New federal regulations hit April 2015
As part of the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued updated efficiency mandates in 2010 that take effect April 16, 2015. The new U.S. Department of Energy efficiency mandates will require higher Energy Factor (EF) ratings on most all residential gas, electric, oil tank water heaters and tankless gas water heaters. The changes will have an impact not only on how they will need to be manufactured, but also how and where they can be installed.
The new high-efficiency models could present an issue for homes with water heaters in small utility closets or other tight spaces because the new water heaters will be taller and larger in diameter. That means some homeowners may have to make structural modifications to their home in order for the new water heater to fit. Structural modifications, of course, cost money.
In addition, newer models likely will cost more because they are more complex. Electric 55-gallon units will likely utilize heat pump technology, for example. Just how much more, is really unknown at this point. This will likely depend on the type and size of water heater.
On the other hand, the energy savings from the new technology are expected to be dramatic and can help offset some of the product and installation costs.
Homeowners considering the purchase of a new water heater have two choices. Buy a new water heater now and save a little bit more on the up-front costs, or purchase a newer, costlier model that offers much greater energy efficiency.
Bottom line: If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it may be time to consider purchasing a new unit. Know your options.
At the very least, you should get your current unit inspected by a Crystal Blue Plumbing water heater professional.