New Federal Energy-Efficiency Standards go into effect for water heaters on April 16, 2015

Completed by the Department of Energy (DOE) in 2010, the standards apply to natural gas, oil and electric tank water heaters.  Water heating is on average the second largest household energy expense behind space heating, representing about 18% of total household energy consumption in the U.S.

The water heaters used in most homes will get a modest boost in efficiency, while larger units, those 55 gallons or more, will see a higher boost.  Manufacturers are switching to new technologies to achieve those gains which can cut utility bills by 25 to 50 percent, depending on the technology used.   

See the chart below for new energy factor requirements as they apply to natural gas appliances.



York County Natural Gas carries water heaters that meet all standards currently in place.   Water heating products manufactured before the DOE mandates take effect in April, can still be bought and installed after the changeover date.  Once the inventory is depleted, all water heaters will have to meet the 2015 Energy Factor requirements.  



Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Gas Fired Residential Water Heaters



Energy Factor Explained

According to The Energy Efficiency Standards group, efficiency metric for residential water heaters is the energy factor (EF), which 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 EF accounts for:

  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 (for 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.


What does this mean for homeowners?

Tanks LESS THAN 55 Gallons    Tanks MORE THAN 55 Gallons

The typical home has a water heater that holds less than 55 gallons.  The new standards raise the efficiency by an average of 4%.  To achieve this increase, manufacturers will improve heat exchangers and add insulation that will increase the cost and size of the tank.  


Larger heaters, holding 55 gallons and up, will see a bigger jump in efficiency gains causing manufacturers to switch to next-generation technologies.   The new standards can be met using an electric heat pump, gas condensing technology or tankless water heaters.

Cost – Costs for standard tanks manufactured after April 16, 2015 will increase about 25%.


Cost - The electric heat pump and gas condensing storage heater are both 2-3x the cost of current models putting them in line with the cost of tankless.

Size -   Tank size will increase 1 to 2-inches, and may impact replacement of water heaters currently located in tight spaces such as attics, closets or crawl spaces.  

 Size - varies and could affect the placement of the unit.  Tankless models are compact, about the size of a carry-on suitcase and can be mounted indoors or out.


Why Tankless Water Heaters Are a Great Option

Tankless systems already exceed the new EF requirements.


Rinnai Series Water Heaters have an efficiency factor of .82, which translates to 82% efficient.

Condensing Water Heaters by Takagi and Navien are 95-98% efficient.


Prominent among the selling points of tankless heaters are the efficiency factors and the ability to produce an endless stream of hot water.  Much of a tankless heater’s efficiency stems from the fact that it has no standby loss —no pilot light and no stored water loss.  Tankless heaters work great in most replacements, but are not suitable for every application.  If you're Thinking Tankless, we'll come out to your home to evaluate the installation options and properly size the unit before giving you a final quote.




The unique advantage of tankless water heaters is that they’re small enough to fit where storage models will not.  About the size of a small suitcase a tankless heater can be installed on any wall or in compact spaces. These wall-mounted units can be installed on the interior or exterior wall of the home to free up valuable space.  A digital controlpad allows the homeowner to set the temperature of the water to his/her preference and the lifespan of a tankless is longer offering a warranty typically twice that of a storage style heater.   RequestQuote2  

GO TANKless for as little as $47 per month for 36 months*.

(after a 30% downpayment)

*Financing is available to qualified customers at 0% for 36 months with a 30% down paymentSome restrictions may apply. Price based on RL75i suitable for 2-3 bathroom home; includes standard installation,York County permit, tax and electric to gas residential rebate of $400.