­ing to aver­age sta­tis­tics, one needs about 30 liters of water per per­son per day for a show­er, about 100 liters for a bath­room, and 5 to 10 liters for wash­ing dish­es, veg­eta­bles, fruits and oth­er prod­ucts.

How­ev­er, you should under­stand the specifics of the oper­a­tion of stor­age water heaters. To get warm water, hot water in the stor­age water heater is dilut­ed almost twice with cold water. Accord­ing­ly, the amount of water you receive increas­es. If we take the water con­sump­tion in the total amount for the whole fam­i­ly, then it will be slight­ly less than the total. If the fam­i­ly has a small child, then the amount of warm and hot water con­sumed will cer­tain­ly increase. Most mod­ern mod­els of water heaters allow you to increase their pow­er if nec­es­sary.

Alesya: I can’t understand the difference between storage and instantaneous water heaters. Which one to choose?

Stor­age water heaters have a low pow­er of heat­ing ele­ments, so they can be installed in any room. They make it pos­si­ble to use heat­ed water at sev­er­al water intake points. How­ev­er, stor­age water heaters require fre­quent main­te­nance. It is nec­es­sary to peri­od­i­cal­ly replace the mag­ne­sium anode, rinse the tank inside from scale. Anoth­er dis­ad­van­tage is the “por­tion­ing” of the heat­ed water used, and the time to heat the next one is very notice­able.

Instan­ta­neous water heaters can sup­ply an unlim­it­ed amount of water to the water intake point. They do not require con­stant main­te­nance. How­ev­er, they can­not pro­vide sev­er­al points with hot water at the same time. Their instal­la­tion is a rather labo­ri­ous process.

As we can see, each type has its own advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages. Before buy­ing, you need to decide what tasks the water heater should per­form. If you want it to serve sev­er­al water intake points at the same time, of course, it is bet­ter to buy a stor­age one. How­ev­er, if you are not going to use hot water at two points at the same time, then the best choice would be to choose an instan­ta­neous water heater.

Vlad: Which is better to choose a water heater — gas or electric? What is the difference between them?

If the apart­ment pre­vi­ous­ly had a gas water heater and there is access to gas water sup­ply, then it would be more prof­itable to install a gas water heater. They are more eco­nom­i­cal as gas bills are slight­ly cheap­er than elec­tric­i­ty bills. How­ev­er, most new homes do not use gas stoves, so there is no access to gas. And the instal­la­tion of a gas water heater itself, if a gas water heater has not been pre­vi­ous­ly installed in the apart­ment, is a very labo­ri­ous process.

Most often, elec­tric water heaters are installed in apart­ments. To con­nect them, you only need access to water sup­ply and elec­tric­i­ty. Depend­ing on the amount of water they heat, a dif­fer­ent type of con­nec­tion to the elec­tri­cal net­work is used. Installing low-pow­er water heaters is very sim­ple, since they usu­al­ly oper­ate from a 220 V sock­et. For heaters with a pow­er above 5 kW, a sep­a­rate elec­tri­cal con­nec­tion from the shield is already required. In oper­a­tion, elec­tric water heaters are much sim­pler than gas ones.

We are planning to buy a storage water heater. What tank size would be optimal for a family of three?

Take, for exam­ple, a stan­dard wall-mount­ed stor­age water heater with a rel­a­tive­ly mod­est tank capac­i­ty of 10 to 100 liters. water. Con­sid­er­ing that the aver­age per­son spends about 30 liters of water on tak­ing a show­er, a boil­er of these vol­umes for a fam­i­ly of 3 will not be enough (90 liters only for hygiene pro­ce­dures). After all, one should not for­get about such dai­ly house­hold needs as wash­ing, wash­ing dish­es and floors, etc. All these actions also con­sume sig­nif­i­cant amounts of hot water.

In your case, it is best to buy a water heater installed on the floor. Such a floor water heater can hold sig­nif­i­cant vol­umes (up to 1000 liters) and will ful­ly pro­vide even a very large fam­i­ly with hot water.

What is the automatic start system for electric water heaters?

Many mod­els of mod­ern elec­tric water heaters boast the pres­ence of such a won­der­ful fea­ture as auto­mat­ic switch­ing on. As soon as you start wash­ing your hands or step into the show­er, the smart device will auto­mat­i­cal­ly turn on the water heat­ing. Buy­ing a water heater with an auto­mat­ic start sys­tem is worth at least in order to once again save time on turn­ing on the equip­ment. Such mod­els have been spe­cial­ly cre­at­ed to pro­vide max­i­mum com­fort to the con­sumer.

Do I need to take care of installing a hood when buying a gas water heater?

Nec­es­sar­i­ly. Indeed, for all its reli­a­bil­i­ty, effi­cien­cy and econ­o­my, a gas water heater has one draw­back: the release of com­bus­tion prod­ucts dur­ing gas com­bus­tion. Undoubt­ed­ly, the inhala­tion of air sat­u­rat­ed with them caus­es great harm to our health. There­fore, mod­ern man­u­fac­tur­ers offer to buy a water heater of this type com­plete with an exhaust hood. Need­less to say, the instal­la­tion of the device and the instal­la­tion of the hood must be car­ried out by expe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als.

What is the difference between an instantaneous water heater and a storage water heater?

In flow type devices, water is heat­ed using heat­ing ele­ments. Note that water heat­ing is car­ried out imme­di­ate­ly after the appli­ance is turned on. This prop­er­ty of instan­ta­neous water heaters is prac­ti­cal­ly indis­pens­able for orga­niz­ing the sup­ply of hot water to offices where there are inter­rup­tions in the cen­tral water sup­ply, as well as for heat­ing water for domes­tic needs of res­i­dents of ordi­nary apart­ments. It is worth buy­ing a water heater for those who are going to become the own­er of a coun­try house.

How­ev­er, it is worth not­ing a num­ber of dis­ad­van­tages of a flow­ing water heater. First of all, this is the peri­od­ic for­ma­tion of scale on the heat­ing ele­ments. In addi­tion, a fair­ly large amount of elec­tric­i­ty is spent on the oper­a­tion of such devices.

In stor­age water heaters, water is heat­ed and then stored in spe­cial ther­mal insu­lat­ing tanks. The larg­er the con­tain­er, the longer it will take for the water to heat up in it (depend­ing on the mod­el of the device — from 30 min­utes to sev­er­al hours). The oper­a­tion of stor­age water heaters stops imme­di­ate­ly after the water is heat­ed to the desired tem­per­a­ture. Thus, these devices are more eco­nom­i­cal in terms of elec­tri­cal ener­gy costs.

But such a water heater has a rel­a­tive­ly low water heat­ing rate, as well as the pos­si­bil­i­ty of bac­te­ria breed­ing in the cooled water (oth­er­wise, some mod­els of dis­in­fec­tion boil­ers are able to heat the water as it cools).

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