Water Heater Rules and Regulations

The federal government’s new Energy Factor requirements for water heaters take effect April 16, 2015. The good news for homeowners is that these new products will be more energy efficient, lowering operating costs. It also means that water heaters manufactured after this date may have a more sophisticated design and potentially larger size (possibly forcing a re-location in the home), making it more important than ever to hire a qualified contractor for installation. Get expert guidance from a pro. Contact us at Jim Trombly Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.

A reminder that new federal Department of Energy mandates are going into effect April of 2015. After April the manufacturers will no longer be able to make water heaters that do not meet the new DOE standards.

It means that after April 2015 (or when current stock is depleted) you are going to spend a lot more of your hard earned money to replace a water heater. The new standards set forth by the Department of Energy require the water heater makers to increase efficiency of electric heaters by 47% and gas heaters by 30%. For smaller heaters (40 & 50 gallon) they can meet the standard by adding insulation.

This will make the heaters taller and wider. This should not be too much of a concern unless your current heater is in a tight place like a mechanical room, closet or under a counter. The height of a new unit with the same gallon capacity as an existing unit may be two or more inches taller. The diameter of a new unit that has the same gallon capacity as an existing unit may be two or more inches wider For units under 55 gallons, add a minimum of three or more inches when planning the space.

Larger heaters is where it gets real tricky. Some sizes will be discontinued because there is no cost effective way to meet the standard. Large electric heaters are going to become heat pump heaters, and gas heaters are going to become combustion style heaters. You are going to see more dual fuel type heaters and more instantaneous heaters.

The re-design and assembly line re-tooling costs are all going to be passed on to the consumers by the manufacturer. We have been told to expect a 30% – 40% price increase on heaters in the next few months. The new designs are going to require some re-design and re-piping when a plumber replaces an old style heater. Some large heaters may even require replacing the old large heater with two smaller heaters to get the type of hot water you are used to.