Water Heaters

  • Have you ever gone to your kitchen sink, turned on the hot water, and waited for what seemed like minutes before the water finally turned hot? Then you likely need a new water heater element for your water heater. The water heater element is the key to getting hot water. Without it, the water you get from your water line will never be hot. But the lack of hot water is not the only indicator that you may need a new water heater element. You may also experience rust, noises, and leaks coming from your water heater. There are different types of water heater elements that you can choose when replacing your water heater element. There is a high-density and a low-density water heater element. A low-density water heater element is made from copper, magnesium, and nickel. The benefit of this combination is that this element provides more heating with less of a risk for corrosion. A high-density water heater element is typically the most affordable element you can purchase and install on your water heater. The downside to the affordability of a high-density water heater is that it can corrode much easier than a low-density water heater element. Are All Water Heater Elements the Same? If you were to walk into a hardware store and ask for a water heater element, the associate will point you to an aisle filled with different types of water heater elements. We know there are high-density and low-density water heater elements, but other than the affordability and corrosiveness of the water heater element, there are additional differentiating factors between the two water heater elements that make them very different. Low-density water heater elements are more expensive than high-density water heater elements because of the element’s durability against rust and other corrosives. While you will pay more upfront for the cost of the water heater element, you don’t have to worry about replacing it too quickly due to corrosion. High-density water heater elements are much more affordable than low-density water heater elements because they’re not made from rust-free materials like nickel. Because of this, you may have to replace a high-density water heater element more frequently than you would a low-density water heater element. High-density water heater elements will be available in a screw or flange connection. There is also an extra-low density water heater element that you can choose. These water heater elements are made of stainless steel and are extremely rust-resistant. The only disadvantage of choosing an extra-low density water heater element is that you will likely have to purchase an additional assembly kit to be able to assemble the element correctly. How Do I Choose a Water Heater Element? Before you decide if you want a low-density or a high-density water heater element, you’ll need to know the voltage and the wattage of your current water heater. You will also need to know the diameter of your current water heater as this will let you know what size water heater element will fit in your water heater. The voltage and the wattage will be listed on the informational panel on the side of the water heater. You will need to choose a water heater element that is compatible with the wattage and voltage of your water heater. Once you have found a water heater element that is compatible with the voltage and wattage of your water heater, you’ll need to check the diameter to make sure the water heater element will fit. At this point, it’s up to you to decide if you want to choose a low-density or high-density water heater element. Keep in mind that the low-density water heater element will be more expensive than a high-density water heater element, but it will also be less likely to corrode or rust. How Can You Tell if a Heating Element is Bad? A bad heating element doesn’t always mean getting cold water every time you turn the hot water nozzle. A bad heating element can be identified by the sound your water heater makes. When sediment settles in the bottom of your water tank, it will harden and cause your water heater to become overworked and eventually inefficient. The sediment can also cause the water heater to leak. If you hear your water heater making noises, the heating element is likely going back and has caused the heating element to become overworked which will ultimately cause the element to stop working. Another way to tell if a heating element is bad is to check for leaks coming from the water heater. Your water heater can start leaking due to a bad heating element. Fractures can form in the tank when a water heating element is overworked for consecutive years. You should use all of your senses when determining if your water heating element has gone bad. It’s not just how the water feels that will tell you if the heating element has gone bad, but it’s also the visual leak you may spot or the sound that the water heater makes when it’s in use. Are Copper Heating Elements Better? The answer to this question depends on what you define as better. What is better for you? Is heating quickly better for you? If so, then you should choose a copper heating element, as copper will heat approximately 20 times faster than other materials. What about durability? Is it important for you to purchase a heating element that you won’t have to replace frequently due to corrosion or rust? If rust resistance is the most important factor in choosing a heating element, then a copper heating element isn’t the best option for you. You should choose a stainless steel heating element that is resistant to rust and corrosion. Conclusion The type of water heater element you choose will depend on the voltage, wattage, and diameter of your water heater, but it will also depend on if you want the water heater element to be low-density or high-density. Low-density is more reliable and resistant to rust but they are also more expensive. High-density is more affordable but will likely have to be replaced sooner because they are not made of rust-resistant material.

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