How Electric water heaters work

Electric water heater

An electric water heater uses two heating elements to warm water inside the tank. When a designated water temperature is reached the heating element will cycle off.

The electric water heater uses 240v of alternating current to operate two heating elements; one near the middle of the tank and another near the bottom. Each element is controlled by its own thermostat.

If the water temperature and pressure rises above normal operating levels the temperature and pressure valves open to stabilize the system. A valve that leaks need to be replaced immediately.

If electric water heater is not working properly, first determine if a fuse has blown off. Also check the reset button and the high level thermostat. You can also check each element and thermostat for continuity.

Simon Pogson, marketing director at Africa supplies Ltd says that electric water heaters are cheap in the long run among other advantages. Here is the excerpt:

What are the advantages of an electric water heater?

Simon: In addition to being low maintenance, electric water heaters have several advantages.The upfront cost of purchasing an EWH tends to be relatively low. It’s a competitive market, but you still need to be careful.

With the biggest, established brands you’re often paying for the name rather than the technology and there can be question marks around whether you’re buying a genuine product or a fake.

At the other end of the scale products will rarely be reliable and will probably end up costing more in repairs and replacement. However, great deals can be found in the middle of the market, where brands like FlowPlumb are trying hard to establish themselves. FlowPlumb water heaters are feature packed and are designed to be long-life solutions, representing great value for money.

European brands are being driven hard by the EU to be as efficient as possible, so electric water heaters from, say Italy, tend to use less electricity. The less electric a water heater uses, the cheaper it is to run.

Safety is also a major plus. With water and electricity, you don’t want any unnecessary risks. This is where it pays to avoid the cheapest on the market. Again, mid-market water heaters like FlowPlumb score highly on safety with features like safety thermostats, shock proof casings, and high liquid intrusion protection.

How is an electric water heater maintained? And how do you help in maintenance?

Simon: One of the biggest advantages of electric water heaters is that they are simple to manage and shouldn’t need frequent checks or maintenance. However, there are two parts to the water heater that you do need to keep your eye on;

All electric water heaters should have a removable anode rod in them. The anode rod is made from a different metal to the tank (usually magnesium, but sometimes aluminium or zinc) and, as strange as it may sound, is designed to rust.

By sacrificing itself, the anode rod prevents rust from attacking the tank, thus prolonging the life of the water heater. Anode rods usually last about two years, so should be replaced by a plumber every other year. Failure to replace the anode isn’t dangerous, but your water heater won’t last as long. It’s a lot cheaper to replace the anode every two years than the whole water heater!

The other part that causes problems is the heating element itself. Over time, limescale attaches itself to the heating element, blocking the heat from the element from transferring to the water. When this happens, the water heater becomes inefficient – it needs to use more electricity to produce heat and it takes longer to heat the water, both of which costs you more money.

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To combat this, all FlowPlumb Electric Water Heaters feature a unique Blue Forever heating element, an advanced technology where the element is coated in an ultra-smooth ceramic finish to prevent limescale from being able to attach itself.

This means the element continues to work much longer than the normal elements in other brands, so the water heater remains efficient, and you save money by not having to replace the element as often. The Blue Forever heating element is so good that it’s included in our five-year warranty.

When these items do need replacing it’s important to have a professional do it. Water and electricity is a lethal mix, so any electric water heater maintenance should be left to a trained professional. With our distributors, we have established training programs throughout Africa to train installers in the best, safest and most efficient way to install our products.

 Elaborate about its power consumption

Simon: FlowPlumb’s range of small capacity electric water heaters (10 – 30 litres) all have good energy efficiency, having an energy rating of “B”, while our mid capacity (50 – 150 litres) are “C” rated.

FlowPlumb tends to have a lower energy consumption thanks to three features. In additional to a thick tank insulation, the interior of the tank is powder coated with our Forever Blue glass enamel, and our elements are all Forever Blue coated.

Energy efficiency on brands like FlowPlumb is an important feature and will only get better as technology is developed. Yet, fo the best energy efficiency, you can always turn to our Solar Hot Water Heaters. The FlowPlumb offer includes everything you need in one box: solar panel, tank, mounting kit and all connections. The panel has a 95% absorption rate, making it one of the most efficient systems available.

 How is your footprint in Africa?

Simon: FlowPlumb is dedicated to the African market. We identify gaps in the market where customers are being let down by poor quality, high prices, or solutions that are not available locally and search the world for the best products or systems, supplying them though our local Distribution partners. The conditions of us entering any market are that we will only supply high quality products and only if we can offer good value for money.

We have over twenty years’ experience of supplying the African market and have distribution in over twenty countries. We are still expanding our Water Heater distribution, and actively looking for distributors.

Is this product being received well in Africa?

Simon:FlowPlumb is probably the fastest growing electric water heater brand in Africa right now. Although we knew we had a great product at a great price, the level of demand has surprised us.

The Blue Forever element and tank glass coating is really unique and that promise of a longer life at a reasonable price gives customers a choice that wasn’t there before.

 What are the other products that you produce?

Simon: Our Water Heater range includes instant hot water heaters, electric showers, solar and commercial solutions in addition to our Blue forever electric water heater range. What we really do though is offer systems and solutions, so the wide FlowPlumb range consists of water delivery systems and waste water drainage.

Our potable water systems include MDPE and PPR and a really exciting system that utilises Polybutylene to make a flexible pipe so you don’t need to use many expensive fittings. It cuts installation time to about a quarter and eliminates opportunities for the system to leak. It’s the most perfect plumbing system for Africa that we’ve seen: reliable, fast and easy to install and a system that’s designed to lower the cost of installation.

For removing waste water we can supply the whole system, from internal drainage, to rainwater guttering, to underground drainage.  We call it our “Roof to River” solution and again it includes certain products that make life in Africa a safer, more hygienic experience.

There are several flood defence products in the range and specialist systems like chemical drainage and acoustic drainage. By far the most popular products are our manhole chambers that replace the old brick built ones with a smooth bore PVCu unit that simply drops into a hole, taking a fraction of the time to install and proving many more decades of use.