Water Heaters Are Changing Forever in April 2015!
Are you based in the USA or Canada? Then you’ll be interested to know that the National Appliance and Energy Conservation Act is going to be applied with much greater force as of 16th April 2015. First introduced in April 2010, this new initiative brought in by the Department of Energy is aiming at helping to improve energy efficiency across the two nations. The idea is that all residential electric, gas, oil and tankless water heaters will be expected to carry a higher Energy Factor rating.
This means that various installations will be required on households throughout the USA and Canada to comply with these new rules by the time they come into play next month. Now, your typical electric and gas water heaters will be broken down into two specific categories;
- 20-55 Gallons
- 55+ Gallons
Whilst the average water heater capacity sits within the 30-40 gallon range, some households might need to look at their category of water heater. So, how will these changes actually impact your own household in the near future? Can you expect to have to make any changes?
The new regulations mean that all water heater manufacturing firms are going to need to make strict changes to the layout and style of their equipment to help to benefit the overall insulation quality of the product. This means that either the diameter of the heating device will be increasing, or the capacity will be decreasing if the diameter is already sufficient. This can be as much as 10%!
Capacities already dropped for many products from 40-50g to 38-47g in the recent past, but this does mean that those who exceed specific limitations might need to look at having some changes brought in to their water heating system.
This is expected to affect all apartments and condominiums; the problem is that the majority of these buildings are built with a rigid structure and size for installing new water heating systems. This means that rather than increasing the diameter, the capacity will need to be decreased for most of these home types. This may cause significant problems in the future, as water usage habits will need to change or an ASSE approved mixing valve will have to be installed to try and maintain the current house usage rates.
AO Smith also reported that, based on the new rulings, any residential electric models that exceed 55g will need to be of a specific type. They will need to be a Hybrid Electric heat pump design, as they are the only models of this size that provide the level of quality that’s required.
One thing that will most certainly be an issue in the future is that the new regulations mean that charges will most likely be going up alongside them; it’s simply the history of the industry. Previous changes of this magnitude have seen that the pricing of the equipment you will need to buy will have increased as much as 12% in some sectors. However, it’s been reported that some NAECA compliant products will be rising to as much as 40% of their current cost – this might not be the exception, either.
This is will also cause major issues with supply and demand; with everyone in a rush to get themselves NAECA compliant there could be issues with getting the right kind of water heater that you need. You’ll need to make sure that the products you do buy to replace your old system will be NAECA compliant as it’s expected that obsolete hardware will still be on the market after the change process has actually taken place. It’s expected that large sectors of the available NAECA devices will be sold to national home firms, to make sure that new homes are instantly built as compliant to the new standards; anything left over will be sold to distribution firms and consumers depending on your luck.
For an electric tank based water heater, you want to be looking at creasing the dimensions or decreasing the overall capacity if you are over the 55g mark. Under this mark, though, you will no longer actually be available – if this is what you have, you need to find a new solution.
Gas heaters, on the other hand, will be very expensive to bring into your home; they also require significant manpower, increasing the cost further. It’s a poor choice unless your home is tapped up with a gas water heater, so unless you already have this and have the money burn you might want to look at either of the other suggestions.
The last suggestion you will have to pick from is a tankless electric water heater – this will be determined by electricity demands, though, so you might not be eligible depending on where you are based and a whole host of other factors.
What Should I Do?
Realistically, your own decisions will be factored in entirely by what you can afford. To make sure that homes are meeting the rulings effectively, you will able to choose a gas, ankles or hybrid heat pump water heater as well as the options above. As you might expect, the gas solution suffers from the same problems as above; if you need to install both, it will be simply be far too expensive. It would really be a poor financial decision unless you have no financial worries to make this decision, as the work required is simply too much.
The best option that most are finding is to go with a hybrid option instead; they are efficient at dealing with the energy in the first place, and can typically hit the energy ratings that you will need to be complying with standards. The heat pumps will work as a method to transfer the heat from one part of the home to the next, ensuring that your home will constantly stay warm and comfortable. They also retain a high level of efficiency in comparison to some of the other options, and might be the right pick for you personally.
Additionally, they tend to come with a 12-year warranty which can make them extremely effective should you need to get any problems corrected; this is roughly double the warranty of any other competitor. However, the units themselves are fairly large so you need to make sure you’ve got enough room to actually install the system in the first place.
What’s The Best System?
Whilst the choice of what system you buy is entirely up to you, we personally recommend the Rheem Prestige Series of hybrids. Not only do they produce the right level of EF level needed, but they are extremely simple to get setup and are a long-term budget solution that will keep you more than benefiting from the change for the long-term.
- Being able to hit 2.45 EF puts you well within the range of the new standards, and also ensures that you will be saving as much as $370 per year thanks to the incredibly efficiency of the unit
- Comes with a 12-year warranty as mentioned above
- Heat pumps are far more comfortable than other options; they cool the space around them by bringing out cool air, saving anything from overheating or becoming too warm
- Can work in a variety of different modes such as energy saving, heat pump online, high demand and even vacation mode to help you really shell back the costs
However, they are relatively large in size and can cause mild space concerns; make sure you speak with an expert before going ahead and making the purchase!
The Final Steps
So, now that you know what April will hold for you moving forward, what should you actually be thinking of doing? What’s the easiest way out for you?
- You could either go out and purchase a new water heater and ensure that you get another six years to get yourself in the position to afford a NAECA ready product, and you won’t need to worry about the new regulations until 2021. This lets you see how the market will develop and let you come up with a more rounded solution for dealing with the problem
- Or, you could upgrade to a new product right away that fits the NAECA standards. This means that you are done with the problem for good and whilst it can hurt you in the pocket right now, in the long-term it might be the perfect solution. You’ll also get to benefit from the excellent energy efficiency ratings that these products will carry
- Lastly, you might want to just wait it out; if you wait it out, you’ll see the best equipment coming out and seeing what is available on the market for you at the moment. As soon as the date passes, though, you no longer can choose to upgrade to a lower-rating system and get the extra six years to prepare; this can make the decision a little bit more complicated for you!
Whatever you choose to do, the options are open to you; the important thing to do is to recognize this situation, though, and start preparing for it right away. Letting things sit and fester won’t get you anywhere and will probably leave you with a bit of a problem later on down the line.