A publication of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives

Smart Connect
Home | Smart Connect | Don’t Watch Your Money Go Down the Drain

Don’t Watch Your Money Go Down the Drain

Energy-efficient water heaters are a smart investment for your home

April 2023

by Melissa Gaines, Contributing Columnist

Imagine this scenario: You wake up in the morning, determined to make today a good day. You spring out of bed, head to the bathroom, turn on the shower, step inside and get an ice-cold eye-opener — your water heater isn’t working.

Unless you’re a big fan of cold showers, a broken water heater can turn a good day bad in an instant. Major appliances tend to break down when you least expect it, and repairing or replacing them can be a real blow to your schedule, as well as your wallet.

But you can avoid a shocking shower by taking some time to plan ahead. Now may be a great time to consider upgrading your water heater. There are many energy-efficient options on the market that will warm you up in no time, while also being kind to your budget in the long term.


One way to ensure you are saving as much energy — and money — as possible is to look for the Energy Star label.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Star program and its partners work together to save consumers money on energy expenses while also protecting the environment. Products bearing the Energy Star label have been independently certified to meet strict EPA standards for energy efficiency. The more efficient an appliance is, the less expensive it is to operate and the better it is for the environment.

According to its website, since 1992 the Energy Star program has helped save 5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, $500 billion in energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 4 billion metric tons. You can learn more about the Energy Star program at energystar.gov.


A heat pump water heater can help reduce your energy usage. While traditional water heaters use electricity to warm the entire tank of water, a heat pump water heater draws in heat from the air, warms it further, and then uses that heat to warm the water in the storage tank. This process saves energy and money, because the water heater doesn’t need to work as hard to generate heat. Water heaters can account for up to 20% of your entire energy bill, but by using a heat pump water heater, you can expect to save money each year.


Technology is ever-evolving, and major household appliances have not been left behind. Much like smart refrigerators and washing machines, some water heaters are Wi-Fi enabled and use apps to let users monitor their usage and control settings. For example, what if your smart water heater springs a leak while you’re out of town? No problem, the app will alert you and will even shut off the water supply to prevent further damage. Smart water heaters also allow you to remotely manage other functions like setting the temperature and enabling a child safety lock mode.

For more, visit ee.odec.com/water-heating