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What You Need to Know About

the NAECA 2015

Water Heater Efficiency Standards



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What is NAECA?

On April 16, 2015, the Department of Energy (DOE) will make effective its new energy efficiency mandates, as part of the National Appliance and Energy Conservation Act (NAECA). This update will affect all household appliances manufactured for sale in the U.S., and Canada will soon follow in their implementation of similar energy efficiency upgrades. This new update was first announced in April 2010. Part of this efficiency standards update will require nearly all residential electric, oil, gas and tankless gas water heaters to carry higher Energy Factor (EF) ratings. The new rule does not preclude the installation of non-compliant products that are manufactured before April 16, 2015.

Both electric and gas water heaters will now be broken down into two size categories:

  1. 20 to 55 gallon; and
  2. 55 gallon and larger

How Will These Changes Affect You?

Installation Challenges for Condominiums and Multi-Family Residences

In order to comply with these new federally-imposed standards, water heater manufacturers will be forced to alter their equipment designs to improve the insulation. This will mean one of two things – either the diameter of the heaters will increase significantly, or the capacity will decrease – potentially up to 10%.

Recognizing that installations in condominiums and similar structures are space defined, manufacturers are most likely to reduce tank capacities to overcome installation conflicts. Less dramatic efficiency standard increases several years ago resulted in reduced capacities in some 40 and 50 gallon water heaters to 38 gallon and 47 gallon respectively.

As of mid-February, one major manufacturer has now confirmed capacity decreases in some water heaters of at least 10%. Other NAECA compliant water heaters will have a confirmed 1 ¼” – 2″ increase in diameter.

While some single family homes may by impacted by this new standard, most, if not all residential condominium and apartment units certainly will. The floor plans and common plumbing elements typically found in these types of occupancies will limit or preclude relocation of the tank type water heater. Accordingly, when replacing an existing water heater after April 16, 2015 with a NAECA 2015 compliant heater, the owners of condominiums and apartment units will most likely be forced to install a tank with significantly less volume. This would mean either changing their hot water usage habits, or increasing the storage temperature and installing an ASSE approved mixing valve to attempt to maintain their current hot water usage.

Old New EF ratings



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