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Efficiency Ratings on Water Heaters: Why It’s Important

Monday, November 6th, 2023 at 11:00 am


Did you know that water heaters account for around 18% of your home’s energy usage? It makes sense when you consider what a workhorse your home’s water heater is. It keeps you supplied with hot water for numerous everyday tasks, whenever you need it.

Because you rely on your water heater so much, it pays to do some research on water heater efficiency. Here are some things to consider if you’re in the market for a new water heater. Doing 5 to 10 minutes of research can pay off in the long run when you’re an informed homeowner.

The Type of Water Heater & Energy Consumption

There are two types of water heater: tankless and tank. Generally speaking, tankless water heaters are considered more energy-efficient than tank water heaters (also called traditional or storage water heaters). Let’s go over their various pros and cons when it comes to energy efficiency.

  • Tank water heaters: These are found in most homes in the US. They keep a tank of hot water ready at all times. This requires energy usage 24 hours a day as the water heater is constantly using energy to keep a supply of hot water available for use. Although they’re less energy efficient than tankless models, there are features you can choose to increase energy efficiency.
  • Tankless water heaters: Also called on-demand water heaters, they heat water “on demand” without the use of a storage tank. Because water is heated only as you need it, they use a lot less energy. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), they can be a whopping 24% to 34% more efficient than tank water heaters.

Energy Star Ratings

An easy way to select an energy-efficient water heater is to purchase an ENERGY STAR-certified model. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assigns ENERGY STAR certification to water heaters that use less energy compared to other models. You may even qualify for tax credits for buying ENERGY STAR products. The rating is based on the water heater’s uniform energy factor (UEF) rating. 

A water heater’s UEF rating is a measure of its energy efficiency and is based on how much energy it uses and how much is used to power the water heater itself. The higher the UEF number, the more energy efficient it is. 

Here are the minimum UEF ratings for a water heater to earn an ENERGY-STAR designation.

  • Gas tank water heater (up to 55 gallons) must have a minimum UEF of 0.81
  • Gas tank water heater ( 55+ gallons) must have a minimum UEF of 0.86
  • Gas tankless water heater must have a minimum UEF of 0.87

The Bottom Line

Homeowners in the Pacific Northwest pride themselves on their eco-friendly choices. Choosing an energy-efficient water heater using the guidelines above will help you decrease your energy usage and lower your utility bills. Reach out to us for a recommendation on the best energy-efficient water heater for your particular home and household.

For professional water heater services in Olympia, WA, contact Brooks Plumbing Co. today!

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