by Sarah Curry
Director of Fiscal Policy Studies
This weekend my hot water heater exploded. So, like any normal couple, my husband and I called our plumber to install a new hot water heater. We started chatting with him about the installation and he mentioned a new energy regulation that we are lucky we missed by installing a new one now instead of after April next year. I asked him for some information about this new regulation, and it lives up to a normal regulation that will end up costing the consumer more money.
The new energy efficiency mandate is from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and will take effect on April 16, 2015. They will require higher energy factor (EF) ratings on almost all residential water heating products which include gas-fired, oil-fired, electric, tabletop, instantaneous gas-fired and instantaneous electric.
Tankless systems already exceed these EF requirements, and all other water heating products manufactured before the DOE mandates take effect can still be bought and installed after the changeover date.
When I asked our plumber how this will effect us in the future, his focus was on the cost. According to our plumber, cost estimates from wholesalers are increasing $450-$700 per water heater. This does not include the labor or installation, just the increase in what a water heater would cost today. In addition to the cost of the unit increasing, there are also changes to the installation. The new regulations will require vent changes or reconfiguration, both of which will require permits and also increase the cost of installation. Depending on your model, a new electrical outlet will be required and will require the service of both an electrician and a plumber to install a new hot water heater, this will require an electrical and plumbing permit which will also increase the cost.
End of story – the government has imposed more strict regulations upon citizens which will drive up the cost of living in America. This regulation is about water heaters, what will it be next?