A hot bath or shower may be one of the best ways to feel better except when the water turns cold midway through.
It’s then you know there’s a problem – and it may be stemming from an older hot water tank.
Most water heater tanks last about 5 to 10 years. If your hot water heater dates back to 2009 or earlier, you may be in the market for a new water heater, and there are some updates you’ll need to know.
After March 16, 2015, the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act went into effect, requiring higher energy efficiencies for almost all residential tank-type gas, electric, oil and tankless gas water heaters manufactured in the U.S.
Every hot water tank is labeled with an efficiency rating, called an energy factor (EF). The higher the EF, the more efficient the tank will be. The rating measures efficiency in two ways: when it converts the power source – gas, propane or electricity – into hot water and how well it reduces the amount of energy lost. The higher the EF, the less your tank will cost you to operate every month.
For example, the new electric-powered hot water tank requirements are 95 EF, a 3 EF improvement over the previous, pre-2015 92 EF standards. While both 92 EF and 95 EF water heaters may use the same amount of fuel to heat the water in the tank, a 95 EF water heater will minimize the amount of energy wasted on the heating. A 95 EF-rated unit means 95% of your fuel dollars are being used to heat the water. The other benefit is that your water heats faster and stays hotter over time. Together, the higher efficiency water heaters are less expensive to operate, helping you keep more money in your pocket – about 10 to 20% annually.
Initial costs for a new water heater with the higher efficiency standards are greater depending on the size tank you choose – but there are some other considerations, too. When you upgrade, the new tanks are larger in height and width (circumference), which may require a custom installation. This is due to the additional insulation. Talk to your City Wide Water Heater experts – they can advise you on your options, provide you with an accurate estimate and show you how you can save on energy costs with a new, energy-efficient water heater.
In the meantime, protect the water heater you have. You can do that by following some easy maintenance tips:
- Drain the tank twice a year. Write date on tank with a sharpie.
- Keep your tank temperature at or below 120 degrees Fahrenheit
- Use the “vacation” setting when you’ll be out of town for a longer period of time on gas water heaters.
- Check the area around your tank regularly – when you see water leaking or a rust build-up, it may be time for a water heater checkup.
- Have a drip pan installed under the water heater.
- Check water pressure, if too much it can be a problem.