Residential Water Heaters
Manufacturers have been required to comply with the Department of Energy (DOE) energy conservation standards for residential water heaters since 1990. Residential water heaters are products that utilize oil, gas, or electricity to heat potable water for use upon demand for activities such as washing dishes or clothes, or bathing. Residential water heaters include storage type units that store heated water in an insulated tank and instantaneous type units that heat water on demand.
The standard mandatory in 1990 will save approximately 3.2 quads of energy and result in approximately $34.8 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 1990-2019. The standard will avoid about 180 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 35.3 million automobiles.
The standard mandatory in 2004 will save approximately 6 quads of energy and result in approximately $70.6 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2004-2033. The standard will avoid about 316.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 62.1 million automobiles.
Standards mandatory in 2015 will save approximately 3.3 quads of energy and result in approximately $63 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2015-2044. The standard will avoid about 172.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 33.8 million automobiles.
Recent Updates | Standards | Test Procedures | Waiver, Exception, and Exemption Information | Statutory Authority | Historical Information | Contact Information
DOE has published a Federal Register notice of proposed rulemaking establishing a mathematical conversion factor for consumer water heaters and certain commercial water heaters. (80 FR 20116 (April 14, 2015). Comments are due May 14, 2015. For more information please see the rulemaking webpage.
DOE has published a Federal Register notice of withdrawal regarding the applicability of energy conservation standards for large-volume water heaters used in electric thermal storage programs. 80 FR 18167 (April 3, 2015).
DOE published a Federal Register notice of proposed rulemaking regarding definitions for consumer water heaters. 80 FR 18784 (April 8, 2015) For more information, please see the rulemaking webpage.
DOE published a request for information regarding test procedures and energy conservation standards for residential solar water heaters. 79 FR 62891 (October 21, 2014).
DOE published a final rule regarding test procedures for residential water heaters and certain commercial water heaters 79 FR 40541 (July 11, 2014). For more information, please see the rulemaking webpage.
Standards for Residential Water Heaters
The following content summarizes the energy factor requirements for residential water heaters. The text is not an official reproduction of the Code of Federal Regulations and should not be used for legal research or citation.
Current Test Procedure
To determine compliance with DOE standards, manufacturers must follow the test procedures specified at 10 CFR 430.23(e) for residential water heaters as of June 10, 1998. The methods to conduct the test procedure are further specified in 10 CFR 430 Appendix E to Subpart B. These are also in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.
For further guidance or to submit questions related to the implementation of this test procedure, visit the Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions page.
Test procedure waivers have not been issued for residential water heaters.
For information about obtaining test procedure waivers, see 10 CFR section 430.27.
DOE's Office of Hearings and Appeals has not authorized exception relief for residential water heaters.
For information about obtaining exception relief, see 10 CFR part 1003.
State Exemptions to Federal Preemption
DOE has not exempted any state from this energy conservation standard. States may petition DOE to exempt a state regulation from preemption by the federal energy conservation standard. States may also petition DOE to withdraw such exemptions. For details, see 10 CFR part 430, subpart D.
Small Business Exemptions
Any manufacturer of a covered product with annual gross revenues that do not exceed $8,000,000 from all its operations and meets certain other conditions may apply for an exemption to the energy conservation standard. For details, see 10 CFR part 430, subpart E.
The current energy conservation standards for residential water heaters are mandated by Part A, the "Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles" of Title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), as amended. (42 U.S.C. 6291–6309) These appliances are treated as covered products under Part A. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(4))
The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 amended EPCA by establishing energy conservation standards for residential water heaters and requiring DOE to consider amending standards in two subsequent rulemakings.
On January 17, 2001, DOE issued a final rule to update the standards for residential water heaters to the current standards. On April 16, 2010, DOE issued another final rule, again updating the energy conservation standards. Compliance with these standards will be required on April 16, 2015.
In 1998, DOE published a final rule that amended the original test procedure for residential water heaters. The rule updated the first hour rating test for storage water heaters and revised the test procedure so that it could apply to electric and gas-fired instantaneous water heaters. There are currently ongoing test procedure rulemakings for standby and off mode and for active mode.
Helpful Links and Contact Information
Find tips and guidance for making your home, workplace, or vehicle more energy efficient visit EnergySaver.gov.
DOE supports the testing and verification of ENERGY STAR® products in close collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR qualified gas condensing water heaters can save over $100 a year in energy costs compared to the standard model. High efficiency gas storage water heaters can save about $30 a year compared to the standard model. Heat pump water heaters can save the average household almost $300 per year on its electric bills compared to a standard electric water heater. Solar water heaters can reduce annual hot water costs by 50%. Whole home gas tankless water heaters can save the typical family more than $100 per year on gas bills.
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