The drain valve threads into the bottom of the tank and opens to drain and flush out the gunk from inside. If the drain valve doesn't open or leaks, you should replace it.
The electric water heaters heating element is the heat source. It extends into the tank, where it creates heat in the water. If the heating element isn't heating, replace it.
The pilot light is monitored by the thermocouple The heat of the pilot flame creates a small electrical current that can be used to detect whether the light is lit. If the pilot light is off, the gas valve will not open because it assumes the small electrical current produced by the thermocouple is gone. If the thermocouple does not detect the pilot flame, replace it.
The tank is protected by the anode rod. The hot water can smell like rotten eggs when hydrogen sulfide gas is produced by a chemical reaction between the supply water and anode rod. The rotten-egg smell can be mitigated by replacing the anode rod with a zinc-aluminum one.
The temperature-pressure (T&P) relief valve is a safety device that automatically opens to discharge hot water in the event of excessive temperature and/ or pressure inside the tank. If the T&P valve is leaking or malfunctioning, replace it.
The water temperature is constantly monitored by the thermostat. When the water temperature drops beneath the desired setting, the thermostat sends power to the electric heating element or gas burner to start heating. If the thermostat doesn't send power to the heating element, it's time to replace it. The gas control assembly should be replaced in a gas water heating system.
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