Water Heater Common Parts

Anode rod

The anode rod extends into the tank from the top panel of the water heater. Made of aluminum or zinc, the anode rod helps prevent tank corrosion by aggressively attracting oxidizing compounds that would normally corrode the tank. The tank lasts longer because the anode rod corrodes instead of the tank.

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Water Heater Anode Rod PD_0042_150_9003944005
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Burner assembly

The burner assembly fits below the tank in a gas water heater. Controlled by a thermostat, the burner assembly heats the water in the tank.

Dip tube

The dip tube is a high-temperature plastic tube that is inserted into the tank through the cold-water inlet port. The dip tube extends far down into the tank to distribute incoming cold water at the bottom of the tank for efficient heating.

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Drain pan

The drain pan sits under the water heater and catches water if the tank cracks or leaks water. Catching the leaking water in the drain pan prevents damage to walls and the floor surrounding the water heater.

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Drain valve

The drain valve fits at the bottom of the tank and allows you to drain water from the tank.

Expansion tank

The expansion tank is a small water tank installed in the water supply line to the water heater. The expansion tank contains an air bladder that partially fills the tank. The air bladder cushions water hammer and absorbs excessive water pressure caused by thermal expansion. Water hammer is a pressure surge caused when water flow is forced to stop or change direction suddenly, which results in a hammering sound. Thermal expansion is a change in volume in response to a change in temperature through heat transfer.

Heat trap

The heat trap is a one-way check valve nipple that attaches to the cold-water inlet and hot-water outlet on the tank. The heat trap prevents heat loss from convection and thermal syphoning of hot water.

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Heating element

The heating element, which is the heat source inside an electric water heater, extends directly into the tank, where it heats the water around it. Most electric water heaters have two heating elements, one at the bottom of the tank and one at the top. The bottom element handles most of the load, heating cold water as it enters at the bottom of the tank. The top element only operates to give water at the top of the tank a quick water-heating boost when needed.

Temperature- pressure relief valve (T&P)

The temperature-pressure relief valve (T&P) is a safety device attached to the side of the tank. If a thermostat fails, water inside the tank overheats and builds up pressure that can damage the tank and tank fittings. The T&P valve opens automatically and discharges water to relieve pressure if excessive pressure builds up in the tank.

Thermocouple

The thermocouple detects whether your pilot light is on by generating a very small electrical current powered by the heat of the pilot flame. If the gas valve assembly doesn't sense the small electrical current provided by the thermocouple, or the thermocouple cools, it assumes that the pilot light is off and shuts down the gas.

Thermostat

The thermostat monitors water temperature in the tank. When water temperature drops beneath the desired setting, the thermostat turns on the electric heating element or lights the gas burner to heat the water. When the water temperature in the tank reaches the set temperature, the thermostat shuts off the element or the gas burner.

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Thermostat bracket

The thermostat bracket holds the thermostat against the side of the tank.