Updated Regulations Could Put Homeowners’ Finances in Hot Water

WACO, Texas (01/20/15) –Changes in hot water heater regulations may cause a routine replacement to become an unexpectedly expensive endeavor for homeowners this April. The U.S. Department of Energy will soon begin enforcing new energy efficiency standards for hot water heaters in residential buildings. The updates to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) require hot water heaters that are larger, more costly and more environmentally conscious than what is required under current regulations.

Aimed at increasing Energy Factor (EF) ratings, a measurement unit used to gauge the total amount of energy that is used by an appliance, these regulations will impose new environmentally friendly standards. With these changes, homeowners will need to foot the bill for the expected increase in cost.

“Our customers could face price increases of up to 15% to 35%” said Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing. “Not only will the cost of water heaters increase an average of $120, but installation and maintenance costs will likely rise as well. As a result of new regulations that require a more complicated installation and an increased amount of system parts necessary, homeowners could face a hefty replacement fee in the short run.”

The larger size of the new units could create an additional unforeseen expense. Electric hot water heaters larger than 55 gallons (the minimum size for most residential units) will require a minimum of 128 cu. ft. with a duct to a larger space in order to comply with these standards. For many homeowners, that could lead to a major renovation involving construction and a greater cost.

The Department of Energy, energy.gov, has more information on new requirements for water heaters coming this spring. To avoid a potentially costly situation, hot water heaters getting close to the ten-year mark can be replaced in the coming months before new regulations take effect. Homeowners are encouraged to contact their local Mr. Rooter Plumbing office to find out the best plan for their home.