With some help from our friends and fellow board members at the Greater Houston Builders Association, TriFection would like to inform you of the new residential water heater energy-efficiency standards that go into effect April 16th. These standards will require changes to the installation of many residential water heaters. Most water heaters with a capacity of 55 gallons or less will require more installation space, and those larger than 55 gallons in capacity will see additional, more significant changes (including how they powered and ventilated). However, products manufactured before April 16th can still be bought and installed after the changeover date.
The more common-sized water heaters of 55 gallons or less will likely will be larger by roughly 2 inches in height and diameter to account for the additional insulation needed to meet the new standard. These larger water heaters very well may not fit through existing attic openings or within available closet space. As a result, it could require installing a replacement appliance with reduced water capacity, selecting a much taller tank of the same diameter or switching to a tankless water heater.
Lose the tank?
Gas or electric tankless water heaters take up little space and can be mounted indoors in cabinets, under sinks and in very close proximity to fixtures, using less energy than conventional water heaters. Instead of storing gallons of hot water in a large tank, these units heat water as it flows through the heat exchanger. However, gas tankless water heaters may require a larger gas line and modifications to the vent pipe for proper installation. Electric tankless models may require a new dedicated circuit or increasing the capacity of electric service to the house. The units themselves generally cost $1,000 – $2,000, which is more than conventional models 55 gallons or less. The additional investment is recouped over time through energy efficiency savings.
Get more information
For more information on the new water heater standards, please visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/product.aspx/productid/27.