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The basic principle of the water heater: description, device, types and reviews

Autonomous hot water supply of a private house and apartment is one of the most urgent everyday issues of our time. Depending on the principle of the water heater, they are divided into several types. Among them are electrical storage units, indirect heating devices, gas models, flow variants. The most popular modification is a storage boiler. Consider its structure, features of functioning, as well as existing analogues and consumer reviews.


To understand the principle of the water heater, we will study its device. It is quite simple and straightforward. At the same time they are considered to be economical and reliable units. The boiler functional is based on two basic elements: the tank and the heating element (TENe).

Particular attention in the manufacture of the devices considered for heating water is paid to the internal coating. The material of the production of tanks is primarily a special stabilized steel. It is durable and resistant to corrosion. The inner part of the tanks is covered with a glass-phosphor, which has a wide range of advantages and belongs to the group of elements with maximum chemical neutrality. This is due to the special crystalline structure of the material. In tanks with this design, water even after long-term operation remains clean and transparent.

How the storage water heater works

In the inside of the boiler there are special pipes that are responsible for the intake of cold and selection of hot water. The liquid in the tank is fed from below. Then it is evenly distributed throughout the volume with the help of the provided jet splitter. This design causes the gradual displacement of heated water in the upper part, from where it is taken.

The principle of operation of the water heater is close to the functioning of the thermos with heating, while the layers of liquid of different temperatures do not mix, which makes it possible to obtain uniformly heated water. The following elements are also involved in the operation of the boiler, located on the steel flange:

  • A heating element of nichrome alloy in the form of a spiral with a copper casing;
  • Temperature controller (thermostat);
  • Anode made of magnesium alloy, reducing the effect of corrosion on the inner coating of the tank.

The flange is removable, fixed on the body individually.


The main points of the operating principle of a water heater are related to its safety, since it is aggregated with an electrical network. For this aspect, there is a dual thermostat. It allows you to smoothly adjust the temperature, and also performs a protective function, turning off the device in the presence of critical overheating. If the temperature in the tank reaches the limit, a safety device is triggered, which deactivates the heaters immediately. In normal mode, when the water temperature drops by 2-3 degrees, the built-in elements heat the liquid to a predetermined value. Another protective element is a check valve, which prevents the creation of excess pressure in the tank.

Indirect heating units

These heating devices are not designed for the production of autonomous thermal energy. Some modifications can be equipped with an integrated heating element, which is responsible for maintaining a certain temperature of the liquid. In normal operation, the unit heats the water with a coil equipped with an internal liquid coolant. Below is the scheme and principle of the indirect heating boiler.

In the insulated cylindrical tank of large volume, a coil is built in, to which the coolant from the boiler is connected. Cold water is supplied, as in the electric version, from the bottom, the flow of hot liquid from above. Typically, such a water heater is used in homes with a large number of consumers, because it is able to provide hot water in a significant amount.

Features of indirect type heaters

The principle of operation of the indirect heater is to exchange between compartments with different temperatures. It should be taken into account that for obtaining water from the tap 50 degrees the temperature of the coolant should be at least 75 °. This is a certain disadvantage of the boiler. Another disadvantage is that it takes a long time to fully load a large tank, which is not very convenient with intensive use of hot water.

Indirect heaters in the design have a magnesium anode, and more complex and expensive modifications are equipped with a pair of coils, one of which can be used according to the standard scheme, and the other can be connected to a backup source. It can be a solar collector, an additional heater or a second boiler.

The device and principle of operation of water heaters of indirect type allow producing them in wall and floor form, aggregate with any energy sources. Often these units go together with two-circuit boilers. This allows using a thermal generator to maintain the set temperature, switching between systems if you need to load the tank.

Gas Models

These instruments outwardly and by design resemble electric storage analogues. The system includes a metal tank with a heater, suspended on the wall. Instead of heating elements, heating is performed from the burner installed in the lower part, and the outlet of the chimney is provided at the top. The principle of the storage water heater is to heat the water after the burner is ignited. The rest of the process is identical to that which occurs in the electrical sample.

Additional heating of the liquid occurs by removing heat from the combustion elements. This is facilitated by the cutters in the steel flue that pass through the tank and give off heat to the water. The electronic unit regulating the flame is responsible for the operation of the burner, depending on the required temperature. A magnesium anode is provided to protect the inside of the case. Such units are not in great demand, since they require special permission from the relevant services and equipment of a separate chimney.

Flow Modifications

The device and the principle of the boiler for heating water flow type are radically different from the storage models. The unit is designed for rapid warming up of running water as needed.

There are two power sources for such equipment. The first option includes gas burners, the inclusion of which occurs synchronously with the opening of the tap water supply. The second type is electric flow-through heaters. As working elements are used TEN, which are also activated with the inclusion of a crane.

It is worth noting that the gas column has a complex design and requires the involvement of an experienced specialist. In an electrical analog, running water is heated by means of a powerful electric heater, which transfers heat energy to the water. It consumes quite a lot of energy, so it has a limited scope. The advantage of such an assembly is compact dimensions and easy installation.

There is a plate-type boiler according to the type of water heat exchanger. For the supply of hot water, it acts on the principle of a boiler with indirect heating, only transfers the heat of the fluid in flow mode.

Criterias of choice

When choosing a particular modification, pay attention to the inner coating of the tank. Made it can be made of stainless steel, titanium or glass-porcelain. It is worth noting that, despite the low price and other advantages of the latter material, it has a number of shortcomings, namely:

  • Short warranty service period (less than three years);
  • Susceptibility to deformations and fracture formations due to temperature differences.

Boilers, whose internal coating is made of steel or titanium, have a warranty of 7 to 10 years.

In addition, the average indicator of hot water consumption should be taken into account, selecting the appropriate capacity and volume model.


As evidenced by consumers' responses, the principle of operation of a storage electric water heater is the most optimal. The advantages of such an aggregate include the following factors:

  • The ability to select a tank of the required volume;
  • Long period of maintaining water temperature;
  • An acceptable price;
  • Simplicity in connection and operation;
  • Long service life.

The disadvantages of users include decent dimensions of the boiler, not always convenient controller, the need for annual prevention.

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