Hot Water Heating Costs: Selecting A hot Water Tank

Canadians are big users of hot water

Canadians use an average of 75L of hot water each at home every day—for washing dishes and clothing, cleaning and personal hygiene. For the average family, that adds up!



Water heaters account for 17 percent of the energy consumed in the average Canadian home. That share can vary from 15 to 25 percent depending on the house type, number of inhabitants and their lifestyle habits.


Consumers enjoy greater efficiency and more choices

Manufacturers are making more efficient models of water heaters, due to Canadians’ desire to save energy and money, and to comply with Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations.

Canadians can choose from various types of water heaters— storage tank, tankless, combination, solar, and heat pumps—and different energy sources, e.g., oil, gas, propane, electricity or the sun.


You can reduce your hot water costs by

  • installing a more efficient water heater, especially ENERGY STAR ® qualified models
  • improving the performance of your existing water heater
  • reducing the amount of hot water that you and your family use
  • installing a drain water heat recovery (DWHR) device to reduce your water heating load.


Always consider the “second price tag”

An energy-using product’s first price tag—the sticker price—is obvious. Smart consumers also consider the “second price tag”: the cost of operating the product over its lifetime.

For example, take an electric storage water heater that costs $700 to purchase and install. If electricity costs 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and your family uses 225 litres (L) (50 Canadian gallons / 60 U.S. gallons) of hot water per day over a 10-year period, your energy costs will be about seven times the cost of the equipment.


When shopping for a water heater, think about:

  • the size and type of unit to meet your needs
  • the energy source and the associated venting requirements
  • purchase or rental costs, installation, maintenance and future fuel costs


Measuring energy performance

Gas- and oil-fired water heaters (storage tank and tankless) are rated for energy efficiency using a measure called the energy factor (EF). The higher the EF, the higher the efficiency.

Electric water heaters are rated in terms of standby loss measured in watts. The lower the standby loss, the higher the efficiency.


There is also a performance measure called First-Hour Rating (FHR) for storage, condensing and heat pump water heaters. For tankless water heaters, the rating used is Litres per minute (LPM).


Tools you can use

  • Natural Resources Canada promotes energy-efficient water heaters with three tools:
  • Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations , which set minimum energy performance standards
  • the voluntary EnerGuide label for storage tank water heaters, which shows how much energy a specific model uses
  • the ENERGY STAR ® symbol , which identifies high efficiency models
  • Each product profile in the Water Heaters section of this Web site describes how these tools apply to that product.

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The ENERGY STAR name and symbol are administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada and are registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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