When considering a water heater for your home, one of the critical things to consider is its efficiency. To help the consumers make the right purchase decision, the Department of Energy has set new industry standards. This standard will also help reduce air pollution, prevent the release of harmful chemicals into the air and enhance energy security.
This article will help you understand the water heater’s energy factor and how you can use it to pick the right water heater for you.
WHAT IS ENERGY FACTOR FOR A WATER HEATER?
Energy Factor or EF is the measure of the energy efficiency of your water heater. It is calculated by dividing the amount of energy the water heater uses by the total energy that goes into running the water heater.
The EF includes the following –
- Recovery Efficiency – The measure of how efficiently heat is transferred to the water.
- Standby Losses – It is the percentage of heat loss every hour from the stored water compared to the heat content of the water.
- Cycling Losses – It is the loss of heat while the water circulates through the water heater or the pipes.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE WATER HEATER’S EF?
If you are considering buying a new water heater and wish to make comparisons, you can look up the ratings for different water heaters
The higher the EF, the more efficient your water heater will be. In the perfect world, all the energy that the water heater consumers should be used to heat the water. But it is not always the case, especially with gas-powered heaters. A lot of energy will be lost due to the combustion process, when the water is on stand-by or as the combustion gasses start to exhaust.
DOES A HIGHER WATER HEATER ENERGY FACTOR MEAN IT IS BETTER?
The EFs will vary depending on the fuel source, design of the burner, tank insulation and other features. Electric water heaters with an energy efficiency between 0.67 or higher are qualified for the Energy Star label, while gas heaters with EF higher than 0.8 can get an Energy Star label. Gas water heaters typically have EFs between 0.5 and 0.7, and for electric models, it is between 0.75 and 0.95.
One must remember that higher EF does not always mean lower annual operating costs. Electric-powered water heaters may have higher EFs compared to electric water heaters, but electric energy costs more than double the cost of natural gas. Thus, running a gas-powered water heater in homes is better even though they have a slightly lower EF.
When selecting a water heater, EF forms an important factor to consider. But in addition, make sure to consider the size, fuel type, maintenance costs and its overall cost as well. Many other factors such as the water lines, flow rate of faucets and showerheads and even the pipe insulation should be considered when making a decision. Compare the costs of the different models and determine the right size heater based on your needs.
If you’d like to learn more about what type of water heater is better for me, tankless or traditional.