Everybody knows what happens on April 15th, but do you know what changes on the 16th this year?
April 7th, 2015 by Tevis Propane
The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), approved by Congress and administered by the US Department of Energy (DOE), has put forth new regulations requiring that water heaters produced after April 16, 2015 must conform to new energy efficiency standards. These translate to a mandatory increase of 3% – 30% greater efficiency vs. current models, and apply to all types – gas-fired, oil-fired, electric, tabletop, instantaneous gas-fired and instantaneous electric. The efficiency amount varies by tank size, based on approved formulas.
What does this mean for you?
The regulation going into effect April 15, 2015 applies to the manufacture of water heaters after this date. Homeowners can still purchase pre-April 15th products. If your water heater is approaching 10 years old, you might want to consider replacing it anyway. While buying an older model will undoubtedly be cheaper (estimates vary widely, but anticipate at least a $100 jump for the newer units), remember that it will be less efficient than the newer units and cost more to operate over time.
If you have a tankless water heater with an efficiency rating above .82, your water heater already complies!
The good news:
- You save on energy costs – DOE says consumers will save up to $10 Billion over 30 years
- The environment benefits – 164 million metric tons of Carbon Dioxide will NOT be released into the air we breathe
- This will “enhance our energy security for decades to come,” according to DOE Secretary Steven Chu
Things to consider:
- Standard water heater tanks last around 8-10 years. If you are thinking it’s time to replace, or if you have an older tank located in a tight closet, it’s probably better doing it sooner than later.
- Fitting the unit in your house.Unlike the new light bulbs that fit in the same sockets as incandescent ones, the new tanks are not going to be the same size. Tanks will be taller and wider by about 2 inches wider. If you have a tight closet or a small door, you may have to take off door jambs to bring it in.
- Custom installation solutions may be needed.To fit units in some homes may require creative planning on the part of your installer, or even relocating the unit altogether.
- Manufacturer price increase.All of the manufacturers will have to re-tool production lines, and this is expensive. Combine that with increased materials cost from adding more insulation to tanks and retail prices will increase.
Three choices for replacement:
- Upgrade to tank water heaters that already qualify at the new energy efficiency levels.
- Replace with your same tank style and size while still available.
- Consider a move to a tankless water heater.
You can check out the regulation efficiency numbers here: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/product.aspx/productid/27
Propane is one of the most cost-efficient ways to heat water for domestic use (showers, laundry, dishes, etc.). It’s very effective at heating water and keeping it hot, making operating costs much lower than that of electricity.
Let our experts advise you on the best energy saving solutions for your home! Modern Comfort Systems, part of the Tevis Family of Companies, carries a full line of Rennai tankless propane-powered water heaters. And if you don’t already have a propane tank system for your home, Tevis Propane provides free on-site installation estimates, and can help you create a plan for the many clean and energy-efficient ways propane can be used in your home!
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