2015 DOE (Department of Energy) Final Rule energy efficiency mandate (effective 4/16/15) will require higher Energy Factor (EF) rating on virtually all gas, electric, oil and tankless water heaters. Price increases of 20% or more are anticipated.
Despite the dramatic increases, this really is good news for the environment. And it's not bad news for Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania homeowners who expect to stay in their homes for many years to come. Although the cost for replacing water heaters will soon be higher, the annual energy savings will more than repay the investment.
Those who may want to consider replacement now include:
Owners of residential income properties,
Owners of properties with tight space limitations, and
Anyone who does not plan to stay in their current home for the long term.
Such owners will not likely recoup the additional investment.
Why will the new water heaters be
so much more expensive.
Impact to be greatest for owners of
55+ gallon heaters.
While the new rule does not require a specific technology, modifications will be required to meet the new standards. These will likely include additional insulation both to the tank and to required piping and fittings. In addition, gas models will likely require newer flue baffling technologies and electronic ignition in lieu of the standing pilot. Oil-fired heaters will likely require completely new combustion systems.
The new water heaters will be larger and higher. This not only may introduce challenges for some installations, but additional warehousing and shipping costs will also contribute to higher prices.
The only currently available technologies able to meet the new EF requirements are an electric heat pump water heater or a fully condensing gas burner.
These not only add to the cost of the water heater itself but also to the cost of installation. What are now one-tech jobs will soon require a 2nd hand. Gas installations will require 120 VAC service and draining systems. Space requirements will increase, or changes in venting systems will be required. New technologies may also be noisier.
Tankless units will not be affected: most current models already meet the new standard.
Given the sudden dramatic increase in restricted R-22 (Freon) refrigerant pricing in 2012, Stan predicts similar increases in water heater prices within weeks of this new mandate.