ServiceOne would like to let Central Florida homeowners know that a new set of stricter efficiency standards for water heaters are going into effect this spring. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, the new standard will require a much higher energy factor on water heaters, resulting in some significant changes to the installation of large residential water heaters (larger than 55 gallons in capacity).
“The large-capacity, traditional hot waters heater will no longer be available after April 15,” said Bill Gouty, ServiceOne founder and president. “While we are anticipating prices to increase by 30-60 percent, products manufactured before this date can still be bought and installed.”
There are a few factors for homeowner to consider when deciding on which new water heaters to install, including:
Water heater costs
Conventional minimum-efficiency 60-gallon gas and electric water heaters can cost between $675-$1,500, while the new high-efficiency models are about $1,200-$2,450. Prices are expected to gradually drop as the technology matures.
Electrical power and ventilation
New gas water heaters with a capacity of more than 55 gallons will need a dedicated electrical receptacle to power the exhaust fan and provide a means for condensate disposal. For venting, a dedicated line for combustion air via a lower temperature PVC pipe will typically exhaust through the wall rather than the roof with this design.
Spacing requirements for new water heaters
Larger-sized electric water heaters will need to incorporate a heat-pump in order to meet efficiency requirements. Where a traditional 3×3-foot closet was often the prime location for installation for an electric water heater, these new appliances containing a heat pump won’t likely fit into the same space. According to the Air Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute, heat pump water heaters will now require installation in locations that provide at least 1,000 cubic feet of surrounding air space and remain in the 40º–90ºF range year-round.
Gas, electric or heat pump water heaters?
Since heat pump water heaters remove heat from the house to heat the water, it’s better to install them in areas with warmer climates, such as Florida. The cooling effect of the heat pump will reduce the air conditioning load on the house. The other alternatives are gas or electric tankless water heaters. These units can be mounted indoors in cabinets, under sinks, in close proximity to fixtures, and use less energy than conventional water heaters.
“Since the new rules are complicated and there are many factors to consider, it’s important for homeowners to work with service providers who are familiar with the new mandates and options available,” said Gouty. “ServiceOne is current on all manufacturing and installation requirements and can provide excellent advice regard the purchase and installation of a new water heater.”