The White House yesterday chose to stick with rules approved by the Clinton administration requiring more efficient clothes washers and hot water heaters. The regulation for clothes washers, which was supported by manufacturers, will boost efficiency by 22 percent by 2004 and 35 percent by 2007. Efficiency will be increased by 8 percent for gas water heaters and 4 percent for electric water heaters, beginning in 2004. But the Bush administration has delayed a decision on air-conditioner efficiency, which would produce far greater energy savings, particularly during crunch times for the energy grid. Manufacturers generally oppose the air-conditioning rule, which would boost efficiency by 30 percent by 2006.