Updates under the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) will be creating some new restraints for water heater usage. Specifically, there will be significant change to the water heater energy factor (EF) requirements. When is all this change coming? Sooner than you may expect. On April 16, 2015, the new regulations will begin to be enforced.
Under the new requirements, all types of water heater appliances will need to have a higher energy factor (EF) rating. This includes residential gas, oil, and electric water heaters. This move will dynamically change the water heater industry as we all know it. The NAECA will also enforce some regulations on light-duty commercial water heaters, though the focus is on residential.
How do the NAECA rulings impact customers?
Are you a consumer wondering how these changes may impact your home plumbing system? Overall, the new regulations will be positive for your situation. If you get a new one installed or get maintenance work done, you may have a new NAECA water heater put in. This means you will have a water heater that works more efficiently and uses less energy, putting money back into your pocket.
The U.S. Department of Energy believes that the new mandatory standards will be able to save so much energy that a whopping $63 billion in reduced energy bills will result for all products installed from 2015 to 2044.
How do the NAECA rulings impact plumbers?
As a plumber, you need to know how energy factor (EF) is calculated in the first place to ensure that you are properly prepared for the new regulations. The EF is the indication of a water heater’s total energy efficiency and is based on how much hot water is produced per unit of fuel used throughout the day. The higher the EF is, the more efficient and cost-savings a product is.
There are three main ways the EF can be measured:
- Reviewing how efficiently it can transfer heat to water
- Determining how much heat loss occurs over in an hour from stored water (storage tank heaters only)
- Assessing the loss of heat as the water circulates through the tank or inlet and outlet pipes
Overall, the new regulations will ultimately lead to new technologies and developments. This means you should find time to attend wholesaler or manufacturer training when offered or review new updates as they come along. Also, many of the newly approved products will be larger in size and weight than former water heater models, meaning you will need to determine how to best install and transport them. This may require additional construction or plumbing work for homeowners who simply do not have the space.
If a customer can’t afford to or doesn’t have the right space to replace their existing water heater with a new model, you will need to be prepared to provide them with further direction on their options. Furthermore, NAECA products may require additional electrical feed, condensate disposal, and venting. While these factors didn’t exist before, it is good to remain on top of them now so that you are fully prepared.