Gas heaters use gas burners to heat water, whereas electric heaters use two pairs of hot water cylinder elements, upper and lower. Made out of metal, these elements heat when electricity is passed through them, thereby heating the water stored in the cylinder.
Cylinder elements of both high and low density are available on the market. Usually, one with lower density lasts longer as compared to high density ones.
When deciding on which type of element will best suit your needs, you need to ascertain the following:
- Assess and analyse your existing hot water cylinder element.
- Find out the voltage and wattage that an existing or a new cylinder element works on.
- Compare your findings.
- Select a product that matches or is lower than the voltage and wattage of your water heater, as a higher one may not be compatible with its wiring.
It’s important to check or test the cylinder elements with a voltage or OHM meter. For this, you’d need to turn off the power and disconnect the elements. After setting the meter to OHM reading, you can check the flow of current between the connectors of the element. If you get a ‘positive’ reading, it implies that the element is working fine. However, if you do not get any reading, it means that the element is not functioning and it must be replaced.
When opting for a hot water cylinder element replacement, ensure that the wattage of the new element does not exceed that of the existing or original one. Which one is better – one or two cylinder elements? Two elements work best, as there is an upper and a lower element that heat your water consecutively. First the upper element heats the water on top and thereafter, the lower element turns on, only if required. This feature is especially useful when there is high demand of hot water. How effective are water heater thermostats and timers? Water heater thermostats and timers help you regulate the temperature of the water stored in the hot water cylinder preventing the cylinder element from overheating it. After the water temperature reaches the desired or set temperature, the immersion heater is turned off automatically. A hot water time switch allows you to heat water at a stipulated time and hence, you can heat your water only when you need to. Both these devices help in the proper functioning of hot water cylinder elements, while saving on cost as well as energy.