The picture above shows some of the water heaters we replaced last week. Why do we have a picture of used water heaters on our blog? Well…it is a good reminder that new federal Department of Energy mandates are going into effect soon. April of 2015 to be exact. That is less than 4 months away! After April the companies that make water heaters will no longer be able to make or sell water heaters that do not meet the new DOE standards.
What does that mean for you? It means that after April next year you are going to spend a lot more of your hard earned money to replace a hot water heater. The new standards set forth by the Department of Energy require the water heater makers to increase efficiency of electric heaters by 47% and gas heaters by 30%. For smaller heaters (40 & 50 gallon) they can meet the standard by adding insulation. This will make the heaters taller and wider. This should not be too much of a concern unless your current heater is in a tight place like a mechanical room or closet.
Larger heaters is where it gets real tricky. Some sizes will be discontinued because there is no cost effective way to meet the standard. Large electric heaters are going to become heat pump heaters, and gas heaters are going to become combustion style heaters. You are going to see more dual fuel type heaters and more instantaneous heaters.
The re-design and assembly line re-tooling costs are all going to be passed on to the consumers by the manufacturer. We have been told to expect a 30% – 40% price increase on heaters in the next few months. The new designs are going to require some re-design and re-piping when a plumber replaces an old style heater. Some large heaters may even require replacing the old large heater with two smaller heaters to get the type of hot water you are used to.
We posted this picture to remind you to take care of your heater and get as much time out of it as you can. Some of the heaters in the picture are only 7-8 years old, and some of them are over 15 years old. The BEST way to prolong the life of your water heater is to drain it yearly to flush out the sediment that builds up in the bottom of the tank. Another good tip is to make sure your water is not too hard, and if it is, make sure you take steps to bring that hardness down with a water softener or a scale prevention system.
If you find that you need to replace your heater it is even more important than ever before to make sure that you call a licensed plumber to do that install. A licensed plumber will know about the new standards, will be trained on the proper ways to size and install a new heater and will be able to offer you some options. The old days of just putting back what was there are over and you really need a trained professional to do that install because it will save you headaches, time and money in the long run. All of our plumbers are licensed and we have already started training on the changes that are coming in the next few months. So for all of your water heater needs make the BEST choice and choose BEST Plumbing!
If you go to the Department of Energy website at www.energy.gov it will give you more information on the new standards and some great tips on water heaters. If you have any questions about the new standards and how they may affect you please call us at 513-793-BEST and also check out our coupons page…there is a $100 off coupon on there for any water heater replacement.