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Frequently asked questions

How can I tell if my water heater needs replacing or repairing?

There’s no repairing a leaky water heater. If you notice any of these signs it may be time to replace it:

  • rust build up in water heater – evidence of this will be shown by rust stains on clothes that have been washed in hot water or rust streaks in your shower
  • leaking – water may be pooling on the top around the water connections and/or under or near the heater
  • slow hot water recovery time – it takes longer to heat up water or the water doesn’t get as hot even though heat settings haven’t changed
  • rusty water – rusty water comes out of the taps
  • boiling noises – bubbling or boiling noises in your tank as the water heats up
Who do I call when my water heater fails?

Call a certified heating and plumbing contractor. You can also purchase a water heater from a retailer, but in order to qualify for the rebate the water heater must be installed by a gas contractor licensed by the Technical Safety BC. To find a contractor in your area check out our contractor directory.​

Is a tankless water heater better than a storage type model?

Storage tank water heaters are the most common type used in Canada. Depending on the age of the water heater, the efficiency of a standard gas-fired storage tank will range between an energy factor (EF) rating of 0.50 to 0.62. These systems heat and store water in a tank so that hot water is available to the home at any time. A storage tank water heater can supply simultaneous tasks such as bathing and running a dishwasher. ENERGY STAR® tankless water heaters are much more efficient than a standard storage tank, achieving EF ratings between 0.82 and 0.99. Tankless water heaters don’t store hot water and depending on your overall hot water use, they may not have the capacity to supply an entire home with hot water. Learn more about natural gas water heaters.​

What is an energy factor rating?

Natural gas water heater efficiency is usually measured by an energy factor (EF). The higher the EF rating, the more efficient the water heater.​

What is a thermal efficiency rating?

Water heaters originally designed for use in commercial applications are being seen more in residential homes. Instead of an energy factor rating, the efficiency will be labeled as a thermal efficiency (TE) rating. The higher the percentage, the more efficient the water heater.​

What’s the difference between condensing and non-condensing?

Traditionally, when natural gas is used for heating, useful energy is lost as exhaust in the vent stack. Newer condensing technology extracts as much heat as possible from the exhaust gases before they escape through the vent into the atmosphere. A condensing water heater creates condensation and therefore, requires access to a drain.

Non-condensing, high-efficiency models are slightly less efficient than condensing types, but they may be less expensive to purchase. Also, they don’t require access to a drain, so installation costs may be lower than with a condensing model.

How do I claim the rebate?

In order to qualify for your rebate, both you and the salesperson/gas contractor must complete your portions of the application in full and provide the following:

  • your FortisBC account number
  • copy of the invoice showing the purchase date
  • make and model of the qualifying water heater
  • installation permit number
  • gas contractor’s Technical Safety BC licence number

Mail to:
ENERGY STAR Water Heater Program
PO Box 9090​
Surrey, BC  V3T 5W4

Where do I get a list of qualified water heaters?

In order to be eligible for the rebate, the model you purchase must be listed on our directory of eligible water heaters. Water heaters meeting the minimum efficiency ratings identified in the program terms and conditions that are not found on our directory may still qualify as per the complete Natural Resources Canada Directory.

What happens if I purchase a water heater not found on the FortisBC directory of eligible products?

Condensing and non-condensing tankless:
Water heaters meeting the minimum efficiency ratings identified in the program terms and conditions that are not found on our directory may still qualify as per the complete Natural Resources Canada Directory.

Hybrid technology & condensing storage tanks:
A list of hybrid and condensing storage tank water heaters cannot be found on the Natural Resources Canada directory at this time. Only model numbers listed below will qualify for a rebate.
I just replaced my water heater outside the program timeline. Do I qualify for a rebate?

No. Unfortunately, any purchase made prior to the effective date of the program is not eligible for a rebate.​