Energy Efficient Water Heaters

Water Heaters Denver CO are a common household appliance that uses energy to produce hot water for washing dishes, laundry, and bathing. Most models are powered by electricity or gas.

Water Heaters

Electric units use less expensive, renewable energy sources, whereas gas uses fossil fuels. Both types require a vent to release waste products, but electric models don’t need a gas line.

If you are looking for a new water heater that can save you money and make your home more energy efficient, consider choosing one that has been rated to meet high energy efficiency standards. These standards are based on the First Hour Rating (FHR), which determines how much hot water is produced in the first hour of operation, and are a good measure of how much energy a specific model will use. The FHR ratings were recently changed to a Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) based on updated DOE testing procedures, which allows for more accurate comparisons of performance between water heaters.

In general, electric demand water heaters are more efficient than gas units because they use less electricity to heat the same amount of water. However, they require between 40 and 60 amps at 220 volts to operate, which can be beyond the wired capacity of many homes. Additionally, an electric water heater is susceptible to heat losses through the hot water pipes, which can account for a significant portion of the total energy used to produce a single unit of hot water.

Gas-fired units are rated to different energy efficiency levels depending on tank size. Look for models with sealed combustion or power venting, which separates combusting gases from house air and exhausts them outside through a two-pipe system. This eliminates the need for a standing pilot, which consumes energy and is not as effective as an electronic ignition.

Aside from being a cost-effective way to lower your utility bills, a highly efficient water heater can also reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment. Heating and cooling accounts for the largest part of household energy use, so reducing this consumption has a direct impact on both consumer costs and climate change.

The biggest impact comes from switching from standard electric resistance water heaters to advanced models that can use less energy. Electricity generation is terribly inefficient compared to natural gas, and the energy required to transport it to your home results in high utility bills and greenhouse emissions. In contrast, a gas demand water heater can significantly cut your energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions, while lowering your electricity usage by reducing peak demand. Smart electric water heaters that connect to home energy management systems can provide additional opportunities for demand response savings and automated efficiency optimization, helping to reduce your electricity bills even more.

Water Heater Size

While bigger is not always better when it comes to water heaters, selecting the right size is key for your household. An incorrect water heater can lead to insufficient hot water or wasted energy costs. To determine the appropriate size, you should consider how many people live in your home, their lifestyle habits and hot water usage needs. This includes things like shower duration and length, back-to-back showers and tub size. You should also think about laundry and dishwasher loads and when they are typically used.

When shopping for a new water heater, the first thing to consider is its First Hour Rating (FHR). The FHR specifies how much water a particular model can heat in one hour at full capacity and how quickly it can reheat. This is a good indicator of how much hot water your household will need during peak hours.

A good rule of thumb is to look for a tank water heater that has an FHR that exceeds the gallons of water that you will use during your household’s busiest hour. For example, a family of four with average shower durations and multiple simultaneous showers may need a 50 gallon water heater or greater.

The next thing to consider is your water heater’s temperature rise capability. Most tanks will have a temperature rise chart that you can consult to see how much hot water it can deliver for various temperature increases. If you know you will be using your water heater for dishes and washing clothes, it is best to select a tank that has a high temperature rise.

If you want to know how much hot water your existing unit holds, look for a sticker on the unit that lists its rated capacity in gallons. You can also find this information online by searching for the water heater model number or serial number.

If you decide to purchase a tankless water heater, the sizing process is different. You need to consider how many people are in your household, what their daily hot water demands are and what time of day is your peak demand hour. You should also look for a manufacturer-provided flow rate chart to help you estimate the amount of hot water your home will need at each temperature.

Installation Options

Water heaters are a big investment, so choose wisely. Whether you’re looking to replace an existing one or installing a water heater in new construction, select a contractor who has experience with your type of system. Check out contractors’ reputation, warranty coverage and service. Get estimates from several companies, and make sure you understand all the details of each option.

A tank-style heater may be more affordable than a demand model, but the ongoing costs will add up over time. Look for a system with an Energy Star rating for the best energy efficiency.

If you’re concerned about the environment, a gas or propane-powered tankless water heater can help. Although they can’t produce as much hot water per minute as a conventional storage tank, they do use less energy and provide a significant reduction in greenhouse gases.

An alternative to a whole-home water heater is a point of use (POU) water heater, which provides a small amount of hot water at each end-use sink. These are typically electrical, but there are also gas-powered POU options. The advantage of these systems is their proximity to the sink, allowing you to avoid long wait times for hot water.

Another way to reduce wait time is by installing an on-demand recirculation system. These systems install a loop and pump between the hot and cold water lines at each fixture. At the push of a button, a pump rapidly circulates hot water to the fixture, and room-temperature water is returned to the water heater. This eliminates the waste that happens when you run a faucet while waiting for hot water to arrive.

Most water heaters require venting, and you can opt for a direct-vent or power-vent model. A direct-vent water heater pulls air from outside, vents through a vertical pipe and then outdoors, while a power-vent system draws cool indoor air and uses a fan to push exhaust out through a horizontal pipe.

Most home improvement centers offer a wide range of water heaters, and they can usually help you determine what type is right for your home. However, when it comes to installation, a licensed plumber is the best choice. He or she has the skills to work safely with your water pipes and gas line, and to install a high-efficiency system that will save you money in the long run.


Purchasing a new water heater is a big investment. A good warranty can help ease the financial burden in case of a failure or repairs. Many manufacturers and home warranty companies offer warranties on their products. Homeowners should carefully evaluate the terms and conditions of these warranties to ensure they are suitable for their needs.

Some warranties only cover specific parts and components of a water heater, while others may cover the entire unit. For example, a gas burner failure in a tank-type water heater would be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, but an expansion tank or venting upgrade would not be. Some warranties also limit who can perform repairs or replace the product if it’s damaged. For instance, a plumber who doesn’t have the proper license to service a particular manufacturer may void the warranty on that product.

A home warranty company offers a more comprehensive plan that typically covers all aspects of the water heater, including the plumbing system and any other appliances or systems affected by its malfunction or breakdown. These warranties can be more affordable than manufacturer’s warranties and often have flexible service agreements that allow homeowners to choose their preferred technicians. The best home warranty providers will make their contracts clear and easy to understand, using language that doesn’t hide important information in legalese.

While a warranty can be a useful tool in the event of a water heater failure, it’s not an effective replacement for routine maintenance. Keeping up with routine maintenance and making timely repairs can help extend the life of the water heater and save homeowners from high repair costs.

A water heater is a major appliance that’s often overlooked until it stops working. Homeowners should review the different options available to them and evaluate the pros and cons of each before selecting a model that fits their family’s needs. Choosing a quality brand and installing it properly will help to ensure the appliance lasts as long as possible. It’s also important to assess the potential out-of-pocket costs of repairs or replacements not covered by the warranty to help budget accordingly.