Water heaters fail in time. I’ve had water heaters that have lasted less than one year, and some have lasted for decades. Usually, when the water heater does fail, or begin to leak, you can just buy another one like it and replace it. The difficulty of that job varies by how easy the water heater is to get to and how much damage a little leakage does.
Next year, in April of 2015, our U.S. Department of Energy has new standards that will apply to the manufacturing of water heaters that will mean you will likely not be able to buy a water heater just like the one you are replacing.
The new EnergyStar standards require more insulation. So, a water heater with the same capacity as the one you are replacing will be about 4 inches larger in diameter. In other words, in many cases, it might not fit anymore.
If your water heater is a tight area, like a closet or other enclosed area, you might want to consider replacing it before the new standards take effect if your current water heater is getting along in years.
If it is in a wide open space, on slab in a garage for instance, the new standards won’t be much of a problem other than the price of a new water heater will go up with the changes.
Another thing to consider, if your water heater is in your attic, the attic access might not accept the larger diameter.
My friend, Teri Lussier from Dayton Ohio, brought this issue to my attention. She looked into the impact as well as the costs:
Let’s talk about costs. Understand that these costs do not include any labor or installation charges, just the price of a water heater alone. Currently a new plain Jane water heater will run you about $300.00. The newer standard water heater will run about $500.00-$600.00. A tankless water heater will be about twice that, and installation will likely increase the cost to about $2000-$3000.00. – TheBrickRanch.com
Looking into the situation with the water heater in a home is going to impact home sale transactions for the next decade for both buyers and sellers. Don’t be caught by surprise in your transaction. Actions you could take in the next few months could save you as a homeowner hundreds or up to thousands of dollars. Call me if you want to discuss how these mandates might impact your next home purchase or sale.