The Cost Of A New Water Heater Is Going Up In 2015

If you don't already know it, this is news you can use: the cost of your next water heater is going up. New federal regulations take charge on April 16, 2015 which will require all newly manufactured water heaters to be more efficient—and it's raising the cost. Does that mean you should rush to buy one before the changes take place? Here's a look at the figures.

The Effect Of The New Regulations

Since 1990, there have been numerous updates to the standards of efficiency that manufacturers have been required to meet, but the newest updates are the strictest. They no longer give consumers the option of buying anything except a high-efficiency model.

The new regulations essentially require more insulation and electronic lighting (instead of a pilot light). The increased polyurethane insulation is formed around the inner steel tank, which causes the new tanks to be larger than the comparable old tanks (gallon to gallon).

The Effect On Your Wallet

An older model 40 gallon tank costs less than $550 installed, but the new model will cost $600–$700 installed, a difference of $50–$150. Your yearly savings by using one of the newer 40 gallon tanks, however, is only going to be around $14, so it's going to take some time to recover your initial costs. 

In addition, there are costs that some consumers may come to bear that others don't. Do you have your water heater in a narrow space in the basement, or built into a small cabinet? You may not be able to fit a new one into the same space, which can mean tearing apart a cabinet, moving pipes, or changing vents around to manage condensation. 

In addition, a lot of homeowners are willing to tackle their own water heater installation, but the new models are bigger, heavier and harder to manipulate into spaces without assistance.

The Choice You Face

Should you rush to buy a new water heater before the changes take place?

The average life expectancy of a water heater is about 8 to 12 years. If your water heater is nearing the 8 year mark, you should consider buying a new water heater before the changes take effect. Other signs that your water heater is struggling and should be replaced include:

  • one or more repair calls in the last few years
  • leaking around the base
  • problems heating the water quickly
  • problems maintaining an even water temperature
  • problems with the thermostat

A major consideration, of course, should be the space that you've got available for your next water heater. If it's large enough to support the new one, and you can wait, you may decide that the price increase isn't enough to lose another year or two with your current heater.

If you're unsure about whether or not you should replace your water heater, contact a local plumber like Eddie B Plumbing and have your current water heater examined. That'll give you the opportunity to learn whether or not you have time, and if there are any real concerns about space when it comes to the new heaters.