Water Heaters And Energy Star Ratings: What It All Means

Water heaters are essential appliances in every home. They provide the hot water necessary for daily activities such as cleaning dishes, doing laundry, taking a shower, and maintaining personal hygiene. When shopping for a water heater, one of the most critical factors to consider is its energy efficiency. One way to determine how energy efficient a water heater is through Energy Star Ratings. In this article, we will discuss what Energy Star Ratings mean, how they are determined, and why they are important.

What are Energy Star Ratings?

Energy Star Ratings is a program run by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that certifies products as energy efficient. The program was launched in 1992 as a voluntary labeling program to promote energy-efficient products in the market. Its primary goal is to help consumers save on energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the environment.

To qualify for Energy Star certification, a product must meet specific energy efficiency criteria established by the EPA. Products that meet the standards use less energy, emit fewer greenhouse gases, and perform as well as or better than their less-efficient counterparts. Energy Star Ratings are available for various products, such as appliances, electronics, lighting, and heating and cooling systems.

How are Energy Star Ratings determined for water heaters?

For water heaters, the Energy Star Ratings are based on the energy factor (EF), which is the ratio of usable hot water produced by the unit to the total energy consumed. The higher the EF, the more energy efficient the unit is. Water heaters with an EF of 0.82 or higher for gas storage tank units and 2.0 or higher for electric storage tank units qualify for Energy Star certification. Tankless water heaters must have an EF of 0.90 or higher to be eligible.

Besides EF, the EPA also considers other factors, such as standby heat losses and recovery efficiency, when certifying water heaters for Energy Star Ratings. Standby heat loss is the amount of heat lost from a tank water heater to the surrounding air. Recovery efficiency is the rate at which a water heater reheats the water in the tank after it has been used.

Why are Energy Star Ratings important for water heaters?

Energy Star Ratings can help consumers choose more energy efficient water heaters, which can result in significant energy savings over time. According to the EPA, water heating is the second largest energy expense in most households, accounting for about 18% of the total energy bill. By choosing an Energy Star certified water heater, consumers can save up to $300 over the unit’s lifetime, depending on the model and energy cost.

Energy Star Ratings also encourage manufacturers to produce more energy efficient products. By setting energy efficiency standards that products must meet to qualify for certification, the program drives innovation and promotes technological advances that reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Types of Energy Star certified water heaters

There are several types of Energy Star certified water heaters available in the market. They include:

  • Gas storage tank water heaters
  • Electric storage tank water heaters
  • Gas condensing tankless water heaters
  • Electric heat pump water heaters
  • Solar water heaters

Gas storage tank water heaters and electric storage tank water heaters are the most common types of water heaters used in households. Gas condensing tankless water heaters are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and on-demand hot water supply. Electric heat pump water heaters use electricity to transfer heat from the air or ground to heat the water in the tank, making them more energy efficient than traditional electric water heaters. Solar water heaters use energy from the sun to heat water, making them the most energy efficient type of water heater.


In conclusion, Energy Star Ratings are an important consideration when shopping for a water heater. They can help consumers save on energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the environment. Energy Star certified water heaters come in various types and sizes, each with its own energy efficiency rating. By choosing an Energy Star certified water heater, consumers can help contribute to a sustainable future and reduce their carbon footprint.

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