Uncertainty surrounds old heaters and new efficiency standards
When you wake up for your morning shower, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you're about to get blasted by a jet of ice-cold water. If you're using an old storage-type water heater, this has always been a possibility. However, new efficiency standards are set to kick in April 15, 2015, and the only thing that's certain is that nobody knows how storage heaters will handle the updates.
On the surface, the new efficiency standards will make old heaters less wasteful. However, there's no oversight in how manufacturers actually achieve these energy savings.
"The manufacturers re-design their products and production processes to bring costs down for their products," Harvey Sachs, Ph.D., senior fellow at the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy, told Contractor magazine.
"There's just no way to make sure that storage-type heater manufacturers aren't cutting corners."
Whether sellers simply tack on layers of insulation to the outside of the tank or use a superpowered electric converter to draw more energy from your home, there's just no way to make sure that storage-type heater manufacturers aren't cutting corners on your heater just to reach the new efficiency standards.
It's not just energy concerns where homeowners are left in the dark – AO Smith explained that it's near impossible to judge just how big your new heater will have to be. If you don't want to compromise on tank size, you'll have to look for a heater with insulation on the outside. AO Smith noted that the average increase in diameter size will be about 2 inches, but that can fluctuate depending on the volume of the tank.
On the other hand, if you don't have the space for a bigger heater, you'll have to settle with a smaller tank, less hot water and the risk of waking up to a shower that feels like a bucket of ice.
Tank-fully there's hope
If you don't want to deal with the uncertainty of storage water heaters come April 2015, tankless water heaters are the way to go. Already several times more energy efficient than even the newest storage units, tankless water heaters only draw on your home's grid when you need hot water.
If you're worried about size, whole-house tankless water heaters are still small enough to fit flush against a wall in the basement or even tucked away in an upstairs closet.
You have enough worries when it comes to being a homeowner. Buy tankless and don't let your water heating needs become another one.