New Water Heater Regulations for April 2015

The U.S. Department of Energy’s new water heater regulations go into effect this April 16, 2015!

U.S. DOE Water Heater Regulations 2015

What this means for you depends, but we do know that after April 16th, water heater manufacturer prices will increase $100-$200 and the stricter installation requirements will increase your upfront costs even more.

The graph below shows us that the new water heater regulations will mostly affect larger gas and electric models. If you already have a solar, tankless, or small water heater, these new regulations won’t affect you as much. In fact, your water heater might already meet these new standards.

Water Heater Regulation Energy Efficiency


The larger gas and electric water heaters (greater than 55 gallons) will need to significantly increase their Energy Factor (EF) in order to comply with the U.S. DOE’s Final Rule.

Starting April 16th, all new water heaters will need to be made more efficient and installed in a specific way. Manufacturer prices could increase upwards of 30%, raising the cost of your new, larger, energy efficient water heater over $200.

New requirements, such as vent piping and possible relocating, will also increase installation and maintenance costs on the new system.

Basically, the new water heater regulations will increase your home energy efficient (remember, water heating accounts for about 20% of your home’s total energy uses), but the larger upfront costs may offset the savings. Basically, do you want $100 now or 27¢ every day for a year?

So you have two choices:

  • Buy an older, smaller water heater now and save on all the new, higher upfront costs and avoid having to find a new home for your water heater.
  • Wait until after April 16th and purchase a larger, more energy efficient water heater and reap the energy efficiency savings over the period of your water heater’s lifespan.

Our recommendation is that if your water heater needs to be replaced soon, save on the upfront costs of the new models and install an older, but still energy efficient model now.

Here are some signs that you water heater needs replacing, courtesy of

1. How old is your water heater?

It’s crucial to know the age of your water heater. Find the age by looking for the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker on the upper portion of the water heater. Generally, most water heaters that are more than 10 years old should be considered for replacement.

2. Rusty water

If you discover rusty water coming from your water heater and it only comes from the hot side piping in your home, this can be a sign that your water heater is rusting away on the inside and it may begin to leak soon.

3. Rumbling and noise

As a water heater ages, sediment will build up on the bottom of the tank. As the sediment is heated and reheated, it eventually will harden. When this happens, you can often hear rumbling or banging sounds coming from the water heater as it is heating up. This is a sign that the water heater is at the end of its useful life.

4. Water around the water heater

If you notice moisture around your water, you may have a small leak or a fracture in the tank. If your water heater is in a location that will not cause damage if there is a leak, you can wait until it develops a leak before replacing it, but that really is not recommended.

If you do install an older, less energy efficient model, there are some things you can do to increase its energy efficiency, such as lowering the temperature and installing and insulation blanket.

Consider Tankless

A tankless water heater only operates when water is turned on so that it’s not using any energy when not in use, but just on standby waiting for you to turn on a faucet. The natural or LP tankless heater has up to a 15 year warranty with enough capacity to supply any hot water demand and any size home with proper professional sizing of the tankless unit.

If your Hagerstown water heater is nearing the end of its life expectancy period, you can consider replacing it with a new one, so that you can stop wasting money on your energy bill every month.

Call Larry & Sons Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn about our Hagerstown water heater replacement services!

If you are having trouble figuring out how old your water heater is or if it is need of service or replacement, give Larry & Sons a call at 301-733-5428. We’d be more than happy to help!

Check out our maintenance plan; we provide fall and spring HVAC tune-ups, provide 15 % off all repairs, and much more!

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