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Should I Get a New Water Heater Before My Old One Breaks?

Most homeowners don’t give much thought to their water heater until they wake up one morning to a large puddle of water in their utility room or basement or jump in the shower and are sprayed with ice-cold water. Then, their water heater becomes top of mind!

Since most residential water heaters only last on average about 10 years, flood damage becomes a harsh reality for homeowners with an older tank. According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, water heater failures are one of the top five sources of residential water losses and can cost homeowners an average of $4,000 in repairs.

Is it Time to Update Your Water Heater?

As a general rule of thumb, if your water heater is more than a decade old and starts acting up, a repair might not be worth the cost. Why keep throwing good money at an old, inefficient, problematic water heater when you can upgrade to one that will deliver maximum performance and efficiency?

This is a good way to look at investing in a new water heater, but keep the following consequences of new regulations in mind:

  • Purchase prices have gone up. Since efficient water heater designs are more complicated to manufacture, purchase costs have gone up. Still, the increased efficiency you enjoy once your new water heater is installed begins to pay you back immediately.
  • Installation costs have increased. New water heaters have additional insulation to improve efficiency. This makes the tanks at least 2 inches taller and wider than older models, which could require you to install your water heater in a new location due to size constraints. If so, this could greatly increase installation costs. Even if you can leave the water heater in the same place, additional venting requirements and heavier units increase the complexity and difficulty of installation, driving costs up.
  • Maintenance costs could increase. More complicated units are more difficult to service, which has caused some contractors to increase what they charge for water heater maintenance visits.

What are the Updated Water Heater Regulations?

In essence, the new regulations are based on decreasing water heater Energy Factor (EF) requirements. The lower the EF, the less energy a water heater consumes.

Virtually all residential water heaters have new EF requirements, including gas, electric, oil and tankless water heaters. Units over 55 gallons, which are commonly found in residences, are seeing the biggest changes in order to comply with the new energy efficiency standards.

For example, electric water heaters over 55 gallons must be a hybrid electric heat pump water heater and gas models must use condensing technology. Every change goes toward making new water heaters more efficient.

Why Upgrade Your Water Heater?

Technology has continued to improve over the years. Some of the reasons to upgrade your water heater include:

  • Save energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The NAECA hopes to reduce emissions by more than 170 metric tons between 2015 and 2044, or the equivalent of removing 33.8 million cars from the road.
  • Save homeowners money on energy costs in the long run. The NAECA estimates energy savings of $63 billion for the whole country between 2015 and 2044.

Based on all this information, are you feeling ready to update your water heater? Have a professional plumber, like the ones at Mr. Rooter, size and install a new, compliant water heater. Then rely on Rainbow International® for tips to help prevent water damage in your home this year. For a free water damage mitigation estimate, please contact us today.

 

For Further Reading:

Inspect Your Water Heater for Potential Problems

Water Heater Regulations 2015