There has been a recent change in the water heater industry that will affect manufacturers, dealers and consumers. If you haven’t heard, the U.S. Department of Energy, under the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), will require higher energy factor (EF) ratings on virtually all residential gas, electric and oil fired water heaters. Manufacturers will no longer be able to build the old water heaters after April 16, 2015. The plumbing experts at Home Comfort Experts want to make sure you’re aware of how this will affect you, the homeowner.
What Are the New Regulations?
The new regulations were put in place to lower the energy use of water heaters. To meet the requirements of energy efficiency, electric water heaters will require additional insulation and will likely utilize integrated heat pumps to meet the new EF requirements. Gas and oil powered water heaters may require additional insulation, newer flue baffling technologies, electronic ignition instead of a pilot light, or any combination of these. Adding extra insulation will cause the units to be larger in diameter, making them bigger and thus, heavier.
Larger Units Could Cause Problems for Water Heaters in Small Spaces
Because the new water heaters will be larger, if you have a water heater in your attic, a closet or other small, enclosed space, the new model may not fit where it was before. This could be a big headache if you have to remodel or move the new water heater to a different location. You could replace it with a tankless water heater, but be aware that the installation cost is higher than that of a traditional tank style water heater.
New Water Heater Prices Are Expected to Rise Significantly
These new changes will cost the manufacturers money and they will have to pass it on to the consumer. With size and weight increases, the costs of transportation, storage, and installation will also increase. And don’t forget about additional product and installation training. The manufacturers will foot the bill for that too. No one really knows, but some industry experts are predicting that when all is said and done, the new models will cost 30% to 50% more than the traditional models.
What Are Your Options?
Replace Now – Replace your old water heater now with a traditional model to save money. You will be able to purchase them until supplies run out. This is recommended if your water heater is in a place that may cause problems if a larger unit had to be installed.
Sit Tight – Don’t do anything now. Wait and buy a newer model when your water heater fails. It will cost you more, but it will also be more energy efficient, saving you money on bills in the future.
Go Tankless – Switch to a tankless water heater when your water heater breaks down. Once again, it will cost more, but will save you money because it is more energy efficient.
If you have questions about the new water heater standards, give us a call and speak with one of the plumbers at Home Comfort Experts. They’ll be happy to give you all of the details.