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Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

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  • Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

    2015 DOE (Department of Energy) Final Rule Effective April 16th, 2015
    The New Requirements
    Energy Factor (EF): Energy Factor is the ratio of useful energy output from the water heater to the total amount of energy delivered to the water heater. The higher the EF is, the more efficient the water heater.


    The new 2015 DOE (Department of Energy) Final Rule energy efficiency mandates will require higher Energy Factor (EF) ratings on virtually all residential gas, electric, oil and tankless gas water heaters, completely altering the water heater landscape. These changes will have an impact on how water heaters are manufactured, distributed and installed, affecting manufacturers, wholesalers, installers and customers alike.





    While all affected models will see an increase in the EF requirement, the most dramatic changes are in larger capacity models. The DOE established the EF requirement for residential gas and electric water heaters over 55 gallons so as to drive manufacturers to implement new, more energy efficient technologies. While the new rule does not require a specific technology, the only currently viable technologies to meet the EF requirement over 55 gallons are heat pump water heaters for electric and high efficiency condensing gas water heaters.
    What Changes?
    Electric water heaters, already very efficient, will likely require more insulation. This will increase the diameter and/or height of the water heater. Additional insulation may be required for piping and fittings such as drain and T&P valves. For electric water heaters over 55 gallons, the only currently available technology able to meet the EF requirement is a heat pump water heater.
    To meet the required minimum EF, gas models may require additional insulation, incorporate newer flue baffling technologies (including flue dampers), incorporate electronic ignition in lieu of the standing pilot, or any combination of these. Again, the likely impact will be an increase in the overall tank size, especially in diameter. For gas water heaters over 55 gallons, high efficiency, fully condensing combustion technology will be required. This will mean that line voltage will have to be available, as well as a means for condensate disposal.
    Similar challenges are faced with the oil-fired products. Much like gas products, oil-fired water heaters will likely require additional insulation or completely new combustion systems.




    The new minimum Energy Factor for tankless (instantaneous) gas goes from .62 to .82. For installations requiring a tankless approach, most of these water heaters currently have EF ratings of .82 or better.
    Impact on Water Heater Manufacturers
    Changes required for the 2015 Final Rule will prove time-consuming and costly. Resources will have to be added, or shifted from other projects to complete the R&D, manufacturing equipment selection and installation, testing and certification, training, sales and
    marketing. Because the product

    will likely increase in size, additional distribution facilities may be required. Logistics costs will increase as fewer units may fit in a trailer or shipping container. Manufacturers will have to balance their inventory and production as there will be increased demand for the current products just ahead of the effective date.
    Impact on the Distributor
    Distributors will be required to re- train their employees so that they understand the intricacies of the new standards and the changes to the new water heaters. As with the manufacturer, space is always a premium, and these new products will take up more space in the warehouse.
    In addition to understanding the technical changes in the product, the distributor will also have to understand and train personnel as to any new handling and logistics requirements. For example, handling an integrated heat pump water heater can be very much different from handling a standard electric water heater. It is taller and heavier. It is top-heavy because of the additional weight of the heat pump components on the top of the unit. Stack height may be impacted.
    Because the new style water heaters may require additional components for installation, such as venting material and condensate pumps, the distributor may have to stock additional SKU’s to support their customer.
    On the positive side, when products become more complex, it is less likely that they will be purchased and installed by the do-it-yourself consumer. Therefore, a potential impact of the 2015 water heater changes will be an increase in the share sold through wholesale distribution, thereby, increasing installer opportunities.




    Impact on the Installer
    Contracting business owners will strongly feel the effects of the 2015 Final Rule and the associated water heater changes. First, there are real costs associated with getting employees up to speed on the new technologies. Training on the new products will be critical. While manufacturers and distributors will provide resources to train installers, a significant amount of time will be required for training. This obviously comes at the sacrifice of revenue generating production from the employee.
    Many installations that were once a one-person job will now require two people. As water heaters get larger and heavier, they will prove to be too awkward to handle by one person. This is especially true when talking about those models over 55-gallons. Not only will the larger models require two people, the contractor or business owner may need a larger work truck to deliver the water heater to the job. For example, the height of a heat pump water heater may exceed the height of the installers van. If the product cannot be laid down horizontally, the only solution may be to acquire a larger box van or open truck.
    Condensing gas water heaters are generally a much heavier product than their standard counterparts. There are other requirements that must be met when installing these types of water heaters. First, 120 VAC is required. Electric is required for a gas water heater. Depending on the design, even gas water heaters under the 55-gallon threshold may now require electricity. Plumbing contractors will have to invest in electrical equipment (such as multi-meters) for installations and troubleshooting, and installers will have to become well-versed in electronic control systems.
    By their nature, high efficiency gas water heaters produce condensate. Many installations will require a drain somewhere in the vicinity of the water heater, and/or a condensate pump. The installer will have to understand local codes with respect to condensate disposal.
    What about the exhaust system? Condensing gas water heaters extract enough heat from the exhaust that it is generally cool enough to vent with plastic pipe, either through the sidewall or through the roof. Some models even require a plastic pipe for combustion air (intake). The venting system, usually PVC, CPVC or ABS, has to be constructed by the installer.
    The location of the old water heater may not be appropriate for the new one. A heat pump water heater generally requires a 10 ft. x 10ft. room, or a duct to adjoining room to operate properly.
    The installer must also be cognizant of the impact of noise. Whereas the existing water heater may produce very little noise, the new model may operate at a noise level which will lead to homeowner complaints if not addressed up front.
    Impact on the Homeowner
    The homeowner will have to deal with increased product and installation costs. In some cases, the water heater will have to be re-located to operate properly, or mitigate noise. While the operating cost of the new water heaters will be less because of their increased energy efficiency, it is likely that the maintenance costs will increase because of a more complex design, and the integration of electronics, blowers, fans, condensers, etc.
    In some cases, the performance of the new water heater in terms of hot water deliverability will be less than the model which was replaced.
    Conclusion
    The above represents just a brief overview of the changes in water heaters mandated for 2015, and you are encouraged to spend the time to become well-versed in these changes. The time to prepare for these changes is now.
    Last edited by ironranger; 03-02-2014, 02:46 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

