Water Heater Changes and Energy Compliance

March 03, 2015 9:58 PM | Brian Jones (Administrator)

Water Heater Changes and Energy Compliance

Changes are in the works regarding size and installation requirements for many water heaters. These changes are the result of new federal energy-efficiency standards going into effect for those appliances manufactured after April 15. 

The changes will affect nearly all types of water heaters being produced, but the changes depend on the size of the water heater and what the manufacturer chooses to do. 

Smaller water heaters of 55 gallons and less, the most commonly used, may see an increase in size – perhaps 1-2 inches taller or wider – to account for the additional insulation necessary to make the higher efficiency. These increased dimensions may require additional installation clearances and may not work for closet installation replacements. 

However, some manufacturers may choose to adjust the capacity of some of their tanks to make sure they can still fit where the older models did, even if they hold 2-3 gallons less. 

The standards will have their biggest impact on the design and installation of gas and electric heaters larger than 55 gallons in capacity – about 10% of the residential water heater market. For these larger units, electric water heaters must use a heat-pump design and gas water heaters will need to be a condensing combustion type to meet the new efficiency requirements. You can read a more detailed explanation at nahb.org/waterheaters, and as NAHB learns more about the changes, the page will be updated. 

Manufacturers are now beginning to get the word out on impending changes. Your members should contact their sale representatives, suppliers or plumbing subcontractors to discuss the best solution for their projects. 

For additional information, contact Don Surrena at 800-368-5242 x8574.

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