Thanksgiving Plumbing Tips

In 2015, government mandated regulations on virtually ALL residential water heaters, requiring them to have higher energy efficiency ratings.

What does this mean?

Any new water heaters manufactured after April 16, 2015 must meet the new regulations. Some models will no longer be manufactured, and existing models will need to be altered to meet the minimum energy efficiency requirements. Many units will increase in size because they will require more insulation, and other units will have new technology. Basically, water heaters as we know them will be entirely different. Costs are expected to increase for both material and installation of these new water heaters. Installations will most likely require additional training for plumbers, thus making it more difficult for the do-it-yourself homeowners. This law affects only the manufacturing of new water heaters, any remaining inventory is still allowed to be sold and installed, so there may be a lag in time on when this actually starts affecting consumers.

What does this mean for you?

These new regulations mean increased costs, completely different water heater options than in the past, and units that are 2” larger (or more) in height and/or diameter. With the increase in size, this is particularly an issue for condo buildings and apartments that frequently have water heaters installed in tight spaces under the counter, or in a closet. In addition to issues with doorway access – homes with water heaters in tight places may need to relocate the water heater, or downgrade to a smaller size. For individuals with gas water heaters (which are also expected to increase in size), tank-less water heaters may become a more viable option due to space constraints. If you are considering replacing your water heater in the near future, it’s important to take these changes into consideration now, before the new changes take effect.