Custom Air and PlumbingWhether you are renovating your home, or just looking at options for a new water heater, the 2015 regulations are important to know so you can have an educated conversation with your plumbing contractor.

Water heaters are evaluated by the efficiency factor (EF) rating, prominently displayed on the unit’s yellow Energy Guide sticker. Efficiency factor is a decimal figure that represents the total amount of energy consumed versus the amount that actually contributes to heating water. Aspects that influence the EF rating for a given heater include the efficiency of the burner and heat exchanger, as well as how rapidly the tank loses heat while the water heater is on standby.

As of April 16, the minimum EF rating for gas-fired heaters will increase to 0.675. For electric models, the minimum EF will be raised to 0.96. Tankless or “on demand” heaters have a new standard as well, with the minimum now set at 0.82 and 0.93 for gas and electric models, respectively.

Changes Due to New Water Heater Standards

Consumers shopping for a new heater can expect these changes:

  • Prices for new heaters will generally increase. Overall, expected increases may average up to 35 percent.
  • Installation of a new water heater may be more complex. Due to increased tank insulation required to meet the higher EF standards, new models are physically larger than the units they will be replacing. In some cases, alterations to the installation closet or other location will be necessary to accommodate the new unit.
  • Actual tank volume will decrease slightly in new water heaters. For example, the previous standard 50-gallon tank will now contain 46 gallons, while the 40-gallon residential standard is reduced to 36 gallons.
  • Standard-efficiency residential heaters will no longer be available in tank volumes above 50 gallons.

Learn more about new water heater standards and water heater options available from Custom Air & Plumbing, or give us a call at 888-856-4507 to schedule an appointment.