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Is your water heater located in a tight space?

Would you consider replacing it now if you knew a replacement may not fit down the road?

If your water heater is 10 years old or older, now may be the time to replace it. In this post, you’ll discover the new changes to water heater manufacturing code that take place on April 16, 2015 that could make it problematic for some homeowners when replacing their storage tank water heater.

With new changes to the manufacturing code of water heaters on the horizon, those days when replacing your water heater was relatively quick and easy are changing. It used to be when you replaced your existing water heater, you would call your plumbing contractor and they would send out a plumber with a replacement. The plumber would load up the new storage tank hot water heater and before you knew it that old 50 gallon electric water heater was pulled and replaced with a new one, and your Virginia home would be back in hot water!

Because of updates to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) that take effect on April 16, 2015, there are significant changes to water heater energy factor (EF) requirements. These changes by the NAECA to water heater manufacturing are not specific to our area of Northern Virginia – they are national. As of April 16, 2015, water heater manufacturers like Bradford White, Rheem, and State will have to redesign their products to meet the new energy efficient requirements.

According to the Department of Energy, this manufacturing standard on residential water heaters will save approximately 3.3 quads of energy and result in approximately $63 billion in energy bills savings for products shipped from 2015 – 2044.

So, the question is why should a homeowner consider a replacement over a repair for a 10 year old water heater? It’s all about the space! Here is what you need to know about the newly manufactured water heaters and what you should consider if you have a tight space for storage:

  • Limited space–The new replacement water heaters are going to need more space because they are larger–approximately 2 inches taller and wider. With added insulation and other requirements your replacement storage tank water heater is going to increase in size and, if your current water heater barely fits in the closet, a larger one is going to be a problem.
  • Less hot water— Again, it’s all about the space. If your existing water heater currently just fits in the closet, its equal replacement in gallon capacity is not going to fit! To replace the storage tank water heater you will have to downsize the gallon capacity–which means you’ll have less hot water!

Naturally, there are other solutions for a tight space for a water heater– like the a tankless water heater installation— and we’ll discuss that again in a later post related to the national code change on water heater manufacturing. In this post, we wanted to give you the information you need to address the question of replacing your storage tank water heater now or later in your Northern Virginia home.

Although, homeowners will gain greater efficiency with the new regulations and complaint water heaters, there are other reasons some may want to consider replacing now:

  • Increase in replacement cost–due to manufacture requirements –water heaters will cost more to produce
  • Electric heaters over 50 gallons will no longer be manufactured and available

Have a question about replacing your water heater now? Call the plumbing professionals at M.E. Flow with office locations in Winchester, Alexandria, and Leesburg. M.E. Flow covers the entire Northern Virginia area and has a plumber in your neighborhood ready to help you. Call us today at 703-777-2311 or fill out the form on this page to request an estimate!

Check out our related blog post on, “Why will electric water heaters over 50 gallons soon be hard to find?”

Go to our water heater page.