In 2015, new laws were passed regarding the rules and regulations of hot water heaters. In an effort to become more energy efficient, the government is regulation the efficiency minimums of new hot water heaters that are being installed into homes all around the United States. You can read the fine details here if you would like to, but we want to walk you through the benefits of these new regulations, as well as how you should go about getting a new water heater.
As a result of these laws, the new standards for hot water heaters are changing, and it will benefit the environment, as well as consumers. According to The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, water heaters that are manufactured after April 16, 2015, have to meet the new energy requirements. This applies to gas, propane, oil and electric water heaters.
So what does that mean for you?
If you have an old heater this does not mean you are required to replace it. It simply means the production of some of these older, less efficient water heaters has been stopped. You don't have to replace your old one if it's still working, but if you eventually have to replace it, chances are you won't be able to get the same one.
If you ARE planning on replacing your water heater there will be different options. You will be able to select a new energy efficient heater, but you will want to make sure the size fits your home. Certain models and sizes have been discontinued due to lack of efficiency. This can be a bother if you have your water heater in a very tight space. You'll want to make sure the space you are putting the new water heater is measured, and the new system can fit in that space.
Now, these new energy efficient water heaters can cost you a few bucks up front, but in the long run, they are going to save you money. It's estimated that hot water heaters account for about 20% of your yearly energy bills, and these new efficient water heaters also will reduce that bill by about 25-50%. This is a significant decrease in energy bills. If you account for this over the span of the lifetime of your new system, it will equate to thousands in savings. You will also have an amazing new system in your home! These energy efficient water heaters not only do a better job in saving you money, but they do a better job of heating the water as well! Older water heaters can struggle to keep up with the demand and often run out of hot water. This can make for some very uncomfortable showers.
This also leads us to a different kind of water heater that is becoming more and more popular: a tankless water heater. This is a system that hangs on a wall somewhere in your home and has the water lines running through it. Instead of having a large tank in your home that stores water and keeps it hot 24/7, you will have hot water on demand with a tankless unit. The way this works is that once hot water is needed, it will run through the tankless system, and hot water will be delivered to whatever appliance that is calling for it. This can do a few things for you...
Reduced energy bills - If you aren't keeping a tank of hot water in your basement at all times, less energy is going to be used. For example, if you go an entire day without needing hot water, a tankless system will use no energy. Conversely, a traditional tank will still use energy to keep that tank of hot water ready for use. As you can see, one will use energy all the time while the other will only use energy when hot water is needed.
Don't run out of hot water - This may be the biggest advantage. If you have a traditional tank, you can easily run out of hot water, then will have to wait for the tank to refill somewhat to use it again. This is a common problem with families who all get ready in the morning, or if you have a large bathtub that takes up a lot of hot water. With a tankless system, water is heated on demand. That way, there is no lack of hot water, and no taking cold showers if you are the last family member in line.
More space - When you eliminate that large tank from your home, it gives you more room! This can help if you want to finish parts of your basement you previously saw impossible because of a tank. It also can provide more storage space with a tankless system being placed out of the way.
There you have it. The new rules and regulations for hot water heaters aren't going to make your life any harder, and in fact, will likely improve your home when you have to make a switch to a new water heater. If you have any questions about water heaters in your home, give us a call at (585) 641-3080. We'd be glad to help you out with this, or any aspect of your home comfort!