What You Need To Know About New Water Heaters

Water Heaters Energy Usage

Water heating is typically the second largest energy use in a home, after heating and cooling, and can account for 14%-25% of household energy consumption. In the United States energy consumed by residential water heaters accounts for 11% of the electricity and 24% of the natural gas consumed in the residential sector. However, residential hot water use is variable and depends on the number of people in the household, the type of appliances, and the climate in which the house is located.

New NAECA Energy Standards 

Who made the new rulings?

The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) was approved by Congress and is administered by the US Department of Energy (DOE). This is the same organization that oversees the EnergyStar program. That translates to: this is serious business and a real change for all water heaters sold in the US.

What are the new water heater regulations?

Water heaters produced after April 16, 2015 must conform to new energy efficiency standards. These translate to a mandatory increase of 3% – 30% greater efficiency vs. current models. The amount varies by tank size based on formulas. The larger the tank, the more the efficiency is required. The gains in efficiency are small, but given that the vast majority of homes in America have a water heater; small can add up to big savings for the environment.

How does this affect me?

If you have a tankless water heater with an efficiency rating above .82, (all tankless heaters that we sell meet this standard), good news, your water heateralready complies. However if you are in one of the many homes, condos and apartments with a standard tank water heater – please read on!

In order to gain the efficiency, manufacturers will be adding additional insulation to water heater tanks. This will impact you as follows:

  1. Fitting it in your house.Unlike the new light bulbs that fit in the same sockets as incandescent ones, the new tanks are not going to be the same size. The new dimensions of water heaters are indeed taller and wider (about 2 inches wider). If you have a tight closet or a small door, you may have to relocate your water heater, or take off door jambs to bring it in. And sorry, we (or any installer) would have to charge for that if we did it. There will also be new and larger venting required for some gas water heaters.
  2. Manufacturer price increase.All of the manufacturers will have to re-tool production lines, and this is expensive. Combine that with increased materials cost from adding more insulation to tanks and we anticipate retail price increases in the range of $50-100.
  3. Custom install solutions needed.To fit some homes and apartments may require creative planning on the part of your installer. For example: If a 50 gallon tank won’t fit, a 40 gallon tank with an added mixing valve may produce the hot water you need. Fortunately our team has the experience to do that.
  4. Some larger sized tanks may be discontinued. If you have a large size electric tank (66 or 80 gallon) or 75 gallon gas water heater, some of these are being discontinued. There is an option for a Hybrid (Heat Pump) WaterHeater that will have the larger storage but is more expensive.

What can I do right now?

Standard water heater tanks last around 8-10 years. If you are thinking it’s time to replace or if you have an older tank located in a tight closet (hello condo & apartment dwellers!), we recommend doing it sooner than later.

New Heater Diminsions

 

 

 

Three choices for replacement

  1. Upgrade to tank water heaters that already qualify at the new energy efficiency levels, (gas or propane).
  2. Replace with your same tank style and size while still available. We purchased a lot of old style water heaters when our manufacturer closed them out and do have a variety of different styles.
  3. Consider a move to a tankless water heater.

For gas water heaters, models are available today that meet and actually exceed the new standards. Tankless water heaters are an available option as they run on gas or propane and meet the new energy standards. We also carry super efficient hybrid tanks, for example, U.S. Craftmaster Hybrid Electric Heat PumpWater Heaters. They are Energystar rated and exceed the new efficiency standards, saving you even more on your water heating costs. This type of water heater costs a bit more than today’s standard water heater, but you can save a lot in energy cost.

Heat Pump Water Heater

Current hot water heater tank styles can still be installed after April 16, 2015 but inventory will eventually run out. We are stocking the last of the available current style tanks but many people will want them so supplies may not last long.

 

Source: http://www.washingtonenergy.com/articles-tips/2015-government-changes-water-heaters-will-affect