According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, consumers should be on the lookout for the impacts of new federal regulations regarding water heaters. In an effort to make homes run more sustainably, President Obama authorized new rules regarding the minimum performance efficiency of water heaters currently on the market. These regulations take into full effect in April, meaning that manufacturers will no longer be able to sell water heaters below a certain efficiency performance.
For some companies, especially those that manufacturer highly efficient electric tankless water heaters, these efficiency standards won't have any impact at all – these models are already well above the standards mandated by the new water heater rules. By taking a closer look at these design changes, homeowners can determine the best course of action for their next water heater replacement.
Fitting new models presents space challenges
Consumer resource Angie's List pointed out that one of the biggest problem that homeowners will face due to new efficiency regulations is the size changes impacting most standard style heaters, said ABC News. Water tanks will grow in height and diameter to account for efficiency upgrades, and storage tanks over 55 gallons will need to be equipped with additional heat pump accessories.
Most current water heaters are tucked into tight spaces in small closets and garages – fitting larger models into these spaces may prove to be impossible. In cases like these, consumers should consider going tankless. Electric models are designed to take up a fraction of the space consumed by traditional heaters, and this compact size will make an even bigger difference as traditional models become larger across the board.
In addition to space challenges, the increase in water heater sizes may present additional problems for a homeowner's pocketbook as well. As water heaters become larger and heavier, the extra effort needed to transport and install these new models will translate to larger labor costs on the final bill. This extra expense is another reason that homeowners may consider the benefits of going tankless 2015.
Phase out of larger models inspires the need for new solutions
In an interview with the Sequim Gazette, local Sequim contractors Judy Kimler and Karen Lewis noted that new regulations would be phasing out water heaters with tanks between 65 and 80 gallons completely. As a result, homeowners with water heaters of this size will need to figure out a new way to heat their plumbing. Tankless water heaters would come in hand in this scenario as well – by strategically placing tankless models near points of use, the electric heaters can be used as energy-efficient temperature boosters. Get in touch with a tankless professional for more tips on mixing water heating technology.
"Water heater redesigns force homeowners to face the uncertainty that comes with testing out new technology."
Untested models could deliver inconsistent performance
Unfortunately, homeowners might have to wrestle with the uncertainty that comes with testing out new technology when they upgrade their water heaters after April. With new regulations come an initial wave of new models designed to meet these models. However, without enough time to perform extensive field tests in people's homes, companies have limited reference for determining the actual operating life of their new models. Likewise, unrecognized defects could subject consumers to extra costs or recall hassles. Going tankless with a proven electric model is a great choice for consumers who feel wary of trusting their water heating to untested technology. Instead, homeowners can invest in a proven solution from an experienced tankless installer.