New Water Heater Standards to Impact Homeowners

By Jennifer Felten

In 1987, Congress enacted the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (“NAECA”), which regulates energy consumption of specific household appliances. NAECA creates uniform efficiency standards for certain household appliances, including refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, clothes dryers and water heaters. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy, pursuant to NAECA, issued a Final Rule relative to water heaters, the next phase of which went into effect last month. These far-reaching new requirements will have significant impacts on homeowners in need of replacement units.

Under the new rules, there is a mandatory increase of 3% to 30% greater efficiency compared to current models. The amount varies by tank size based on formulas with the larger tanks having higher efficiency requirements. In order to gain the efficiency, manufacturers will be adding additional insulation to water heater tanks. These changes will impact homeowners in several ways. First, because of the added insulation, the new tanks will be larger both in height and width. As such, a homeowner needing to replace a water heater will need to make sure there is enough room in the existing location to accommodate a larger model if they want to keep the same hot water capacity. If the large model won’t fit the existing location, the homeowner may have to acquire a smaller unit with an added mixing valve to produce the hot water needed for their home.

Cost is going to be impacted as well. All of the manufacturers are having to redesign their models and this costs money. Combine that with the increased cost of materials from adding more insulation, and the result will be a higher cost for water heaters when a homeowner goes to the store. Also, because the standards are so high for larger units, many manufacturers are discontinuing the production of the largest units (those over 55 gallons). Some larger sized tanks may be discontinued. If you have a large size electric tank (66 or 80 gallon) or 75 gallon gas water heater, some of these are being discontinued. While new products may come along to replace them, the installer community has not yet seen them.

Homeowners should note that the new rules are for models produced after April 16, 2015. As such, existing stock of the old units can be sold. So if a homeowner expects to have to replace their water heater in the near future, they should consider doing so now while they may still be able to buy one under the old standards.

Featured Image: Ventura Waterheaters


Jennifer Felten

Jennifer Felten

Jennifer Felten, Esq., Partner, LLP,, 699 Hampshire Road, Suite 105, Westlake Village, CA 91361, (805) 265-1031, [email protected].  Ms. Felten specializes in representing both individuals and legal entities, providing representation and guidance on a variety of real estate related matters.




 Upcoming Speaking Engagements for Ms. Felten

In June 2015, Jennifer Felten, Esq. will be speaking on issues related to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s new lending rules on Saturday, June 20 in Glendale, California. 

If you would like more information about any of these events, please email [email protected].

For more info on these events, feel free to email [email protected].————————————————————————

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