Water heaters exist in all homes and provide residents with a very specific thing that we all need—hot water. They are what allow you to take warm showers, wash your clothing, clean your dishes, and do anything else you can think of that involves using hot water. Without water heaters, most of us would be fairly miserable, particularly when it came to cleaning. It’s an important part of your home, though perhaps not one that thought about terribly often (unless of course you suddenly find yourself with no hot water). Water heaters are simple and yet somewhat complex in their design. There are varying types, though a commonly used type involves a water tank made of steel which sits inside of an outer shell that is generally made of sheet metal. Between the shell and the tank there is insulation, which is there to keep in as much heat as possible. Water heaters run either on electricity or gas, which is where the heating of the water originates. One major downside to a lot of water heaters is that you cannot see inside of them, so if you have an older one in your home you may not be aware that it is beginning to rust or corrode or is experiencing any other sort of damage. You might not find this sort of thing out until the unit breaks down completely. Water heaters have pressure relief valves which are used to prevent the unit from expanding and potentially exploding. Heated water, particularly at high temperatures, expands a good deal and can also create vapor, both of which put pressure on the containment unit. Without the pressure relief valve, which opens as needed to relief pressure from the heater, you could quite literally find yourself with a bomb—and a large one at that—inside your home. It’s imperative that the pressure valve works as intended, so it’s wise to inspect it at least once a year to ensure proper functionality. If you don’t know how to do this, contact your plumber and ask. Generally speaking, your water heater should be inspected at least once a year as well, preferably by your plumber. They will know better how to determine if the unit is working correctly or if there is the potential for it to fail. In the event of failure or imminent failure, your plumber will be able to install are new one for you. While not a terribly difficult task, it can be a potentially dangerous one, so it is something that is best left to a trained professional. Your plumber may also be able to recommend a more modern unit than what you may have had, something which will last you longer as well as be more cost and energy efficient. Need to know about water heaters in Portland, OR? Contact Reliant Plumbing & Mechanical Inc today for assistance!