New federal regulations will affect next water heater purchase - KCTV5

New federal regulations will affect next water heater purchase

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Most current water heaters under the Department of Energy's new efficiency requirements are not good enough, and buying another one means it will be bigger. Most current water heaters under the Department of Energy's new efficiency requirements are not good enough, and buying another one means it will be bigger.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Changes are coming to water heaters, which will make them taller, wider and more expensive.

Most current water heaters under the Department of Energy's new efficiency requirements are not good enough, and buying another one means it will be bigger. 

On April 16, the government has new standards when it comes to how efficient water heaters are, and if homeowners get a new one, they may have to make some extra room.

"A lot of people have them sitting in an open area, but there are cases where it is in a closet, and it's not large enough to accommodate a larger diameter water heater," said Erick Kern, a manger at A.B. May.

The new water heaters are 2 to 8 inches taller and 2 to 6 inches wider, depending on the model. There's also changes in how it can be installed.

"That's going to be part of the cost difference, the way it's vented or the way electricity is used to fire the heater," Kern said. "It's not going to be the old adage to where you can just go grab a hot water heater off the shelf like you used to be able to. Now it's going to take some professional installation to get your water heater installed."

These new models will also be more expensive.

"Probably 20 to 30 could be more than four percent more in costs, and obviously the labor is going to be greater because of the installation procedures to install new hot water heaters," Kern said.

Because the units are bigger, that will effect shipping and logistics. The new regulations will also effect the manufacturer, distributor, retailer and installer.

But there is some good news. When one does need to get one of the new models, it will save them money on their utility bills - anywhere between 25 to 50 percent.

A.B. May says once the older models are sold out, they will be gone for good.

The average life of a water heater is about seven years, so even if it was recently replaced, it may be a good idea to talk to a professional if you'll need to make any structural changes for the next one.

Click here for more information about the new regulations.

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