The National Appliance and Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) has periodically upgraded residential water heater efficiency standards since 1990. The most recent changes took effect on April 16, 2015, and imposed higher energy factor (EF) requirements on units manufactured after that date. The EF rating, prominently displayed on every water heater’s EnergyGuide sticker, expresses the energy efficiency of a unit by calculating how much of the energy supplied to the heater is actually used to heat water. The higher the EF rating, the more money you’ll save from increased efficiency and decreased energy losses.
About the Efficiency Standard Changes
Changes in the water heater efficiency standards impact more than the EF rating. In order to meet these new regulations, manufacturers will have to incorporate a higher level of insulation in common storage tank water heaters. This will slightly increase the size of most units, requiring about 3 inches more width and height in the installation location. Most homes have the spare space to accommodate the slightly larger size. However, very tight water heater closets in some homes may have to be altered.
For the purpose of water heater efficiency standards, gas and electric heaters are divided by capacity.
Up to 55 Gallons
- Gas-fired heaters: 30-, 40- and 50-gallon capacity gas heaters must now meet minimum EF standards of 0.63, 0.62 and 0.60, respectively.
- Electric heaters: 30-, 40- and 50-gallon capacity electric heaters must now meet the minimum EF standard of 0.95.
- Tankless heaters: The EF for gas-fired tankless heaters will remain unchanged at 0.82.
Above 55 Gallons
Only a small percentage of residential water heaters exceed 55 gallons. New efficiency standards applied to 55-gallon and larger models prohibit standard storage tank heaters. Gas-fired water heaters will have to be upgraded to high-efficiency condensing units, while new electric heater replacements must now be heat pump water heater (HPWH) models. Both upgrades are substantially larger than the units they replace and will usually require alterations to install them in the same location.
Learn more about the new water heater efficiency standards by contacting the professionals at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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