In 2010, the US Department of Energy issued Final Rule energy efficiency mandates as part of the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act; these are new requirements that will go into effect on April 16, 2015.
The requirements will have significant changes to water heaters and the energy factor that they produce. Almost all residential gas, electric and oil water heaters will be affected by this new legislation, as well as some light-duty commercial water heaters. An energy factor is an indicator of the water heater’s whole energy efficiency. This factor is based on how much of the energy a water heater uses goes directly into heating the actual water. It also factors in the amount of heat lost per hour from the stored water and how much heat is lost when the water circulates through the tank and pipes. Raising the energy factor will make water heaters more energy efficient, which will allow for more savings on energy bills. The new requirements for electric water heaters with a gallon size from 20-55 will be a .95 efficiency and water heaters with a gallon size greater than 55 could be anywhere from 1.92-1.98 efficiency. For gas water heaters, the new requirements vary by gallon size of the tank and could range anywhere from .60 to .82 efficiency.
Knowing the new requirements is good, but understanding how this affects you as a homeowner is even better. Your current water heater does not need to be replaced with a new heater that abides by the requirements, unless it is being replaced. Even so, all water heaters that have been manufactured before the date of April 16, 2015 and do not meet the NAECA 2015 standards are still allowed to be sold and purchased after the 2015 new requirement date. That means that you may still be able to purchase a water heater that does not meet the NAECA standards after April 16. Even though these non-compliant models will be available to purchase and install, it may be more beneficial in long-term for savings with a higher-efficiency model.
These energy-efficiency changes created some differences in the size and shape of the new compliant models. New products could differ in size due to the added insulation that affects the energy factor, which would result in a wider diameter and height difference. If your water heater is placed in a tight area or in a type of enclosure, you may have to adjust the gallon size in order to get a tank that fits in the space or move the location of your water heater.
If you believe your water heater is in need of repair or replacement, give us a call today. Our skilled and experienced plumbers will have the answers to all your NAECA new requirement questions and any other water heater and plumbing concerns. Let us get the job done right, 800-444-0551.