Starting in April 2015, new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) water heater energy efficiency standards will be in effect. Residential water heaters affected include gas-fired, oil-fired, electric, tabletop, instantaneous gas-fired and instantaneous electric.
The standards released in 2010 increase the stringency of the existing minimum conservation standards for residential water heaters, which account for about 18 percent of energy use in homes across the country. The standards should reduce energy consumption 47 percent in large electric storage water heaters and by more than 30 percent in large gas water heaters, according to the DOE. In most cases, more insulation will be added. For heaters larger than 55 gallons, gas condensing technology will have to be added, and heat pump technology will replace simple resistance heating elements in electric water heaters.
So the same size tank will need a larger area for installation. The contractor will need to make the new water heater fit in the same space as the old water heater and it’s going to be a challenge for both the contractor and consumer. Consumers should also prepare for higher initial prices, that should be recouped over time by energy savings.