Understanding Water Heater Efficiency Ratings

Admiral Explains All Those New Abbreviations

water heaters Greene County, VA Chances are, it’s been a while since you’ve been in the market for a new water heater. With a just a little maintenance, most tank-type water heaters should last at least 10 years before you begin to notice a reduction in performance. With good maintenance, they can last even longer.
Or maybe you’re new to homeownership, and this is your first time navigating the sea of efficiency ratings.

The good news is that the Department of Energy has introduced a more streamlined system of rating standards.

The old ratings provided inconsistent information that made it hard to compare brands. Now, there’s one standard for testing and for sharing the information with customers like you. It’s known as Uniform Energy Factor or UEF and it was created to make it much easier for you to understand water heater efficiency ratings.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Numbers to Know

UEF: This number represents the overall efficiency of a water heater, that is, how much of the energy it uses goes to actually heating water and how much is wasted energy. The higher the UEF, the more efficient the water heater.

FHR/FHD: This stands for First Hour Rating or First Hour Delivery, which is the amount of hot water a water-heater model can produce in the first hour of operation. This shows you the difference between very high-efficiency models and more moderately efficient equipment. For example, a very-highly efficient water heater with a 40-gallon tank might be able to produce 80 gallons of hot water in an hour. In contrast, a water heater with an 80-gallon tank but a less-powerful heating system might not produce more than 80 gallons of hot water, and it would deliver less than that in the next hour because it would need to heat the water refilling the tank.

GPM: Gallons-per-minute tells you how much hot water a tankless water heater will produce.

What’s Right for You?

Water heating can contribute to about 30% of your energy costs, so finding an energy-efficient water heater can make a big difference in your energy bills. There are a number of factors to consider: the size of your home, how many people are in your household, how many bathrooms, sinks, showers, and how many of your appliances use hot water. Think washing machines and dishwashers, not hot-water-based heating equipment.

Of course, any new water heater will likely be more efficient than an older model. And if you have a tank-type system and want to stick with that, there are plenty of high-efficiency water heaters you can choose from. But for super-efficient water heating, you should consider going tankless.

Tankless water heaters offer several advantages over storage-type water heaters. Tankless water heaters save energy by instantly heating water when you need it, rather than keeping a large tank hot all the time. As a result, you can enjoy virtually unlimited hot water—while seeing savings of up to 40%! They also last twice as long (or longer!) than a tank-style water heater.

Ready to Learn More?

Talk to the pros at Admiral. We sell, install, and service all types of efficient propane water heaters, including high-efficiency tankless water heaters from Rinnai. We’ll help you understand your options, and show you the pros and cons of both storage tank and tankless options to help you find the most efficient water heater for your home and your lifestyle. We can also help you take advantage of generous rebates from the Tennessee Propane Gas Association.

Contact us for more information today.