On April 16 of this year water heater manufacturing rules changed. The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) has complied with the DOE rule. The new requirements call for higher Energy Factor (EF) ratings on virtually all residential gas, electric, oil and tankless gas water heaters. The NAECA rulings are important to customers because they reduce energy usage and save money all year long. So, what does that mean for homeowners?
1) Increase in size. The new water heaters have to accommodate the higher insulation r-values (thermal resistance) which will make the water heater typically 1-2 inches taller and up to 2 inches wider. Beware – the newer heater may not fit through your folding stairway (if your heater is stored in the attic). In some cases, the water heater may have to be relocated to operate properly, or mitigate noise.
2) While the operating cost of the new heaters will be less (because of their increased energy efficiency), it is likely that the maintenance costs will increase. The new units have a more complex design, and the integration of electronics, blowers, fans, and condensers will require special care.
3) Increase in costs. The new water heaters are expected to be 20-30% higher than the price of a current water heater. In some cases, other installation costs may be required to adapt to the new water heater’s size and efficiency installation requirements.