Water Heaters Getting Bigger, Causing Problems for Homeowners

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All water heating units manufactured after April 16, 2015 are 2 inches wider, causing problems for homeowners whose houses don't have room to fit these larger models. Existing stock is estimated to be depleted by the end of summer, so Village Plumbing is starting to let customers know about this change.

The US Department of Energy has mandated changes in efficiency standards to the NAECA (National Appliance Energy Conservation Act) which has forced water heater manufacturers to include extra insulation between the inner tank and the outer shell. The intent is to keep the water hotter, thereby increasing the efficiency ratings. This will potentially spell trouble for owners of homes built before 2000. The new heaters will be approximately 2 inches wider and at least 2 inches higher than current models, depending on the make and model.

“The problem is that a lot of builders were only allowing 24 inch wide cubby holes built into the back garage wall,” said Bob Andronaco, owner of Village Plumbing in Henderson, Nevada. “The 50 gallon heaters barely fit in these areas as it is, with less than an inch to spare on each side. Adding 2 inches to the width of the heater makes this problematic. A person would have to hire a carpenter and drywall man to make the opening big enough for the new heater. That work could end up costing as much as the heater replacement itself.”

Another problem will present itself for water heaters that are currently located in apartment and condominium closets. While the closet itself might be big enough, the doorway may not. "Even if the space for your water heater is big enough to accommodate the new standard size, you still may face some headaches", Andronaco said. The units will also be heavier and more cumbersome to handle so some installations that would have been manageable for one service person, may now require two.

And while the change hasn’t happened yet, it is all the talk in the plumbing industry. Manufacturing of these new units must begin as of April 16, 2015. Existing stock is estimated to be depleted by the end of summer, so Village Plumbing is starting to let their customers in Las Vegas know about this change, especially if they will have an issue in the future. No more water heaters in the old size will be made; once they are sold out, they are gone. The average life span of a heater is 7-10 years. Experts advise speaking to an experienced plumber before your unit gives out to see what kind of structural changes you will need to make to accommodate the new models.

Learn more about the new regulations from the Department of Energy at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/product.aspx/productid/27.

About Village Plumbing
Village Plumbing offers a full range of services to residents of Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada. With decades of experience under their belt, Village Plumbing can tackle any job, from regular maintenance to emergency repair and pipe replacement. For more information, visit http://www.villageplumbinglv.com

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Bob Andronaco
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