What is a Water Heater Thermostat?

A. Leverkuhn

A water heater thermostat is a type of thermostat that is attached to a water heater installation. Different kinds of water heater thermostats provide temperature controls for the water that is used for home heating, showers, and bathtubs, kitchen and bathroom sinks, and an additional range of outlets and appliances. A basic hot water thermostat is a critical part of the essential hot and cold running water that has become the norm for indoor spaces in most modern countries.

A water heater.
A water heater.

The kinds of thermostat devices that plumbers and electricians use for these kinds of indoor systems vary in shape, size, and design. One popular type of water heater thermostat is a “stem and rod thermostat” which fits into a structure involving piping, where the conventional tank water heater directs the hot water toward appliances or other destinations. Some systems have “smart thermostats” with extra abilities for temperature control, where others might use multiple thermostats for advanced controls.

Water heat thermostats can be installed on conventional water heaters.
Water heat thermostats can be installed on conventional water heaters.

One possible setup for a conventional tank water heater design is to use two thermostats at different points in the system. Vertically placed thermostats can provide for a “high/low” design where one thermostat provides a stimulus for heating, and the other provides a “cutoff limit” by local temperature. These systems can help ensure that water heaters do their work effectively and heat water within a certain temperature range.

In addition to the kinds of water heater thermostat devices that accompany conventional water heaters, there are also other modern options that go along with a new tankless water heater design. Tankless water heaters help deal with one of the critical problems for providing hot and cold water in small properties, densely built rental communities, and other similar kinds of housing units. The tankless water heater does not need the kinds of unique spaces that builders traditionally had to carve out for a floor-standing conventional water heater tank.

Along with designs for more efficient physical water heaters, designs for water heater thermostat devices have evolved. Many of these modern thermostats have a digital display and advanced controls for setting recommended ranges of temperature for water. These critical devices have to operate well to ensure that users can consistently get hot water without excessive heat that would pose a risk for scalding and other health and safety issues.

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