The standard hot water heater is a staple of the American home. Often ignored or taken for granted until they develop a problem, these devices are one of the essentials of modern life. Anyone who has ever lived in a cold climate without hot water knows the importance of a hot water heater.
Currently there is no Energy Star label for hot water heaters. It is not known if these products are slated to receive an Energy Star label in the near future.
Here are some other products that could offer energy savings:
Point-of-use water heaters
Point of use hot water heaters may offer an alternative to traditional hot water heating systems for some homeowners. These systems offer some advantages and disadvantage depending upon each individual situation. Point-of-use water heaters are also known as "tankless" heaters because they have no (or only a tiny) storage tank. They are relatively small units that provide hot water on demand. They use gas or electricity for fuel, and can be installed near demand points, such as under kitchen sinks. They are often more expensive than a conventional water heater, but can cost less to operate since they don't maintain a tank full of hot water when not in use. A point of use heater typically provides 1-2 gallons of hot water per minute. Before installing a point of use water heater in your home, make sure its reduced capacity will be adequate for your needs.
Solar water heaters
A solar water heater typically includes collectors mounted on the roof or in a clear area of the yard, a separate storage tank near the conventional heater in the home, connecting pipe, and a controller. Solar water heaters can reduce the annual fuel cost of supplying hot water to your home by more than half. Throughout the year, the solar system preheats the water before it reaches the conventional water heater. During the summer, it may provide all the required heat.
A desuperheater is an attachment to your air conditioner or heat pump that allows waste heat from that device to help heat domestic water. In hot climates, a desuperheater can provide most of a home's hot water needs during the summer.