Hot water tanks are made from steel, copper, glass, and plastic. The main vessel tank is usually made from steel or copper, a glass lining to prevent corrosion, and a plastic dip tube to keep the water properly circulating. There are many variations to the standard hot water tank design, and knowing what these variations are and the materials used can help you troubleshoot future problems and guard against premature failure of your hot water tank installation.
For your hot water tanks, opinions vary on how hot you should set your water tank thermostat. 120 degrees is a good bet to save energy and provide your home with hot, safe water. Most dishwashers require water heated to 130 degrees or higher. Many of these dishwashers have their own temperature boosters. Check your dishwasher to see if this is the case. If not, you may consider raising your hot water thermostat to 130 degrees, but be careful to avoid any scalding burns. You should also periodically check your hot water with an accurate thermometer. Hot water tank thermostats can sometimes malfunction.
Plastic Water Tank Catchments
The most common residential water tank is a hot water tank, but too many homeowners see this as the only useful water tank for their home and miss out on other opportunities. Plastic water tanks can be used as rainwater catchments, greatly reducing your water bill, helping the environment by conserving water, and possibly even helping out in the event of a fire. You might think that plastic water tank catchments are only viable for smaller homes, but in fact, larger homes are probably better-equipped. If you have a decent amount of annual rainwater and a large roof catchment area, the larger demand for water in large homes can make such water tanks a more sensible home installation.
Need help choosing a hot water tank? Click here forWater Heating System Installation
Plastic Water Tanks: Color and Thickness
Two of the biggest concerns for plastic tanks are the formation of algae in the tank and excessive heating that can damage the plastic tank. A lighter-colored plastic water tank is probably going to let some sunlight into the tank, increasing the risk of algae growth. A darker-colored plastic tank will be completely opaque, blocking sunlight from entering the tank. However, the dark color absorbs the sunlight, which can cause the plastic to become overheated and, possibly, collapse.
To prevent the structural damage associated with sun exposure, you can buy a thicker tank, although this means your tank will be considerably heavier and more expensive. Reinforced ribs in your tank can accomplish the same task, but again, this means a more expensive tank. Trying to limit the overall exposure of your plastic tank may be your best bet. Otherwise, you're paying extra for an essentially industrial-strength tank or running the risk of tank failure.
Plastic Water Tanks: Size and Shape
A residential plastic water tank can range anywhere from 15 gallons to several thousand gallons. This extreme variance in installation size is determined both by the different water needs of homes and whether the water tank is a hot water tank or a residential water storage tank. Hot water tanks are naturally smaller, but they also require more specialized equipment, like a thermal expansion tank to deal with the increased pressure of water heating. Water tanks of several thousand gallons will allow you to store rainwater for your residential use.
Water tanks can be vertical, horizontal, or rectangular in shape. Horizontal tanks are significantly cheaper but also take up quite a bit more space. Depending on the amount of space you have available, your budget, and your water tank needs, a professional contractor should be able to help you determine the correct size and shape of your water tank. Some companies can even customize a water tank to fit into odd spaces in your home.