Heads up, homeowners: As of April 16, if your water heater fails, you may be faced with a costly replacement.
This month, new federal regulations kick in, mandating that newly manufactured water heaters meet more stringent energy efficiency standards. The good news is that the change is expected to result in approximately $63 billion in energy bill savings and a significant decrease in carbon dioxide emissions.
The bad news is that the new models will be more costly, in some cases as much as double or even triple the current cost, according to some experts. Increases are expected to be highest on units that hold 55 gallons of water or more. (View models and prices of water heaters currently for sale at Home Depot here)
In addition, many models will now have more insulation on the sides and top, making them a few inches wider and taller. This can mean expensive retrofitting requirements when replacing a water heater that is situated in a particularly tight space.
The new regulations take effect April 16. At that time, wholesalers and manufacturers can sell their existing inventories, but they won’t be allowed to manufacture any new products that don’t meet the standards.
While the new regulations may pinch the pocketbook with upfront costs for water heaters, it’s important to remember that in the long run many will benefit.
“Your water heater is the second largest consumer of energy in your home right behind your heating and cooling system. So, any improvement in your water heaters efficiency is going to pay dividends in your monthly utility bills,” reminds Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List.
Read everything you need to know about water heaters here on the US Department of Energy’s website.