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Who will the new heating efficiency standards hurt the most?

Whether you've been holding onto the water heater that came when you purchased the house or you just bought a new one a few years ago, newly passed heating efficiency standards will soon disrupt  what you thought you knew about your home's heating capabilities. Especially if you're just starting to look at replacement options for that hunk of junk chugging away in your basement, these new heating efficiency standards will hurt some homeowners worse than others.

Large homes with big heaters will take the biggest hit.Large homes with high-capacity heaters will take the biggest hit.

Large homes
If you need to provide hot water for an entire family that gets up for work and school in the morning, you need a heater that can store a large volume of water and heat it very quickly. However, Chip Cochran, a water heater expert based out of Indianapolis, told Channel 6 ABC that models over 55 gallons will see a big change.

"You will have to buy a heat pump water heater and those water heaters on top of them will have a compressor and an evaporator coil, a whole refrigeration system similar to what your refrigerator has in order to heat the water more cheaply," Cochran said. 

All of the add-ons will  bump the price of the overall system up to two or three times the original number, and it'll take plenty of billing cycles before you recoup the cost in higher energy savings.

Tight spaces
If you have a water heater below 55 gallons, you're still not safe from the influence of new heating efficiency standards. In fact, people who live in small spaces like urban apartments or recreational vehicles don't have much room for a bulky water heater. Instead, they need high-powered, compact units to fit under sinks or in closets.

However, Plumbing Perspective explained that, to make an old heater more , the multiple pieces of hardware that need to be added on will increase its overall efficiency. Though your water capacity won't grow at all, you may not be able to fit the heater back into the same place as before. 

Alternatively, you could purchase a new unit that is built according to the new specifications. However, manufacturers need to add more insulation to these heaters, which could decrease capacity by up to 2 inches in diameter – essentially, you'll be paying the same price for a smaller heater capable of delivering less hot water.

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