New Energy Efficiency Requirements for Water Heaters

It's April in Denver, which means taxes, allergy indexes and the occasional Spring-time snow storm. However, this 2015 April means something new if you're planning on installing a new hot water heater in your home: new energy efficiency guidelines for residential water heaters.


Announced back in April of 2010, the National Appliance and Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) mandated by the Department of Energy (DOE) will on April 16, require nearly all new residential electric, oil, gas and tankless gas water heaters to carry higher Energy Factor (EF) ratings, meaning changes to both the size and price-point of new heaters.


Since water heating represents 20 percent of total annual household energy consumption in the U.S., it certainly is a great idea – one that will save consumers about $8.7 billion and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 154 million metric tons over the next 30 years. However, this means that brand-new heaters will increase two inches wider in diameter and about one inch taller in height to compensate for more insulation, meaning a potential tight fit for remodels. Also the increase in physical size will mirror an increase in price, meaning you'll have to pay about 30 percent more for a new water heater.


Tankless products are also included in this new NAECA standard. However, most tankless products currently achieve the required efficiency level or greater, meaning price-points will stay the same.


So what does this mean for you?


If you currently have a water heater that is running fine, there is no need to change what you currently have. However, if you are planning to build a new home, have a Denver renovation in mind, or just have the misfortune of having your water heater call it quits, you're going to be in the market for a new, bigger and more expensive, energy-efficient water heater.


All-in-all, unless you have water heater needs in the near future you're likely not to notice the NAECA's immediate changes. However, if you have any questions about how the changes following April 16th's mandate will affect your home, don't hesitate to contact one of's trusted Denver plumbing and water heater professionals to help you better understand!