Water Heaters: Buyer’s Guide
Once you have decided which type of water heater works best for your home, take the time to select the most efficient option in your budget. Though more efficient models might cost more initially, they can lead to significant savings over the course of a water heater’s 10- to 15-year lifespan.
EF: The Energy Factor
One of the first things to look for in a model is Energy Factor (EF). A higher EF signifies a more efficient water heater.
If you have an electric water heater, check to see if you have a gas line, which will allow you to replace your electric water heater with a more cost-efficient gas model.
Look for the Label: EnergyGuide
Most major appliances must meet specific energy standards outlined by the U.S. Department of Energy. Their energy use and efficiency ratings are displayed on the yellow EnergyGuide label, which compares the estimated annual operating cost with similar models and states how much energy the appliance is expected to use annually. The EnergyGuide label will also display the ENERGY STAR® logo, if the particular model qualifies.
You’ll see an estimated yearly operating cost on a scale showing a range for similar models. The amount is based on the national average rate for electricity. Look for models with the lowest operating costs.
You’ll also find the estimated annual energy consumption for this model based on typical use. Multiply this by your local electricity rate to get a better estimate of your actual operating cost.
Look for the Logo: ENERGY STAR®
ENERGY STAR® is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.The program sets minimum efficiency standards for appliances and building products and recognizes and labels the top performing models on the market. The standards are more rigorous than federal standards, and vary by product category.4 A list of qualified televisions can be found online at energystar.gov.
Find More Info
- American Council for Energy Efficient Economy
California Energy Commission
- Energy Guide Home Analyzer & Energy Calculators
- Home Energy Advisor
- Department of Energy Home Energy Saver
- Energy Star Tax Credits
Places to Buy
Use & Care
Proper maintenance, placement and installation of your home’s water heater will maximize efficiency measures. Learn more about Water Heater Use & Care, where to start, and how to care for water heaters for the most savings.
If you’re thinking about making efficiency improvements, the Water Heaters Overview is a great place to get acquainted with the basics and your options, before you buy or install a water heating system in your home.
1 ACEEE. (2011). Consumer Resources: Water Heating. Retrieved October 5, 2012, from http://aceee.org/node/3068
2 ACEEE. (2011). Consumer Resources: Water Heating. Retrieved October 5, 2012, from http://aceee.org/node/3068
3 Goorskey, Sarah, Yang, G., Smith, A. (2004). Home Energy Briefs: #5 Water Heating. Snowmass, CO: Rocky Mountain Institute. Retrieved October 5, 2012, from http://www.rmi.org/rmi/pid217 (p. 4).
4 ENERGY STAR®. How A Product Earns the ENERGY STAR Label. Retrieved October 4, 2012, from http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_how_earn
This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.