How do new water heater standards affect you?
New water heating standards from the U.S. Department of Energy went into effect in 2015. Under the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, all new storage tank water heaters—regardless of fuel source—must meet a higher efficiency rating.
Manufacturers say those increases in energy efficiency can be achieved in many cases by using more insulation. However, this will make the storage tank units a few inches taller and wider—while also increasing their cost. Depending on the model and tank capacity, new tank water heaters may be as much as three times more expensive as older ones.
That increased size will also have a big effect on homes with space constraints; a small propane gas tankless unit that hangs on the wall will be an easier fit than new, bigger tanks.
These regulatory changes are also expected to close the upfront cost gap between propane tankless units and electric storage tank heaters. Propane tankless units may even end up having a price advantage!
If you’re thinking about replacing your water heater soon, we recommend exploring your options in tankless water heaters. (See related article below.)
Go tankless for savings and comfort
- • Tankless water heaters deliver an endless supply of water.
- • Their compact size saves roughly 12 square feet of floor space.
- • These systems are on-demand, so they heat water only when it’s needed. That feature eliminates standby losses that occur in systems with hot water storage tanks — like the typical electric water heater.
- • They save more than $150 per year in energy costs compared with typical electric storage water heaters.*
- • They have 50% to 60% lower CO2 emissions compared with electric storage tank systems.
- • They may also qualify you for state and manufacturer rebates.
*Source: Propane Education Research Council.