Ratings and Criteria for Picking Out the Best Water Heater
Being an informed shopper means doing your research – whether you’re buying toothpaste or a new car. So why should it be any different when it comes to picking your next water heater? According to the Department of Energy, the water heater uses up about 17% of a home’s energy. You rely on your water heater for bathing, laundry, washing dishes, and other needs. Put it all together, and it’s clear that choosing a water heater is an important decision.
The tricky part is there isn’t an easy way to rank water heaters, so you know which one is best. When researching water heaters, it’s important to compare several criteria and ratings, including energy factor (EF), first-hour rating (FHR), capacity, uniform energy factor (UEF), and more.
Important ratings and criteria for water heaters
Here are terms that you will find with tank or tankless water heaters.
- Energy factor (EF). This is a traditional rating determined by the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel consumed in a typical day. The higher the EF rating, the more energy-efficient the water heater is.
- Uniform energy factor (UEF). A newer measurement of efficiency, UEF measures the percentage of energy that is turned into hot water. Similar to EF, the higher the UEF value, the more energy-efficient the unit is.
- First-hour rating (FHR) – A rating specifically for tank water heaters, FHR estimates how many gallons of hot water can be produced in one hour. This tells you how quickly the tank can be reheated if you run out of hot water.
- Tank capacity – For tank water heaters, the capacity is measured in the number of gallons of hot water is stored at all times, typically 40-50 gallons for most homes. The capacity should be appropriate for the number of people in the household.
- Gallons per minute (GPM) – For tankless water heaters, capacity or flow rate is measured by how many gallons of hot water can be supplied in one minute. Larger households should have higher GPM to accommodate multiple outlets being used at one time.
- ENERGY STAR® – This designation certifies that the product meets energy-efficiency standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Professional water heater installation
This isn’t the end-all-be-all list of things you should consider when buying a new water heater. Before you decide and spend your hard-earned money, talk to the licensed plumbers at Rocket Plumbing. We can help you determine if a tank or tankless water heater is the best fit for your home, as well as give you professional recommendations on brands, models, and sizes. Schedule an appointment by calling (773) 219-1200.