New Efficiency Standards for Lower Water Heater Energy Costs

The new efficiency standards and water heater requirements below do not mean that consumers have to replace their water heaters in 2015. Like the low-flow toilet requirements of the early 1990s, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) mandate means that manufacturers cannot produce or sell lower-efficiency water heaters after April 15, 2015. Wholesalers will still be able to sell these products in their warehouses until their inventory is gone as we transition to becoming a more energy efficient country.

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In April of 2010, the DOE issued new efficiency standards for residential storage water heaters—gas-fired, oil-fired, and electric—in addition to gas-fired tank-less water heaters. These new efficiency standards save energy and bring energy costs down.

The old efficiency standards for gas-fired storage units required an Energy Factor (EF) of 0.59. An Energy Factor is the measurement of overall energy efficiency based on the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel consumed on a typical day. The new standards will require gas-fired water heaters that are less than 55 gallons to have an EF of 0.62. Gas-fired units that are more than 55 gallons need to have an EF of 0.76. For electric water heaters, standards will increase from an EF of 0.90 to 0.95 for units that are less than 55 gallons and 2.00 for units that are more than 55 gallons.