    holy crapola!!! you got a link to this?
    Last edited by gear junkie; 03-02-2014, 03:21 PM.
    Buy cheap, buy twice.

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    • #3
      Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

      For those that have dissed the tankless products the past few years, time to rethink the concept.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

        So..shall I go buy a 50 gal gas fired water heater from Lowe's or Home Depot and keep it in the garage as a spare
        So I can fit it into the existing area when the current one fails?
        I'm not joking as the grief I just went through

        Cactus Man

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        • #5
          Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

          Wait till the Manuf. drop the Prices to give aways !
          I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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          • #6
            Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

            EVERY PROBLEM IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR INVENTION AND $$$$$$ Clothes dryers are Next ! This is My solar operated cloths dryer, idea! Using a 4" pulley at a window , install another to a tree about 25 ft. away. Run 3/8" cotton rope in a circle over these pulleys and secure ends together with and brass auto adjuster [i'm about to patent]. Using My wooden pins ,kept in MyWire and cloth Pin bag [ also to be patented] attach all the laundry on the lower line as You rotate the pulleys. This exercise also helps build upper chests.
            I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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            • #7
              Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

              Mandate with out engineering ! Sounds like the 1st. Generation toilets !
              I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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              • #8
                Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

                The link is from Bradford White. This isn't something new, it's been coming for many years. April 2015 is the month it starts. At first I was thinking this was going to be a nightmare, well actually it is but it's also opportunity for contractors. I know one thing for sure, water heater costs and installations are going to go WAY up in price. Rinnai is going around the country right now offering their install and service class for tankless, they're here in April and I'll be taking the class. Everything is about to change! BE PREPARED, BE READY, or stand aside. I'll be ready.

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                • #9
                  Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

                  Doesn't this really only affect commercial applications?

                  The DOE established the EF requirement for residential gas and electric water heaters over 55 gallons so as to drive manufacturers to implement new, more energy efficient technologies


                  If there's space for something over 55 gallons, wouldn't there probably be space enough for (2) 40 gallon tanks?
                  ~~

                  ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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                  • #10
                    Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

                    I was told yes you can use two water heaters instead of just one. No it's not just commercial. Even the 40's and 50's for residential will be changed, they will be taller and wider. This is just the start, more changes coming. If you have a 40 in a closet or other tight space with no extra room then you're up a chit creek. The new heaters won't fit. The answer I'm hearing is the water heater will need to be relocated, the old heaters won't be available in the current sizes. Another good article: Prepare for 2015 efficiency rule regulations | Plumbing Perspective

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                    • #11
                      Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

                      Originally posted by toolaholic View Post
                      Mandate with out engineering ! Sounds like the 1st. Generation toilets !
                      After the Water Conservation Act of 1993 we bought a tractor trailer full of 3.5 gpf American Standard toilets from a Canadian supplier. I installed the last one in my house in '97

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                      • #12
                        Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

                        Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
                        For those that have dissed the tankless products the past few years, time to rethink the concept.
                        I sell tankless heaters regularly and love them. Great profit and happy customers. They are vilified for failures and lots of repairs but I'm still waiting on my 1st failure, although I did have to replace a blower a few years ago. Sometimes I see an email notification from the bank indicating a big deposit and an email from the happy customer thanking me the same day. What a deal.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

                          Increases in water heater regulations/prices may it a lot less work selling the heater. Just tell the customer water heater regulations have caused prices to increase and the sell becomes a lot easier.

                          David

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                          • #14
                            Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

                            Originally posted by ironranger View Post
                            Even the 40's and 50's for residential will be changed, they will be taller and wider.
                            I didnt see in any of the articles where under 55 gallon tanks are mentioned. Where is a link to under 55 gallon tanks?
                            ~~

                            ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Are you ready for the 2015 water heater rule change?

                              "New energy efficiency mandates from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will take effect on April 16, 2015. They require higher energy factor (EF) ratings on virtually all residential water heating products including gas-fired, oil-fired, electric, tabletop, instantaneous gas-fired and instantaneous electric."

                              I had trouble posting the actual chart, still can't do it. Maybe someone else can? If you find the original article from Bradford White, (just Google the first paragraph of my initial post) you will see the Bradford White link, and the PDF for the chart. The chart shows current energy factors and future (post 2015). All water heaters will need to be upgraded. How they will do it I don't know.

                              Current energy factor for 40 N/G is .59, new energy factor will be .62 so it's not much so hopefully more insulation will do it. Current for 50 electric is .90, new will be .95, BUT.. for larger units it gets interesting. 75 N/G currently is .53, new law will be .74 and for an 80 electric current is .86, new will be 1.97, huge difference. The larger electric units will most likely have to be heat pump type, or install two regular 50's.
                              Last edited by ironranger; 03-02-2014, 07:00 PM.

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