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How the new Water Heater Regulations will effect homeowners

By now, we are sure you are aware of the new Water Heater Regulations, but, as with anything new, it is good to have additional information and perspectives.

As early as April 2 nd, supply houses were running low or out of older water heaters as they were being bought up in the typical supply vs. demand economic theory. The new water heater regulations will drive up the cost of water heaters. Period. Early estimates are predicting the increase to be between 8-12%.

The new appliances are higher efficiency and therefore more pricey both to install and to repair. They typically also tend to be larger units, which could cause installation issues, and/or the smaller units could produce less capacity. New heaters will require at least 3” of extra space around the unit and this is particularly troublesome for areas with size restrictions, such as condos and apartments.

This is causing some people to snatch up the older models in order to avoid or delay those down sides. Plumbers, contractors, builders, property managers and homeowners are capitalizing on that fact.

The new water heater efficiency standards state effective April 16, 2015, all household appliances manufactured for sale in the US must meet certain energy efficiency levels. This new rule, however, does not preclude installation of non-compliant products manufactured before April 16, 2015. The updates will require nearly all residential electric, oil and tankless water heaters to carry higher EF (Energy Factor) ratings.

These new regulations will result in a few options to consider:

  1. Jump on the bandwagon

You may still be able to secure an older model water heater and “buy” yourself more time before needing to make the adjustment. However, before the useful time of the water heater has expired, you may be facing a problem with getting replacement or service parts as those will no longer be manufactured.

  1. Be a trendsetter

You may be able to get an early jump on the higher efficiency water heaters before prices are raised because of demand. Once people require water heaters due to water heater failure, they will have little options but to purchase the newer systems. Take advantage of new technology by considering Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters. These heaters won’t reduce output capacity and models are already being designed to address the space issues.

  1. Cross your fingers and wait

Your current water heater may keep ticking right into the next round of regulations, model improvements or energy rating standards. The standard warranty for an electric water heater is 6 years, but we have heard of water heaters lasting 16 years. This is especially true of high quality brands. The risk you run here is that leaks and flooding that come as a result of water heater failure can create costly water damage to property.

To discuss the new water heater regulations or to get pricing for budget consideration, contact a local licensed plumber who specializes in a variety of water heater options. For property management of multi-unit properties, consider an action plan that budgets replacement of all energy efficient appliances in phases.

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