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New Water Heater Guidelines: What You Need to Know

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has mandated higher energy efficiency ratings on virtually all new residential gas, electric and oil-fired water heaters starting April 16, 2015. With the goal of reducing carbon emissions and air pollutants, these changes will affect how water heaters are designed, manufactured and installed. So what does this mean for you? Find out below what you need to know. 
What are the new DOE water heater regulations?

New DOE regulations set new Energy Factor requirements, which translate to an increase of 3% – 30% greater efficiency over current water heater models. The larger the tank, the higher the efficiency gains.
What is an Energy Factor (EF) rating?

Your water heater’s Energy Factor (EF), indicates how much of the energy being delivered to the unit is actually being used to heat your water. Expressed as a number between 0 and 1 (higher the better), the EF measures energy efficiency based on the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel over 24 hours. 
How will gas, electric and/ or oil-fired water heaters be affected? 

To achieve the higher efficiency ratings, manufacturers may add more insulation to water heater tanks. As a result, the new tanks could be taller and wider, which may require your plumber to relocate the unit or customize an installation plan. If you already have a tankless water heater with an EF rating above .82, your water heater already complies.
When should I replace my water heater?

Based on the typical lifespan of most water heaters, you might want to consider replacing your water heater if it is over 10 years old.  The regulations affect your next new water heater, so if you have a newer water heater already, it’s likely to be close to new efficiency standards. Your best option is to take good care of it and schedule regular maintenance check-ups. Your unit will work more efficiently and last longer.
ARS®/Rescue Rooter®  is committed to helping you transition to the new 2015 standards as smoothly as possible by providing expert water heater repair and replacement services, including tankless models. Call us at 1-800-277-9400 to discuss your options.
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