On April 16, 2015, there will be significant updates to water heater energy factor (EF) requirements as the result of updates to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA). These new requirements call for higher Energy Factor (EF) ratings on virtually all residential gas, electric, oil and tank-less gas water heaters to help reduce energy usage.
Unfortunately, this also means additional headaches for consumers and contractors alike. The major changes after April 16 affect the larger water heaters over 55 gallons. Both gas and electric water heaters over 55 gallons will see drastic modifications in order to meet the strict energy efficiency guidelines. All heaters will become larger and heavier to accommodate additional insulation, controls and other requirements.
The larger electric units will now include “heat pump technology” similar to that in an HVAC system. As a result of this technology, these units will require additional space, they will add cold air to the space as a result of the heat transfer process, require regular maintenance like a standard heat pump and be noisier than a traditional electric water heater. In some cases, the space that an existing heater currently resides may not be sufficient.
Most customers and contractors are not prepared for these looming changes. According to the code office, they will not be requiring these new units be installed until they are mandated by the state and that is not currently on the docket. However, the costs for the new units will be substantially more expensive than most customers are used to paying and traditional water heaters costs will increase as current inventories dwindle. If you have one that is nearing the end of its useful life, you may want to consider replacing it prior to the anticipated rise in costs.
Contact The Good Guys for an assessment of your current water heater situation and for pricing comparisons to help you make an educated decision. Call us at 814-238-8180 or email to [email protected].