Understanding Your 2023 Water Heater EnergyGuide Label
June 29, 2023
As a homeowner, you may have noticed yellow EnergyGuide labels on your water heater and appliances. What does the information on the label mean and why is it there?
Why the EnergyGuide Label Is Important
In order to help consumers comparison shop products, the Federal Trade Commission requires manufacturers to place EnergyGuide labels on appliances. The label estimates a residential appliance’s yearly energy cost and how it compares to similar models. By understanding the yearly energy cost range of appliances, consumers can choose the more efficient product and lower their monthly energy bills. This is important as utility energy costs increase.
A Reminder About Changes in Estimated Energy Costs
Effective January 10, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) updated the national average energy rates used to calculate EnergyGuide estimated yearly energy cost. Because of the cost change, the estimated yearly energy costs of some products increased. Note that this does not reflect a change in the efficiency rating of the product. As shown in the below table, the estimated energy cost for electricity and natural gas has increased while cost for liquid propane has decreased.
January 10, 2023 Updated Unit Costs on EnergyGuide Label
Natural Gas $1.21/therm
Former Unit Costs on EnergyGuide Label
Natural Gas $1.09/therm
Reading the Label
Below is an example of the EnergyGuide label on a 65-gallon Rheem® ProTerra® Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Water Heater.
1 – Water heater -Electric – Product type and fuel type
2 – Tank size (storage capacity): 59 gallons – The actual amount of water the unit contains, also known as the rated capacity
3 – Rheem – Brand
4 – Model PROPH65 T2 RH375-SO – Model number
5 – Estimated yearly energy cost ($171) – How much it costs to operate the unit for one year based on average energy usage and the FTC’s effective national average energy rates
6 – Cost range of similar models – The energy cost of similar appliances from low to high efficiency.
7 – First Hour Rating (FHR) – The amount of hot water your water heater will supply per hour, starting with a full tank of hot water.
8 – Usage bins (very small, low, medium, high) – The four categories of daily hot water usage in gallons. A water heater is assigned a UEF within its bin based upon its first hour rating. A higher UEF means the water heater is more energy efficient and will cost less to operate than other water heaters in the same bin.
9 – Your cost will depend on your utility rates and use – A reminder that the numbers in the label are estimates and may not reflect your specific household’s usage in your area.
10 – Cost range based only on models fueled by electricity with a high first hour rating (75 gallons or more) – The label only compares water heaters in the same category (in this case, electric units that produce high amounts of hot water).
11 – Estimated energy cost based on a national average Electric cost of $.14 per kWh – The cost shown is calculated using the 2023 updated unit cost for electricity.
12 – Estimated yearly energy use: 1224 kWh – The amount of electricity the unit approximately uses in a year.
Energy Rate Resources
For more control of your energy usage decisions, reference the following resources:
- Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) Directory is the center for AHRI-certified product listings. You can look up your current or desired water heater to learn more about it and get a copy of its EnergyGuide label.
- The Energy Information Administration (EIA) posts a log of electricity average price by state. This will help you get a better idea of what energy rates are like in your area, not just nationally.
Making the Right Energy Decisions
Understanding energy costs and product energy usage can help you reduce your total energy consumption and bills. Now that you’ve learned how to read an EnergyGuide label, you’ll know how to choose energy-efficient appliances in the future.
Make Sure You Schedule Annual Maintenance
Annual professional maintenance is recommended for your water heater to maintain a comfortable home. Find a professional Rheem plumber or contractor near you:
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