Hot Water Tanks

Did you Know?

Scalding, or contact with hot water, is one of the most common childhood accidents. Children are easily susceptible to burns from hot water because their skin is more sensitive. By adjusting your hot water tank to a slightly lower temperature, you can help prevent burn accidents.

The most common appliance used to heat water for homes today is a storage-type gas-fired water heater, otherwise known as a hot water tank. Typically, these kinds of hot water tanks have a burner at the base and a glass or metal-lined tank. Most tanks have ʻpilot lightsʼ – a small flame that burns continuously – that light the burner when the tank needs to be heated. Some tanks have an electronic ignition that begins the heating process.

Set-up, Safety Measures and General Maintenance


Occasionally, gas appliances are removed without properly terminating the old gas lines. Inspect your home for uncapped gas lines. Any steel lines not connected to an appliance should be capped with a valve and black steel cap. Only a qualified gasfitter should install, repair or remove natural gas appliances. Have a qualified professional check all your gas appliances annually (i.e., furnace, water heater, stove, fireplace, etc).

The controls for most gas-fired water heaters are located at the base of the tank. On electric hot water heaters, these controls are often found under the tankʼs cover plate. These controls are used to adjust the temperature, shut down or turn on your hot water tank. Every tank is also equipped with a pressure relief valve safety feature located at the top of the tank. It is designed to open and relieve pressure if the watter pressure in the tank exceeds its rated working pressure.

  • Do choose the lowest temperature setting on your hot water that still provides you with an adequate supply of hot water.
  • Do consider turning the tank thermostat down to its lowest setting before going on a vacation.
  • Do be careful when making adjustments – be careful not to contact adjacent wire ends on the terminals located near the temperature setting screw.
  • If your hot water tank stops producing hot water, do check the fuse or breaker panel before calling a plumber or electrician to fix it.
  • Do flush your hot water tank in accordance with the manufacturerʼs directions to prevent sediment from accumulating at the bottom of your hot water tank. Sediment buildup has an insulating effect and can slow the heating process increasing the operating costs for your tank. Flush your tanks as part of your regular maintenance schedule.
  • Do not tamper with your tankʼs pressure relief valve.