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New Federal Water Heater Regulations Mean Higher Costs For Consumers in Seattle

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New Changes to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) to take affect April 2015

 

NAECA and Gas Products

Gas water heaters will require additional insulation, incorporate newer flue baffling technologies (including flue dampers), incorporate electronic ignition in lieu of the standing pilot, or any combination of these. One impact will be an increase in the overall product size, especially in diameter. For gas-fired products over 55 gallons (≤75,000 BTU/Hr.), fully condensing combustion technology will most likely be required. This will also mean that line voltage will have to be available as will a means for condensate disposal.

NAECA EF Requirements for Residential Water Heaters

 

20-55 Gallons

Greater than 55 Gallons

Calculation

EF = 0.675 - (0.0015 x V)

EF = 0.8012 - (0.00078 x V)

Rated Storage Volume

Tankless

30

40

50

60

65

75

Current Standard

0.62

0.61

0.59

0.58

0.56

0.55

0.53

2015 Standard

0.82

0.63

0.62

0.60

0.75

0.75

0.74

 

NAECA and Electric Products

Electric water heaters will require more insulation. This will increase the diameter and/or height of the water heater. Additional insulation may be required for piping and fittings such as drain and T&P valves. Electric water heaters over 55 gallons (≤12 kW input) will likely utilize integrated heat pumps to meet the new EF requirements, based on currently available technology.

NAECA EF Requirements for Residential Water Heaters

 

20-55 Gallons

Greater than 55 Gallons

Calculation

EF = 0.0960 - (0.0003 x V)

EF = 2.057 - (0.00113 x V)

Rated Storage Volume

20

30

40

50

65

80

120

Current Standard

0.94

0.93

0.92

0.90

0.88

0.86

0.81

2015 Standard

0.95

0.95

0.95

0.95

1.98

1.97

1.92


What is the NAECA?

The NAECA was enacted in 1975 to create uniform efficiency standards for certain household appliances including refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, dryers and water heaters.

What are the New NAECA Standards?

To help reduce home appliance energy use, conserve more natural resources and generate energy cost savings to homeowners, the NAECA has increased the necessary Energy Factor (EF) on water heaters, among other items.

Effective as of APRIL 16th, 2015, water heaters must have a significantly higher EF rating

That means that the new water heater may not fit your space and the cost for replacement of your old heater could be shocking.

What does EF mean?

The Energy Factor is the unit that is used to indicate the overall water heating efficiency by measuring how much of the energy is delivered to the water heater from your power source is actually used to heat water in your home.  The closer to 1 for the EF, the more efficiently the water heater converts your power into hot water while reducing losses – and the more money you save on overall energy costs.  As of April 16th, 2015, all residential water heaters manufactured in the U.S. on and after this date must meet higher standards.

Our Response to This Change

Many of our customers will have retrofit issues that could be serious. The new heaters may not fit the old space. Electrical Power may be required but no outlet is available, some chimneys may have to be lined or abandoned to accommodate a pressurized flue.  Some will be forced to purchase models that cost 2X-3X the current model. Gas water heaters in confined spaces will have the biggest problems. It will mean that there will be a number of new issues to consider when purchasing a new water heater following April 15th, 2015.

What You Can Expect as a Homeowner

Sticker Shock

According to Harvey M. Sachs, Ph.D. and Senior Fellow at the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE), “That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an increased first cost….”  The average life of a traditional water heater is 10 years.  If your water heater is approaching 10 years or just over then now is the time to replace with a similar model or upgrade to a tankless water heater.

Call The Seattle Hot Water Company to replace your existing water heater with another standard water heater while we still have pre-regulation change inventory.  We have a limited number of traditional water heaters that we’ve purchased to offer to you while they last.  Act now to avoid additional costs and possible remodels to your home with these new energy efficient water heaters.

The cost of water heaters in Seattle may double or triple depending upon your situation

The net effect is that there are no more inexpensive water heaters for homeowners. The cost to replace many gas water heater has at least doubled in price - maybe more for some. The increase in cost is both equipment cost and labor as there will have to be substantial re-piping and flue work performed on many. The typical gas water heater cost here, for most with a 50 gallon hot water heater connected to a masonry chimney has been about $1000.00.  The new cost is expected to be significantly more. Keep in touch as we find out more as the manufacturers have not placed inventory here yet with the new models or price sheets. We don't have enough info yet on the electrics but it is expected to be less than the gas water heater increases (let's hope that is so).

Models larger than 50 gallons will have even greater increased cost as the EF standard will force many into tankless, forced draft,PVC flues, condensing or heat pump equipment.

Other Costs to be Aware of

  • Potential Relocation of Water Heaters - The new ones are bigger
    Most of us that live in Seattle or King County have had water heaters previously sized for our homes, but these new units will both be taller and wider.  These heights are being approximated at around two inches taller and two inches wider for most models.  That means you may need to relocate your water heater when replacing it or enlarging where it’s currently located.
  • Water Heaters Becoming More Complex - Trained licensed plumbers are required
    It appears that these new water heaters will be much more complex when installing them.  This means that your Do It Yourself (DIY) home professional will no longer be able to install these units over the weekend.  Currently, all Seattle Hot Water Company plumbers and techs are being trained on these new water heaters by the manufacturers, including; Rheem, Ruud, Bradford White and A.O. Smith.
  • New EF Water Heaters Will be Heavier Units - Two men required to install most
    These new units have been projected at being twice as heavy as the current units.  This is because these newer units have more components and more insulation to help them meet necessary EF requirements for April 15th.  These new installations will now be, on the average, a two man installation.  While these units may become lighter in the future, you’re going have adjust your expectations to pay for two plumbing professionals to help you install your new water heater.
  • Many existing water heaters replacements will need new flue piping and a source of 120vt electricity
    That old masonry chimney may have to be lined or abandoned. The new gas water heaters are high efficiency and power-vented. This can be big trouble and expense. Have us check your site before you need a new water heater to avoid surprises and delays with a new installation.

Call us with any questions about these new regulations  206 281-1105


 

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Guest Tuesday, 26 March 2019