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Understanding heater components makes it much easier to fix the problem and troubleshoot and for ordering water heater parts correctly.

Gas and Electric Water Heater Parts

Storage gas and electric tank heaters are the most common source of water heating in many homes and businesses. While some of the parts we mention in this article are mandatory for all water heaters, some are additional or optional and help with efficiency and increased safety. Here’s a list of some common water heater parts that may need repair or replacement.

Note: This list doesn’t cover all the necessary or optional water heater parts. There are many more not listed in this article.

Gas Valve

The gas valve is the heart of the water heater. It controls the delivery of the natural or propane gas to the burner and pilot light.

Heating Elements

Electric water heaters rely on a pair of upper and lower heating elements to heat the water. Electric heating elements heat the water when an electrical current passes through them. Smaller tanks may only have one heating element.

Anode Rod

The anode rod protects the steel metal water heater tank from corrosion. The anode rod is often referred to as  “the sacrificial anode” because it sacrifices itself to extend the tank’s life.


All water heater venting systems use a vent duct or pipe called a chimney or flue. The flue releases exhaust gases from the water heater to the outdoors.


Mechanical thermostats regulate the water temperature. Here’s a guide to testing electric water heater thermostats.

TPR Valve

The TPR valve or temperature and pressure relief valve is used to protect the system from the excessively hot water pressure. It’s usually combined with the discharge pipe to an adequate drain.

Ordering Water Heater Parts

Do you need wholesale water heater parts? Wallingford Sales is your commercial online plumbing department. We offer great prices and drop ship directly to you.

When Ordering Water Heater Parts from Wallingford Sales for an AO Smith or Rheem water heater, please obtain the Model and Serial Number of your water heater. Contact Doug at 866.977.2537 or via e-mail at doug@wallingfordsales.com and include the parts you require.

Avoid ordering based on the picture of a part and assume it is the correct one. The pictures AO Smith provides are representative of a class of parts. It may not be the actual part you require.

Utilizing the serial number of your water heater, we can obtain the correct part number for you and avoid costly mistakes and downtime of your business or family.