Home · Blog · Updates : New Water Heater Regulations: What You Need to Know

In 1987, Congress enacted the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) as a way of regulating energy consumption of specific household appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, TVs, air conditioners, dishwashers, ovens and the ever-important water heaters. The idea was to create mandatory standards ensuring that manufacturers would build energy-efficient products within a certain range of capability. To this point, the Act has helped Americans save billions collectively on their electric bills and also has helped the environment by reducing the number of pollutants emitted by fossil fuels used for electricity. Since 2005, not much has changed in the way of the NAECA, but this year there are some updates being put into action that will affect not only the manufacturers and retailers, but also the homeowners. On April 16, a new set of requirements for the energy factor (EF) of water heaters will be put into place. The new regulations will require higher EF ratings on nearly all water heaters—residential gas, electric, oil—forcing major adjustments in the industry, but also saving even more dollars and pollutants in the long run. So, how does this affect you as a home or business owner? We’ll break it down for you:

• First, you will still be able to buy and install existing models that don’t meet the new EF regulations until April 16—and even after, while supplies last. Once they’re gone, though, they’re gone.

• Second, while the new water heaters will be more expensive (sorry), they will save you money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the new standards will save enough energy to result in roughly $63 billion in energy bill savings over the next 30 years!

• Regarding the heaters themselves, the smaller 20-55 gallon models will be slightly larger with an additional 2” added to each dimension. In most cases, the additional size won’t cause a major problem, as the existing spaces are usually large enough for the new models. However, it’s good to be aware that it is a possibility that your water heater’s location may have to be moved.

• The larger models (more than 55 gallons) will require specific installation and may require changes to your existing technology, both of which will result in additional expenses. (Again, sorry.) For example, gas-fired products over 55 gallons (≤75,000 BTU/Hr.) will likely require fully condensing combustion technology, which means that line voltage and a means for condensate disposal will need to be available. Similar situations may result with other models, as well.

• Builders and contractors will need to be aware of the new sizes and the necessary venting, power and condensate removal needs when making plans for installation. The bottom line is that change is coming, and it will have both its benefits and challenges. But we at Morgan Miller Plumbing have you covered. It’s our job to understand the rules, regulations and requirements so we can answer all of your questions and take care of business for you. If you have any questions about the new NAECA requirements and the changes coming this spring, let us know. We’ll do our best to walk you through your options and help you make a plan of action that will be as easy and painless as possible and will end with excellent results.

Contact us today! In Missouri, call (816) 765-4843, and in Kansas call (913) 642-8440, or visit our contact page.

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