Water Heater Shopping – Choosing the Most Efficient Product

It can be frustrating to get that power bill in the mail and realize how much you’re spending on electricity. While your water heater is likely not the primary source of energy usage (this falls to the air conditioner in most homes), an inefficient product can certainly add waste to your bill. Thankfully, if you’re shopping for a new one, the government has seen to it that you have all the information you need when it comes to efficiency. The Energy Guide label, required by federal regulations, gives consumers the numbers they need to make clear comparisons between various manufacturers and their products. Here’s a look at various types of heaters and how you can compare them.


The most prominent type of water heater, the conventional model involves using either gas or electricity to heat the water, storing a certain amount of it in a tank. This way, it is ready to flow through the faucet or showerhead on demand. The average Energy Factor for these models is 0.64, though you’ll see models both above and below that number. While popular, these models are hardly the most efficient type on the market because energy is constantly being used to keep the stored water warm.


The tankless Geen warm water heater has gotten a lot of attention over the last decade. Instead of storing it and consistently warming it for use, the tankless model waits until the consumer demands the heat (by turning on the faucet, shower, or appliance) to start the warming process. These models often have a much better Energy Factor rating, though there are disadvantages. For instance, if you are the impatient type, you may not care to wait around for the water to heat up when you want to take a shower immediately. Still, the electricity savings can be substantial.

Heat Pump

Available only for those who use standard electricity (as opposed to gas), the heat pump water heater uses heat from the atmosphere to warm the water. As with conventional models, a storage tank is used in these types, though they have a substantially better Energy Factor rating than either conventional or tankless models.

Increasing Efficiency

Getting more efficiency out of your existing water heater may be just as important to saving money as buying a better model. Ensuring that any and all leaks have been patched up, implementing an insulation blanket, and having your unit professionally inspected and maintained can lead to better efficiency and lower bills.


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