How Does An Electric Water Heater Work?

Electric Water Heater DiagramAn Electric Water Heater Works by passing electric current through a heating element that generates heat by resistance to the electric current. The elements vary in wattage and voltage depending on the application and size of the water heater. The elements also vary in length and the shape to accommodate the length. Short length elements would have a high watt density while a longer length element with the same wattage would have a low watt density or ultra low watt density, yet the amount of heat put into the water would be the same as long as the wattage was the same.

A Residential Electric Water Heater Works by having the electrical supply come into the water heater going first to the upper thermostat. The upper thermostat has an Energy Cut Off (ECO) which will cut off power if the water gets too hot in the tank, an adjustable thermostat which controls the heating of the upper element, and a switch that controls the power to the lower element and lower thermostat connecting them only when the upper thermostat is satisfied. The lower thermostat is simpler only controlling the heating of the lower element when supplied with power by the upper thermostat.

A Small Electric Water Heater often may have only one thermostat and element. On single element water heaters the thermostat will have an ECO and thermostat control for the element.

A Commercial Electric Water Heater is often more complicated and may have up to six elements that can fire simultaneously giving them a much higher recovery rate. They also can operate at higher voltages and utilize the three-phase power available in many commercial buildings.

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