I will provide some detailed information below but the long and short of it is these changes will cost us all more money, but you can save some money now by checking the date of your water heater to see if you should replace it before April and save several hundred dollars.
See one of my previous posts about finding the manufactures date aka birthdate of your water heater. Do water heaters have an expiration date?
When Bear first told me about the government changes that were going into effect this year my mind started to go crazy. So these changes will cause the good ole water heaters we know to grow in size. They have pretty much been the following size over the past 50+ years 59 ¾” tall and 18 ½” wide. Your average attic door is 22 1/2” or 25” x 54”. We still have not found out what the new dimensions will be but Bear is thinking 2 – 4” wider and 6” taller. So with those figures you can see that we may have our first issue. They may no longer fit through the attic door. Not to worry we do have ideas.
- You could relocate your water heater to another floor
- You could install a tankless water heater
- You could install a direct vent water heater
- You could install a larger attic door (the brides idea not the plumber) : )
The unfortunate thing is that we do not know what costs or measurements we are looking at yet. The manufacturers have had to retool all of the plants for these changes, we all know those costs incurred will have to be passed along to us, and then to the consumer.
Why am I brining this up in January, because you have some options to get ahead of the changes? 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.
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.
Current hot water heater tank styles can still be installed after April 16, 2015 but inventory will eventually run out. Installers and suppliers are stocking the last of the available current style tanks as we know many people will want them.
In 2015, all manufacturers of water heaters that are sold in the US must conform their equipment to new energy efficiency standards. This applies to all residential, gas, propane, and electric water heaters. Why should you care? Because water heaters won’t look the same.
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.
Water heaters produced after April 16, 2015 must conform to new energy efficiency standards. This means 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.