Within a few months, the year of 2014 will be out the window and 2015 will be here at last. For homeowners and homebuyers, each new year brings with it a huge checklist to go over. Each year your home requires a review on your part. Maybe your roof could use some extra TLC, or your porch has some weak places in it. Going around and through your house might invite you to check out some things you may not ordinarily pay attention to. The new year can also bring with it some changes in regulations for your home or office building. This code may require you to change certain things about how you expand or renovate your home. What things you can or can’t do. These changes happen each year and should be monitored to make sure your home complies. In 2015, the Department of Energy has mandated that a higher energy efficiency rating will be required on water heaters. This will impact how water heaters are designed, manufactured, and generally everything about them. Below is some important information for homeowners on their current – or future – water heaters.
40/50 Gallon Electric and Gas Heaters:
Luckily the conditions and changes for a 40/ 50 gallon electric or gas heater didn’t fair too badly with the new changes. There were only minimal changes made for these particular sizes and most deal with insulation and the general install of the water heater. Since the insulation for this size of water heater is getting a major change in its insulation, the heater will have a larger footprint. How much bigger will it be? At the moment the new specs for a 40/50 gallon water heater will come in at 4-6” wider than its current counterpart, and 6” taller. So what does that mean for a homeowner? Simply put, more room will be needed. If you have a closet used to hold your former water heater, it may have to be remodeled to fit the larger water heater. In the event that the heater is too tall, re-piping may also need to be done. If you already have this sort of room in your home then the water heater will cost you around $250 more.
55 Gallon Electric or Larger:
Do you currently have a 55 gallon or larger water heater in your home? When 2015 hits, these sized water heaters will no longer exist. For homeowners in search of a way around this issue, there are two ways to get a larger unit for your home. If you have a newer home, or if you have a soaking tub, then you will be able to have a water heater of up to 80 gallons. You may also have a heater with a heat pump attached to it. Think of this as similar to having an HVAC unit attached to the top. The dimensions are a total of 8ft tall and require 770 cubic feet of air to operate. Unfortunately, this approach also draws the heat out of the air in your home to heat the water, thus robbing heat from your home. The next option is adding a second 50-gallon unit side by side. If you have enough room to accommodate, it may be the best deal if you fear running out of hot water.
55 Gallon Gas or Larger:
Like with the electric, a new home, or a home with a soaker tub, will automatically come with a water heater between 65 to 75 gallons. These will also no longer exist due to size. The new requirements for these specific water heaters will cause the heater to be so large that the actual water heater won’t be able to fit through your door, much less be placed in a closet or smaller area. There are three main alternatives to this issue which may be helpful for homeowners to be aware of. Going tankless is the next big trend in water heaters, but the price tag of more than $5,000 is more than many homeowners can handle. The second option, similar to electric, is to install two water heaters at 50 gallons each. If you have enough room for this, all you will need installed is a new gas line. The third option is to simply downgrade your tank size.
While these are generic rules and may be subject to change, these are issues to consider if you’re buying a new home or in need of a new water heater. A call to our office is the best way to learn more information about these changes and find out which water heater will give you the most for your money.