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Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Serving all of Chicagoland


What You Need to Know About New 2015 Water Heater Regulations

Water heaters can be notorious wasters of energy, and to help reduce this waste, new mandates under the Department of Energy’s “Final Rule” will become law as of April 15, 2015. This doesn’t mean that homeowners have to run out and purchase a new water heater to be in compliance; it means that manufacturers will have to follow new regulations on how both tank and tankless water heaters are manufactured for consumers so that the water heaters are more energy efficient. How does this affect you and your water heater in Elgin? It may not affect you at all, but to help you find out, we’ve outlined the generalities of the mandates below.

New Mandates

The main purpose of the new mandates is to raise the EF (efficiency factor) of all water heaters, with particular focus on water heaters that use natural gas, propane, oil or electricity. The mandates will vary by fuel type, so the changes can range from minor to fairly major, depending on how a given water heater is powered:

Gas, Oil and Propane

Water heaters using one of these fuel types will likely see these changes:

  • More required insulation
  • New flue technologies, with a focus on dampers and baffles
  • No more standing pilot, electronic ignition only
  • Condensing capability

The end result is that these new regulations will likely increase the size of these types of water heaters and make their installation more complex.


The new mandates for electric water heaters include:

  • More required insulation
  • Required insulation for valves and piping
  • Electric water heaters larger than 55 gallons will need to use heat pump technology

Electric water heaters will likely become taller and wider, and if heat pumps are added to those water heaters larger than 55 gallons, these types of electric water heaters will become heavier.


What Does This Mean for You?

Tank water heaters have an average lifespan of 15-20 years and tankless water heaters have a lifespan of about 20 years, so if your water heater is approaching retirement age, these changes could mean that you’ll be spending more money on a new installation. However, you’ll also be getting a much more energy efficient unit that will likely last longer than your previous/current water heater.

To explore your current or future water heater needs in the Elgin area, call Lifeline Plumbing today!