How the New Water Heater Efficiency Standards Affect You

Significant Changes in Energy that Affect Every Homeowner

Some things every smart homeowner knows. We know to test our smoke detectors and our air filters every month. We also know to drain our water pipes before the first freeze. But how many of us actually know that the water heater we have sitting in our basement or in a specially designed storage space are no longer being manufactured?

April 16, 2015 was a bright new day in our nation’s drive toward energy efficiency. That’s the day when the United States Department of Energy (DOE), under the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), officially implemented new Water Heater Efficiency Standards that were the most significant changes we’ve seen in the industry in 30 years. The changes dramatically enhance the Energy Factor (EF) of virtually all residential gas, electric, and oil water heaters, meaning your new compliant water heater can produce more hot water with less fuel.

What do these changes mean to us, the homeowners? First and foremost, it means the water heater we have right now before the new standards took effect are no longer being manufactured, so you won’t be able to purchase the same model again.

Typically, water heaters are designed for a 10-year span of useful life. If yours is approaching or has already passed that milestone, it’s time for a new, fully compliant and energy-efficient model. But be aware: These new units are a few inches taller and wider than your old one was, so it could be necessary to reposition or relocate the water heater. For some homeowners the changes will not create an issue. But for others, the larger, wider units will cause major headaches in that the new units may not fit in the old space meaning there could be the possibility of retrofitting or knocking down walls to fit a new unit where the old one once sat.

If your unit is approaching its 10th Anniversary, don’t wait for it to fail you. When it leaks or fails, the water damage caused by catastrophic flooding of your home would be a major, aggravating expense and headache.

A typical home’s water heater consumes about 20 percent of your entire energy budget, so these new efficiency standards are big news. A few of the benefits include:

  • Money Savings: The DOE calculates that America’s energy consumers will pocket an extra $8.7 billion in money not spent on excessive energy costs.
  • Energy Savings: The DOE estimates that about 2.6 quads, or more than 2.6 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), of energy will be saved by these standards over the next three decades.
  • Reduced Emissions: With these standards in effect, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 154 million metric tons.

Here in Northern Virginia, most of our homes are serviced by water heater units, which – once upgraded to comply with the 2015 standards – can realize around 4 percent greater efficiency, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Larger homes, office buildings and industrial complexes are typically served by bigger water heaters with tanks in excess of 55 gallons. Under the new regulations, owners of these units will enjoy between 25 and 50 percent greater efficiency.

Let’s find out how much money and energy you’ll save. Replace that old, dirty, less efficient unit with a state-of-the-art model, fully upgraded and tuned for maximum efficiency. Call Loudoun’s home services experts, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, at (571) 421-1888, and visit our Modern Mechanical website to schedule an online consultation with one of our water heater professionals.

(Facts sourced from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP))

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