Electric hot water tanks just have the heating coils thru the side, one on the bottom and one on the top. You have to drain the tank to change them out. I too have mine on a 4 hour/day timer to reduce the electric required. It stays pretty warm.
In most hot water tanks, you are circulating the actual drinkable water thru your stove and back into the tanks. I think only certain temperating or hot water boilers with coils/tanks have separate heating coil loops in them, separate from your potable water supply. That is why you need the Bronze Type pumps for an open system, since you can have air in the lines from the city/well water, it would induce corrosion in the cast pumps.