On April 16, the Us Department of Energy, in coordination with the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) will be updating their minimum energy efficiency requirements for water heaters. All water heaters manufactured on or after this date will need to meet these new requirements.
What does this mean for you? Well, in addition to the increases in energy efficiency, there will also be a slight increase in the size of the unit as well as an increase in price. So, if your water heater is currently located in the garage or open basement you should have no problems with the newer size. However, installations done in closets and alcoves as well as in multi-family housing locations where space is limited may pose a problem. Also, installations where access is gained by using a narrow doorway could present further challenges. Financially, while replacement with units that adhere to the updated standards will cost more than the older models currently in use, you should compare replacement costs vs. unit performance as the increase in energy efficiency may outweigh the initial costs.
Please note that the NAECA regulation changes effective April 16, 2015, apply only to the manufacture of water heaters. We will still be able to sell and install units manufactured prior to this date while supplies last. If you are in need of a replacement (generally this should be done every 10 years), and decide that you want to install an older model for financial or size reasons, please let us know soon as we have no way of knowing when these units will no longer be available.