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Categories: Zurn Man Tips

New Water Heater Regulations Pose Installation Challenges


In an effort to increase water heater efficiency, the U.S. government has revised the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) to mandate new measures, measures that have a bearing on the difficulty of water heater installations.

NAECA was originally established in 1975 as legislators sought to uniform efficiency standards for household appliances, including water heaters. The most recent NAECA revision containing the water heater mandates was enacted in 2010, and is scheduled to go into effect on April 16, 2015.

Here is everything you need to know about how this regulation impacts your water heater:

• The new regulations impact only new residential water heaters.

• Many replacement water heaters will be larger or shaped differently than previous models, requiring more room for installation (which will increase installation costs).

• For tanks under 55 gallons, replacement water heaters may be up to two inches taller and two inches larger in diameter than previous models. So plan to incorporate at least three extra inches of space in water heater locations in order to facilitate proper installation. If that’s not feasible due to the space, you may need to explore models that use different technology.

• The new regulations most heavily impact tanks over 55 gallons. Electric models over 55 gallons will need to be replaced with Hybrid Electric heat models, which may be entirely different shapes and sizes than preexisting models.

• Gas models over 55 gallons will need to be replaced with condensing water heater models. Depending on potential difficulties with installation, you may need to replace your current model with a different size model, or, in the case of gas models, you may opt for a tankless model.

• Because the water heaters will bigger, if you need a replacement heater in a tight space such as a closet or a shut off area in an apartment building, you may have to install a smaller tank in order to comply with the regulations.

• These regulations only apply to the manufacture of new water heaters, so manufacturers may continue to sell older designs currently in their inventory until they run out. However, homeowners and building managers should still plan for these heaters and parts to be phased out over the course of the next few years.

• Many water heaters on the market today already comply with the current regulations. If you are unsure if your water heater is complaint, a Zurn specialist can help you find out the answer.

The good news for homeowners is that all of these efforts are designed to save them money over the course of time. A more efficient water heater means less money spent on utilities.

If your current water heater is more than 9 years old, we encourage replacing it for a new one before the installation cost increases in April. If you would like us to come check out your water heater, contact the Zurn team on online contact form for a heater assessment.