Storage water heaters are the most common style of water heater used in America today, with tankless and solar water heaters quickly gaining a foothold as well. Recent energy standards enacted in April of 2015 by the United States Department of Energy have raised the energy-saving requirements for all newly-manufactured storage water heater systems to make them more energy efficient than ever before.
Understanding the New Requirements
The new water heater standards set forth by the Department of Energy affect different types of water heaters to varying degrees, but universally raised the energy-saving requirements on all storage water heating systems. These standards require higher energy factor (EF) ratings on water heaters, which measure the amount of energy input that is transformed into hot water. Higher energy factors thus result in the conversion of more energy into hot water, reducing energy waste for greater efficiency. The new standards also incorporate changes in some water heater models that include better insulation around the storage tank, electric ignition systems instead of standing pilot lights, and upgraded combustion and flue baffling technology. As a result, some types of water heaters have become larger to incorporate added insulation or new plumbing technology, while some water heaters now require additional electrical connections or drainage systems. The goal of these new standards is to save both energy and money. Projections looking at water heater installations between 2015 and 2044 estimate that these new standards will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 172.5 million metric tons, which is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with approximately 33.8 million automobiles annually. The financial savings associated with these new standards in the same timeframe is expected to reach approximately $63 billion.
Upgrading Your Current Water Heater
Now that these new Department of Energy Standards are in place, the water heating systems available on the market offer greater energy savings and overall efficiency than ever before. This means that if your current water heating system is more than a decade old or is starting to show signs of degradation, efficiency loss, or failure, the time could be right to consider a new system. Replacing your existing storage water heater with a similar but newer model is one of the simplest home upgrades available; your plumber can remove the old system and install a new one quickly to minimize disruption to your schedule and deliver immediate energy savings as soon as you begin using your new appliance. If your water heater is currently installed with plenty of space to spare, it could also be beneficial to consider how much water your home uses and make a change in the capacity of your new water heater as well to better meet your needs. Talking to your Portland plumber about your home’s current water heating system and how the new Department of Energy efficiency standards will affect your monthly water and energy costs is an excellent first step toward a greener, more comfortable home.
New water heater standards and technology will not only help you save money on energy, but also deliver hot water faster and longer for everyday comfort and convenience. You can find out more about the latest plumbing technology, standards, and news when you check us out on Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter.