Replacement Electric Water Heater

If you have an older electric water heater, a new high-efficiency model can save a significant amount of money for years to come.

High-efficiency electric water heaters usually have higher levels of foam insulation, at least R-13. This is especially important if your water heater is located in an unconditioned area.

The electric-resistance heating elements in your tank (standard electric water heating) transfer virtually 100% of their energy to the surrounding water as heat. There are higher-efficiency heat pump water heaters which operate at an efficiency of over 100% and often over 200%. They transfer heat from the surrounding air, ground, or well water to the water in the tank. Check with your contractor to see if a heat pump water heater is right for you.

If you use central air conditioning, consider a waste heat recovery unit which uses the heat given off by the outdoor unit of your air conditioner to heat water. When the air conditioner is not running, the standard heating elements serve as a back-up. Ask your heating and cooling contractor to see if a waste heat recovery unit is right for you.

What To Look For

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that all storage type water heaters be labeled with an "EnergyGuide" label. This label shows, based on the national average cost of electricity, the annual operating costs of that particular water heater. The label also shows how that particular water heater compares with all other comparable models. When purchasing a new electric water heater, look for the "EnergyGuide" label and purchase one with lower operating costs.