Under federal law, water heaters must be more energy efficient starting Thursday, April 16. One major challenge for homeowners, however, is tight spaces.
WASHINGTON – April 15, 2015 – Under federal law, water heaters must be more energy efficient starting Thursday, April 16.
Financially, the change is good news for homeowners. Energy efficiency on most heaters (55 gallons or less) will increase an average 4 percent. But some units, generally larger ones, could see gains of 25 to 50 percent, which is a significant reduction since hot water usually makes up about 20 percent of a home's energy costs, according to Consumer Reports.
One major challenge for homeowners, however, is tight spaces. To increase energy efficiency, most standard-sized water heaters will add more insulation. And that, in turn, makes them bigger and taller. As a result, they might not fit into existing water-heater spaces in homes that have the unit inside a narrow door or small closet.
Customers facing the size challenge have a few options, however, such as choosing a smaller tank size or a model that's a bit taller but no wider. In some drastic situations, they may have to consider changing the water heater's location.
Larger water heaters
For units that hold more than 55 gallons, the new federal rules become more complicated. While these units will generally generate greater savings on energy bills, the style of system might also have to change. Possible options include electric heat pumps or gas condensing technology.
As a result of the new rules, water heater manufacturers are updating product lines and, in some cases, discontinuing certain models.
For more information on the new rules, visit the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) website.
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