Major changes are coming for water heaters. On April 16, 2015, updates to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) will take effect. These new requirements mandate higher energy factor ratings on most gas, electric, and oil water heaters. Here are some common questions and answers, including what the new standards could mean for your home and wallet.
Q: Why are these new government mandates going into effect?
A: According to the Department of Energy, water heating can account for about 12% of your utility bill. These new guidelines are designed to make water heaters more efficient and help conserve energy.
Q: How will this affect prices for a new hot water heater?
A: According to Dave Borowski, Director of Technical Training for Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, there is a grace period to get rid of all existing inventory. Supply and demand could keep prices stable until that inventory is gone. Higher costs could be passed on to consumers who purchase the newest models.
Q: Will homeowners with existing, older water heaters be forced to purchase new water heaters?
A: No, parts will still be available. If repair costs are prohibitive, new replacement water heaters with a new warranty could be a better option.
Q: Any tips for homeowners who want to upgrade or convert their old hot water heater?
A: This is not a Do-It-Yourself project. A trusted, licensed, plumbing professional can answer your questions and provide the best options for your budget and needs. If your water heater is older, you can still upgrade to a newer, more efficient water heater that was made before the new April 16, 2015 requirements. This could help save some money on future utility bills.
Keep in mind: The newer water heaters are expected to be larger and require more space for installation. They may also require additional retrofitting to work with your existing plumbing. Regular maintenance on all your plumbing is essential. Maintenance can help ensure your plumbing is operating at peak performance and protect your investment. For more information, contact your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.