Federal Regulations Will Effect Water Heater Replacement

Your water heater is not something you really give a lot of thought to until one morning you wake up and there is no hot water. But, now may be the time you should give it some thought as the new Federal regulations, that went into effect on April 16th, 2015, take you by surprise. These regulations, while increasing energy efficiency, inadvertently caused changes to the physical dimensions and availability of certain sizes of water heaters. These changes translate into more expensive and slightly bigger water heaters. The size difference is due to the added insulation surrounding the tank or vessel. The increase in cost is due to the additional insulation and resulting in larger metal case required to house the heater assembly and tank itself.

Corroded Water Heater

Come on, it still works!

Should We Bare The Cost Of Water Heater Replacement Now Or Later?

So the question one needs to ask is, “Do I change my heater now, or do I wait?”. In order to answer that question, you need to understand several things. First off there is still a supply of the “old” type heaters in supply houses and contractors storage all over the country. We are all allowed, by the new regulations, to sell off our existing inventories and install them. The manufacturers are not allowed to produce any more of the old style after April 16th, 2015. All of the water heaters made after that date must comply with the new Federal Regulations. So, there is a small window of opportunity to obtain and install one of the old styles of heaters, saving the increase in the cost of the new heaters that meet the new regulations. The “upside” to this is, that the old style heater will fit perfectly into the same location as your old heater, saving even more cost on installation when compared to installing the newer model which, in many cases, may require adjustments be made to your piping system as well as the gas and flue pipe. Not to mention the space constraints that many of our clients deal with in some of the installations we have seen. Many of our client’s homes that have a furnace and water heater installed in a closet are in for a rude awakening when it comes time to change their water heater and it won’t fit into the closet! Park Forest and parts of Matteson come to mind……

Water Heater

We Have Plenty of Room.

If space constraints are not an issue, then increase in cost is the only issue that you will need to work through, except…. fuel savings and efficiency need to be considered. Should I just wait and let my old heater die and deal with it then, or should I opt to head this off at the pass and put in one of the new style water heaters and enjoy the benefits of the increase of fuel efficiency? Well, the studies just aren’t there yet to show exactly just how much you’re going to save. The Federal Government states that throughout the United States there will be a savings of $63 Billion Dollars….on the units shipped between April 16th, 2015 and….wait for it….. 2044!

As a contractor, we are expecting to see the cost of a newly mandated heater to rise somewhere between $100 and $200 dollars. Not terrible until your plumber comes out to put one in and it doesn’t fit…. Now add the cost of adjustment of hot and cold water pipes, gas or electric feeds and flue pipe on gas models and the cost could easily raise an additional $400 to $500 dollars. That is an amount that may not be recouped by all of the energy savings that are gained by the new regulations.


Everyone loves paying more for plumbing!

Our Water Heater Replacement Recommendations

As a licensed New Lenox Plumbing Contractor it is our job and professional responsibility to understand and comply with these new regulations. There are many other impacts on our industry due to this new regulation that will affect gallon capacity and availability of certain sized heaters after the existing supplies run out. There will be, and are already, alternative water heating systems that have been designed to comply with these regulations. As the industry moves forward newer innovations will resolve the issues with the new regulations and provide solutions for just about every situation.

Call Expert Plumbing Service. for the latest in developments of energy efficient water heaters and new technology.

Watch for our upcoming article about new “Dual Fuel” technology water heater technology and how it will change our industry!

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