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Understanding the New Water Heater Regulations in Southern California

water heater regulations

Replacing a water heater has become a bit more complicated since the U.S. Department of Energy issued new water heater regulations last year. New water heaters must meet a higher energy factor (EF) rating, and all types of residential tank water heaters manufactured after April 1, 2015, will be affected. That means higher costs and limited size options for homeowners who purchase and install new water heaters after this date.

Installation costs will be higher due to possible space modifications to accommodate taller and wider units. There will also be added costs for venting the new water heaters.

Impact on Homeowners

water heater regulationsFollowing are some of the factors that will affect homeowners replacing water heaters:

  • The new models may be up to 35 percent more expensive.
  • More insulation and venting will be required, which will make installation more complex.
  • New units are at least 2 inches taller and 2 inches wider than the older models. Homeowners may have to relocate their water heaters or remodel spaces to accommodate the new units.
  • New units will hold a few gallons less of heated water than older models of comparable size.
  • Residential tank water heaters of more than 55-gallon capacity may not be available, necessitating the purchase of two smaller tanks to provide sufficient hot water for a large household. Or, homeowners may have to buy condensing water heaters (these models utilize the thermal energy exhausted in the flue gas by conventional models) if they want gas models in the bigger sizes. For an electric water heater with more than 55-gallon capacity, the homeowner must choose a hybrid heat pump type.

Water heaters manufactured prior to April 1, 2015, will be sold as long as the inventory lasts.

Impact on Environment

While the new regulations will raise costs and cause some installation challenges for homeowners, the overall impact on the environment will be beneficial by preventing the emission of about 172.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from 2015-2044.

To learn more about the new water heater regulations, contact Reliance Home Services. We’ve served Greater Los Angeles for more than 65 years.


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