New Federal National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) Standards for water heaters April 16, 2015.

These new federal National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) standards only apply to new water heaters manufactured after April 15, 2015.

For most of us they fall in 3 categories in our areas. Natural gas, Propane (LP) or electric and mainly affects the water heaters greater than 55 gallons. However, these standards have increased the size of the water heaters due to new insulation requirements and increased the cost to manufacture them. The main reason was due to the increase in energy factor (EF). The Energy Factor (EF) indicates a water heater’s overall energy efficiency based on the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel consumed over a typical day. The higher the EF, the more energy efficient the water heater.

The EF is measured in three ways:

  1. Recovery efficiency – how efficiently the heat from the energy source is transferred to the water.
  2. Standby losses – the percentage of heat loss per hour from the stored water compared to the heat content of the water (water heaters with storage tanks).
  3. Cycling losses – the loss of heat as the water circulates through a water heater tank, and/or inlet and outlet pipes.

There is another factor to consider and that is the cost of the energy it takes to heat the water or any appliance. By far the least expensive energy source is natural gas, based on cost of the energy used, upfront product costs and reliability with stable pricing.

Old water heater standards prior to April 15, 2015 to new standards

Gas fired units had an energy factor of .67% that has been raised to .8012%

Electric units had and energy factor of .97% that has been increased to 2.057%

As the numbers indicate the gas fired units either natural gas or LP were raised .1312% whereas, the electric units had to be raised 1.087 which h is more than double the past energy efficient standards. This is because gas units are much less expensive to operate than electric units. A very simple measure is to look at the yellow Department of Energy’s Energy Guide labels that show the average cost for each appliance. You will easily see that natural gas is less expensive to operate annually than electric or LP.