Your water heater, if properly maintained, should last you 8 to 12 years. And once it hits the ten year mark, it will usually begin to operate less efficiently which will increase your cost to use this aging equipment. Most people replace their water heater when their old one goes out on them and, most of the time, this is a fine approach to take.
But a new change by the Department of Energy (DOE) may have you rethinking waiting for your old water heater to die before getting a new one. Of course if you have significant drainage issues we do sewer drain video camera inspections!
New government standards means more expensive water heaters
The DOE is tightening standards and forcing manufacturers to make water heaters more energy efficient. Gas, electric and oil powered water heaters are all affected by these new guidelines. And the larger the capacity of the water heater, the more strict the new standards are that go into effect in April of this year. The new laws will require water heaters to be between 20% to more than 200% more efficient than older water heaters depending on size and fuel type. And these more aggressive efficiency requirements for home appliances means that when you replace your unit, it will cost more.
While you can expect lower energy bills due to the improved energy efficiency, this is a long-term savings and water heaters purchased and installed after April 16, 2015 will cost more than those on the market now and that’s more money out of your pocket now. Newer water heaters may also require more insulation which means more space will be required. And, if the space your water heater is in now is already tight, you may have to move it or switch to a more space-conserving option which can also be costly.
Check out this cost-saving strategy if you have an older water heater
If your water heater is on its last leg, is close to a decade old (or older), is not working well or if you were planning on replacing your water heater because you’re remodeling or for any other reason, you should consider doing it sooner rather than later. You don’t need to replace a perfectly good water heater, but if yours is already ailing, taking care of it within the next couple of months can save you a good bit of money.
If you have a standard capacity water heater (i.e. not ultra-large), the current models are already more energy efficient than the older model currently installed in your home so you can still take advantage of the savings on your energy bill without the downside of paying more for a more costly unit when the prices increase in mid-April of this year. If you’re not sure how old your water heater is, it’s relatively easy to check.
Replace Water Heater Checklist
Find the label on your appliance that contains the serial numbers – you may need to pull back the insulating blanket or wrap. If it’s not obvious what the year of manufacture is, write down or snap a pic of the number then click here to view a water heater dating chart to double check. The codes vary by manufacturer, but two to four of the digits are the year it was made.
If your water heater is more than eight to ten years old, you’ll want to get it checked out. In addition to age, here are some signs that your water heater may be going bad on you:
- Rusty water coming out of your hot water faucets
- Sediment or muddy water coming out of your hot water faucets
- Cloudy water coming out of your hot water faucets
- Metallic smell or taste to your hot water
- Loud cracks and pops when the water heater is in use
- Leaking water around the water heater
- Taking longer than normal to replenish available hot water