New Water Heater Energy Standards for 2015

Water heaters are the third-largest energy user in your house. New energy standards from the Department of Energy will hopefully ease that expense. Every ten years the DOE issues new federal regulations for water heater energy efficiency. Manufacturers then develop new technology to increase efficiency. The resulting heaters are better at applying and retaining heat and, ultimately, saving you money. Keep reading for more information about the new standards, which go into effect on April 16th of this year.

Improving Energy Factor

The new rules are focused on improving a water heater’s energy factor (EF). The EF rates the amount of hot water produced for each unit of fuel used over a typical day. This covers the heater’s ability to apply heat to water. It also indicates the amount of heat lost in storage and circulation. The new EF minimums affect gas-fired and electric storage water heaters. Electric water heaters larger than 55 gallons will now need heat pumps. Condensing technology will be required for gas heaters.

Savings for Homeowners

The DOE estimates that homeowners will save up to $10 billion under the new restrictions. CO2 emissions will be cut by 164 million metric tons over 30 years. That decrease in air pollution is the same as taking 46 million cars off the road for one year. DOE Secretary Steven Chu pointed out, “by raising the energy efficiency requirements of our everyday appliances, we will save money for American families and companies, reduce carbon pollution, and enhance our energy security for decades to come.”

The Future of Water Heaters

The upcoming standards were announced in 2010, and manufacturers have been working on new products. Homeowners will find options for all water heater types. Unfortunately, the price of water heaters will likely rise and tank sizes may increase to accommodate added insulation. This is frustrating, but we like to think of it as a short-term inconvenience in trade for long-term energy security.

We’ll Keep You Posted

We’re taking January and February to cover the news about the new water heater regulations. Stay tuned for more information about what these changes mean for you and your water heater. You can also contact us at (314) 501-9950 or with any questions.