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2015 NAECA Water Heater Guidelines

The U.S Department of Energy (DOE) regulates minimum energy efficiency requirements for water heaters.

The first set of regulations- known as the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA)- were created in 1990 and later updated in 2004 to the current standards. A new update to the rules for increasing minimum energy efficiency standards was enacted in 2010 and goes into effect on April 16th, 2015.

What does this mean for you?

Manufacturers are making all the necessary improvements and adjustments to their gas and electric water heaters to meet the new NAECA standards. So you don’t have to worry about the technology and engineering involved.

However, those improvements will impact you in a number of ways, and you need to be aware of them when planning for the replacement of existing water heaters.

Sizing Requirements and Planning.

Under the new NAECA regulations, water heaters may be larger in size. This will require more space for installing the newer, high-efficiency water heaters.

If the water heater you are currently replacing is located in a garage or full basement, the size change may not be a problem at all.

If your current water heater is located in a confined space such as a closet, alcove or the corner of a utility room, further planning may be required in order to accommodate the new water heater dimensions. These issues may come up if you live in a multi-family housing unit such as an apartment or a condominium where space is limited.

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New NAECA Water Heater Timelines

The effective date of the new regulation takes effect April 16th, 2015. However, this only applies to the manufacturing of water heaters. Brothers Plumbing, Heating and Electric may continue to sell and install water heaters manufactured prior to this date while supplies last.

Energy Savings

The advantage of these new “green products” will help you, the homeowner help offset some of the product and installation costs of the new models. Homeowners who purchase highly efficient condensing gas or heat pump electric water heaters can anticipate average savings ranging for $60 for natural gas and more than $300 annually for an electric water heater. These savings can fluctuate depending on the actual hot water use and local energy costs.

A drawback of the 2015 NAECA water heaters is that they are likely to have a lower hot water deliverability that prior models. While operating costs will decrease, higher efficiency means that less hot water will be produced with the lower amount of energy consumed.

The Department of Energy estimates that the new standards mandatory in 2015 will result in approximately $63 billion in energy bill savings over the next 30 years. The standard will avoid about 172.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 33.8 million automobiles.

What Brothers Recommends

We want you to be as informed as possible regarding the NAECA water heater standards as there are several options for you depending on your current water heater and where it is installed. We recommend calling Brothers to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed and insured plumbers to assess your water heater and to review all of your options with you. Whether that’s a replacement of the same water heater, a 2015 NAECA approved water heater or tankless water heater, Brothers will help you review every option available and help you make the best decision for you and your home.

Helpful Links

DOE Website
DOE Water Heater Information
State Water Heater NAECA

Consumer Brochures

State Water Heater 2015 NAECA Brochure
State Water Heater Contractor Brochure