Starting in April of 2015 all water heaters will become federally mandated to meet certain energy savings. This affects all water heaters and specifically targets water heaters with a capacity of 50 gallon and above.
All water heaters will be forced to meet specific challenges with energy ratings that match to a percent. A few years ago this was done by switching from Fiberglas insulation to foam insulation. To maintain certain specification such as size to meet size constraints in condos and apartment buildings the manufacturers decided to decrease the volume of water in the tanks.
Simply stated a 40 gallon water heater decreased to 38 gallons. To meet the new federally mandated water heaters any size below 50 gallons will have to greatly decrease in the volume of water in order to fit size constraints. What this means to the consumer is all manufacturers will have to retool their companies. This means the cost of the smaller water heaters will increase dramatically while the water capacity will decrease.
Larger electric water heaters will become a hybrid type heater. In order to meet the federally mandated energy rating a heat pump system must be installed on top of the heater. This will at least triple the cost of the heater (not to mention the installation itself). In addition to this new requirement. many local communities are demanding a permit and inspection be added to the cost of the water heater. Keep in mind that plumbing companies will need to have people on their staff take the time to pull the permit. This might require the plumber’s staff to physically go to the government office to wait in line to pull the permit, which can sometimes take hours.
Our recommendation is to install water heaters today especially if your water heater has past the factory warranty stage. Call Bill the Plumber Inc at 941-924-8418 to discuss the changes and whether or not you should replace your existing water heater.