Water heater technology and efficiency have changed considerably. Based on the changes in the requirements by the Department of Energy for water heater efficiency, which went into effect on April 16, 2015, the primary change that now affects the production of new water heaters is that they need to have a higher Energy Factor (EF) rating.
The EF rating of a water heater is based on the percentage of the energy it uses that is actually converted to hot water rather than being wasted. For example, a water heater with a 0.75 EF converts 75% of the energy it consumes into the hot water it dispenses. A higher EF rating means that a water heater is more efficient. The new EF requirement for a water heater manufactured in the future will depend on whether or not it uses a water storage tank, the capacity of the tank (if it is not a tankless unit), as well as its source of energy: gas, oil or electricity.
According to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the basic concept behind the new equipment requirements is that our nation can save lots of energy over the next 30 years. The savings should be approximately the equivalent of meeting the energy needs of 13 million average U.S. households for a full year. In terms of dollars and cents, the new regulations will save U.S. residents about $8.7 billion during the next three decades. Equally important is that as a nation we will also reduce carbon dioxide pollution by over 150 million metric tons.
If you want to overload your brain by reading the recently-implemented legal language and technical data, you can download the 126-page Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Water Heaters, Direct Heating Equipment, and Pool Heaters (PDF opens in new window).
As a result of the new rules, the purchase and installation costs of a tradition tank-type water heater have come much closer in price to the more-efficient tankless water heaters. The primary reason the price gap is shrinking is because old-fashioned tank-type systems need lots of re-engineering to meet the new requirements, while tankless systems use modern water heater technology that focuses on energy efficiency.
In fact, the EF rating requirement for electric tankless water heaters has not changed, because they have always converted energy with incredibly-high efficiency, and most gas tankless units already meet the new standard. Therefore, as a homeowner, you should seriously evaluate the technologically-advanced tankless option before you buy your next water heating system.
Here are 3 reasons to consider a tankless water heater:
Tankless systems are 99% efficient, which seems almost impossible, but it’s true. The main reason for this is that two of the three factors considered to calculate an EF rating are Standby losses, the heat lost while storing hot water, and Cycling losses, the heat lost while hot water circulates through a storage tank and/or the systems inlet and outlet pipes. Tankless water heater technology eliminates the water storage tank, which primarily leaves how efficiently the heat from the energy source is transferred to the water (Recovery efficiency) to determine the EF of a tankless unit.
Old-fashioned tank-type water heaters typically last 8-12 years. Tankless water heaters can last 20 to 25 years, because they use parts that are easily replaced, which extends its life by many years. That’s a real long-term savings – on top of your already reduced monthly energy bills.
Tired of cold showers? With a tankless water heater, NEVER AGAIN! For more on this topic, read No More Cold Showers or Baths with a Tankless Water Heater
If you need to replace your water heater or you are planning to buy one for a new house you’re building, let us help you determine if a tankless water heater is a good fit your your home and family. Call us at (317) 248-9668 or send us a message to learn more about the many benefits of tankless water heater technology.