On April 16, 2015, There will be significant changes to water heater energy factor (EF) requirements as the result of updates to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA). These new requirements call for higher energy factor (EF) ratings on virtually all residential gas, electric, oil and tankless gas water heaters, completely altering the water heater landscape, NAECA also affects some light-duty commercial water heaters.
While NAECA will certainly present a certain level of challenges, a potential impact of the changes will be an increase in teh share of water heaters sold through wholesale distribution, thereby, increasing installer opportunities. As products and installations become more sophisticated, it is less likely that these water heaters will be purchased and installed by the do-it-yourself consumer.
How are Contractors Effected?
- Many of the water heaters you’ve installed in the past will now be larger in size and weight (i.e. condensing units, heat pumps, etc.)
- These size and weight changes will affect how you store, specify, transport, and install water heaters.
- There will also be new technologies introduced that may require you (and your employees) to participate in manufacturer or wholesaler sponsored training.
- In cases where your customers cannot replace an existing water heater with a similar model, you will need to provide them with additional guidance on their water heater replacement options.
- Some of the NAECA product options may require you to incorporate an electrical feed, venting, or condensate disposal into an installation where none of these factors existed with the original water heater.
- With many of the NAECA compliant water heaters becoming larger in size and weight, the space you’ve traditionally allotted to these products may have to change.
- Since some of these products will also require changes in venting, power, and condensate removal, these will also have to factor into the design of your water heater space.
- Some of the added features or new technologies, such as heat pumps, will introduce noise level factors that you did not have to consider in the past when selecting product placement.
- These installations in your new single or multi-family housing structures will also have to take into account any future replacement situations.