Growing environmental concerns have led the Department of Energy (DoE) to re-evaluate many of the materials being used for a variety of home appliances and systems, as well as the manufacturing processes of these items. The result has been a number of new mandates that have taken effect over the last decade, and the latest round is going to affect the manufacturing and production of hot water heaters. The mandates are designed to increase the energy efficiency of hot water heaters, especially storage tank hot water heaters. This is because tank water heaters have not been the most energy efficient appliances around - it's estimated that standby heat loss from tank water heaters can account for up to 30% of a water heater's total energy costs. How will this affect you? Let's take a look.
The New Mandates
While the brunt of the new mandates will mostly be felt by manufacturers, there will be some trickle-down effect for consumers. But don't worry that you have to run out and purchase a new hot water heater for your St. Charles home; the regulations pertain to all newly manufactured hot water heaters moving forward. The mandates are designed to increase the EF (energy factor) of water heaters, so the mandates can be summed up like this:
Mandated Changes for Electric Hot Water Heaters:
- Increased and improved insulation, including on valves and piping
- Mandatory heat pump technology for storage tanks over 55 gallons in size
- Improved and increased insulation
- Manufacturers can install only electronic ignition, no more standing pilots
- Condensing capability
- Re-designed baffles and dampers to make exhaust flues more effective
Mandated Changes for Combustion Hot Water Heaters:
Effect on Consumers
The way you'll see these new mandates effect you is on the purchase and installation end. Prices are likely to rise on water heaters, so if you need a new water heater in the imminent future, plan for this. Additionally, the new mandates make installation for tank water heaters more complicated, so the installation costs will most likely increase as well. However, the appliances will be much more energy efficient, so any extra costs you may incur from these mandates will be recouped in smaller energy bills.
Have questions about the new water heater regulations that are shortly going into effect? Call Lifeline Plumbing today and speak with one of our water heater experts.