The federal government has imposed new water heater regulations that will hit property owners in their wallet. Starting in April 2015, all new water heaters must be anywhere from 3%-30% more energy-efficient. To comply with these new federally imposed standards, manufacturers will be forced to design new water heaters that increase the thickness of the insulation as well as adding technology to monitor the heater. It is expected that the diameter of water heaters will increase by up to 25% and/or capacity may go down by 10% to keep the size of the water heater the same.
With change over to new designs, we are expecting to see to following results:
- New production will take time to ramp up to meet these new water heater regulations. Availability of products may be a challenge through 2015 until the new designs are fully in production.
- Manufacturers and distributors have said to expect a “substantial price increase” in the new units.
- Because both the height and width may change, replacement water heaters may not fit into the space or installation previously used for old water heaters. You may need to relocate the water heater or go to a smaller unit.
- Maintenance and install costs may increase as new units will include blowers and other electronics.
Today manufacturers and retailers still have some inventory of the previous generation units. If you have a water heater that is 8 years old or more, it may be a good idea to replace it now with a previous generation unit. This will push your problems out 8-12 years until you need to worry about the new designs.