As part of the National Appliance and Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), the Department of Energy (DOE) will make its new energy efficiency mandates effective on April 16, 2015. The new plan will impact all household appliances manufactured for sale in the United States. This includes products such as refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes dryers, clothes washers, and residential water heaters.
The NAECA’s new standards will require nearly all electric, oil, and gas water heaters to carry higher Energy Factor (EF) ratings. The new regulation does not preclude the installation of non-compliant water heaters that are manufactured before April 16, 2015.
The New Energy Factor Standards For Water Heaters
In order to reduce home appliance energy use, conserve more natural resources, and generate substantial energy savings for homeowners, NAECA requires higher energy efficiencies – as measured by EF ratings – for almost all residential water heaters.
Electric and gas water heaters will now be grouped into two size categories (20 to 55 gallon and 55 gallon and larger) and have new EF rating requirements:
How Will The New NAECA Water Heater Efficiency Standards Affect Me?
In order to comply with the new NAECA water heater efficiency standards, manufacturers such as Bradford White will be force to alter their equipment designs. Changes will vary depending on the fuel source and volume of the water heater.
Gas model water heaters may require additional insulation, incorporate newer flue baffling technologies, incorporate electronic ignition instead of the standing pilot, or any combination of these. Electric water heaters will most likely need additional insulation to meet the federally-enforced regulations. Both gas and electric water heaters are likely to see an increase in the overall product size in order to incorporate the new technology required to meet the new standards.
For some homeowners, larger equipment may result in a relocation of their water heater during the installation process due to space restrictions in their home. An average of at least 3” of extra space around the unit is expected to be required to accommodate the newly designed equipment.
Other Potential Effects Include:
- The higher the EF rating, the more efficiently the water heater converts your power into hot water while reducing losses – and the more money you save on energy costs
- New model water heaters may come with a price increase from the manufacturer
- New model water heaters may be more complex to install
- Any current standard 55+ gallon electric water heaters will be replaced with hybrid electric heat pump water heater type designs
What Action Should I Take?
Start by considering the age of your home’s current water heater. Applewood offers warranties for an electric water heater up to 10 years. Units generally begin to show signs of significant wear after about 7 to 8 years. During this time period, the risks of malfunction, leaks, and property damage are at their greatest.
If you find that your water heater is due for a replacement, you have the following options:
- Purchase a new water heater that meets the current standards. If you make the decision soon, you may be able to install a product with a lower EF Rating and put off any changes imposed by the new NAECA standards until the next time you need to replace your water heater. This means your tank capacity, hot water usage, and installation area can remain the same.
- Upgrade to a new 2015 NAECA standards-compliant water heater. Purchasing a new compliant water heater ahead of the April 16, 2015 will allow you to take advantage of the benefits of higher efficiency equipment – such as decreased energy usage and reduced energy costs.
- Wait until after April 16, 2015 to purchase a new water heater. If you wish to keep the same capacity water heater and installation location in your home, waiting until after the April 16, 2015 deadline to purchase a new system may not be your best option. A regulations-compliant system may be a different capacity and size than your old equipment. This may result in a more difficult, and more costly installation which could include a relocation of your new system.
Contact Applewood For More Information
Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric recommends you book a consultation with one of our licensed plumbers who will answer any questions you may have about the new regulations, evaluate your current water heater and provide you with options on the next steps. Then, if you decide you want to install before the new regulations take affect we’ll reserve your water heater from our inventory. We’ve been installing water heaters for over 40 years.
Call us today at 303-328-3060 to schedule an appointment that’s convenient for you to review your options. We’ll send a licensed expert to review your unique situation and find the right solution for you and your home.