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Your New Water Heater: How The EF Should Factor Into Your Decision

If you're shopping for a new water heater, don’t forget to check the EF (energy factor). The purchase of a water heater goes beyond the cost at the cash register. Your new water-heating system will be in constant use for many years, and you should know as much about it as possible.

The EF of a water heater is a rating given to each model by the U.S. Department of Energy, describing the overall energy efficiency based on how much energy is required to produce a certain amount of hot water. Think of it like your car’s miles per gallon rating.

The EF is determined by these factors:

  • Recovery efficiency: How much energy does the unit use to heat the water?
  • Standby loss: How much of the water’s heat is lost per hour?
  • Cycling loss: How much of the water’s heat is lost as it circulates through the unit?

A higher EF means the water heater gets more hot water for the same amount of fuel as one with a lower EF.

However, this does not mean you should run out and buy the model with the highest EF. Sometimes a higher energy factor can mean higher operating costs. When shopping for a water heater, don’t rely solely on the EF. There are other important factors to consider, such as:

  • Size: Will it create and store enough hot water to meet the demands of your household?
  • Fuel: Do you have the energy source required to run it?
  • Overall cost: Based on your demands and what type of fuel it uses, how much will it cost to run each year?
  • First hour rating: Will the unit provide enough hot water per hour to suit your family’s needs?

When purchasing a new water heater, examine all the factors – including the Energy Factor – and choose the model that best fits your needs.

If you would like more information, please contact us at Joe Behr Plumbing & Heating. We've been meeting the HVAC needs of the Mid-Ohio area since 1965.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about water heaters and other HVAC topics, visit our website.

Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating, Inc. services the Mid-Ohio area. 

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