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Hot water heaters all use energy sources for heating. Familiar ones include gas, electric, solar or geothermal heat generation. Water is either stored in a tank or directed past a heat source where it is heated to the desired temperature. This thermodynamic process is useful at home for heating water for cleaning, cooking and room heating. At businesses, heated water is used for manufacturing and many other purposes. Residential hot water heaters are different than larger ones used in industry.
Familiar hot water heaters include boilers, heat exchangers, tank style water heaters and tankless water heaters. With a tank heater, water is stored in a large quantity and heated in bulk. In these tanks, water is heated continuously. Tankless water heaters are very small and heat only the water that is directly used, as it is needed.
Tank water heaters work best when insulated to prevent heat loss. They have pressure valves and other parts that should have some regular inspection and maintenance. Drainage of overflow and release of excessive pressure are incorporated into this system as safety factors. Tank water needs to reach high enough temperatures to prevent bacteria, but not as hot as to burn skin when used.