Energy Star Sets Standards for Hot Water Heaters

Looking at ways to save some cash on your home energy bills? Then take a look at your hot water heater – which, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, accounts for 17% of the total annual utility bill for the typical family, third only behind heating and cooling, and your kitchen appliances. Saving money on your utility bills is about to become easier, as the Energy Department has just released the first Energy Star Ã?® compliance standards for water heaters.

“The ENERGY STARÃ?® program empowers consumers to make smart energy choices that will save money, and energy, and reduce our carbon footprint,” DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Karsner said in a press release.

The Energy StarÃ?® standards have been set for five categories of hot water heaters: high-performance gas storage, whole-home gas tankless, advanced drop-in or integrated heat pump, solar, and gas condensing. If you’re thinking of replacing, or installing one of these hot water heaters, you may want to wait until you see the Energy StarÃ?® logo appear on the box, which is set to happen January 1, 2009. Some manufacturers are likely to jump to the front of the line and start complying early.

In order for a manufacturer to place the Energy Star�® logo on their hot water heater, they have to provide testing results of their hot water heater from a third party organization that show their product meets, or exceeds the guidelines. For solar hot water heaters, this certification is available from the independent Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC).

The tax benefits for upgrading to the new, more-efficient water heaters expired December 31, 2007, but are being debated in Congress as part of the Renewable Energy and Independence Bill (House Bill 5351). A predecessor bill was vetoed by President George W. Bush, because the tax incentives for consumers were broadened by taking away subsidies for oil companies, and giving that $18 billion tax break to consumers for installing energy-savings measures, and renewable energy devices within their own homes.

Energy Star�® is a joint effort run by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, formed in 1992 to create a market-based program for reducing energy demand and air pollution. Currently over 9,000 companies voluntarily participate in the Energy Star�® program. For more information on Energy Star�®, and where you can purchase Energy Star�® compliant hot water heaters and other household appliances visit the Energy Star�® website at

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