Why is my water heater so much bigger? | R. A. Styron | Chesapeake plumbing experts

The Change:

The Department of Energy is contiunously working to make all appliances as energy efficient as possible, this includes your water heater, as well.

Back in 2015 The Department of Energy updated the water heater efficiency standards, almost doubling the efficiency ratings. The updated ratings forced water heater manufacturers to begin producing water heaters at a much higher efficiency levels.


The Result:

To be able to reach the new efficiency levels manufacturers are adding at least one extra inch of insulation around the tank of the water heater. I know that one extra inch of insulation doesn’t sound like much but it makes a big difference.

The standard 30- to 50-gallon water heater will increase in size from 18-20 inches to 20-22 inches around and be slightly taller.

Water heaters are, a lot of times, installed in attics, garages, and closet spaces where they are slightly out of sight and out of mind. Because they are usually in a tight space the added couple of inches in diameter makes it impossible to replace them without modifying the space first.

Your Options:

If you find yourself in this bind you will be happy to know that there are several options out there for you.

Depending on how tight the space is you can always consider adapting the space to ….  the added size of the water heater. This can get expensive quickly if you are not careful. Moving the water heater to a new location is also always an option. This is also come with the added expensive of piping the new water heater into its new home.

Downsizing the water heater is another option you may want to consider. With the new regulations in place you may not even need the same size water heater in your home any longer. This option all depends on your hot water consumption, be sure to speak with your plumber before making this decision.

The last option would be to go tankless. Tankless water heaters are the newest addition to the world of water heaters and also require some additional work. Often gas and electrical lines must be modified to handle the added appliance. The initial install cost will assuredly be much higher but the long term savings are very beneficial. You can see all of the pros and cons on our Tankless Vs. Traditional Tank Water Heaters blog.

While these new regulations may mean more money out of your pocket now, you’ll be happy to know that the long term results are well worth it. The environment and your pockets will be better off with the added efficiency. If you need help deciding what option works best for your home we are your one stop shop. R. A. Styron can provide and install any brand or model, give us a call to get your estimate today.



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