Don’t Let New Water Heater Rules Surprise You

Leave a Comment - 116



Subject: Water

Pure milky White for 12 yrs at bathroom sink temp sometimes reaching 140 also takes around 10 seconds to go from luke warm to excessively hot tall apartment building any solutions?

Rich Pappa

Subject: Water Heater Watts for 30 Amp Circuit

Getting different responses from Plumbers.

I have a 30 amp circuit breaker and was replacing my low boy 30 gal, with a 20 gallon 2000 Watt or 20 Gal 3800 Watt Hot Water Heater.

Some plumbers stated it would be a fire hazard if I didn't change the circuit to a 20amp.
How could having more capacity be a fire hazard?
Others have stated it would be better to buy a 30 gallon 4500 watt water heater.

Do you have to buy a higher watt Water Heater if you have a 30 Amp?


Subject: Combination Gas Water Heater and Boiler

We are schedule to have our old gas boiler and hot water heater replaced with a single boiler that will supply both heat and hot water. The unit and installation are quite expensive, and we are unsure of the pros and cons. We have been told that that the newer gas hot water heaters many not fit our space, and that the combination heater is more effiecient. Still, will not be available for use hot water in both showers, or washing machine and shower at the same time. (???)

The cost we've been quoted is about $10,000 for everything (unit, plumbing, installation, removal). We would appreciate feedback from anyone who has this unit. Does anyone have this? Would appreciate some insight.


Subject: Love the Tankless water heaters!

Constantly heating a tankful (30 - 100 or more gallons) of water 24 hours a day, every day just so you can use hot water periodically for a shower, a load of wash, dishwasher is just ridiculous, wasteful, a waste of money and fuel, and produces more carbon emissions. It also does not save you money in the long run just because it may be less money to purchase and install because a tankless water heater lasts 2 -3 times longer.
I love my tankless Rinnai water heater. I inspect homes and their water heaters and always recommend replacing with a tankless heater. Tank heaters not only are wasteful and need to be heated to the temperature on the thermostat (should be no more than 120 degrees F, but I see many people keep it hotter), but they take up a lot more space, most have to be vented through the roof, they corrode and leak and sometimes flood out your house or basement, most people don't do the required maintenance, (which is more than a tankless) and the average useful life is about 8 - 12 years, probably more like 6 or 8. They provide most of the tank heaters a 6 year warranty, unless you pay a lot more for the newer, sealed combustion, direct vent with fan assist and condensing unit, you may get 12 year warranty.
So, the Tankless heater is just that "tankless" and is a small box that gets installed on the wall, takes up minimal amount of space, does not breach or leak out, and only heats up when there is a call or demand for hot water. It will also keep providing you hot water for that long shower or if there are back to back showers, versus the tank type that will not provide endless amounts of hot water once the heated water inside the tank is used, because it needs to heat up another 30, 50 or however many gallons your tank is. The tankless unit is much more efficient and lets out much less carbon emissions and less heat energy is lost, and so it can be directly vented out of the side of the house with a PVC (plastic) flue vent. I was not happy when I came home one day to 35 of the 40 gallons of hot water on the floor. If I got home any later, it would have been a major flood since the water supply is open to the tank. I spent a little more for my tankless but it is so worth it.
It will last at least 2 - 3 times longer than the tank that just turned 10. It takes up no space at all and leaves me more space around the furnace area and utility sink. I only have to do a quick short drain to clear any sediment or minerals that may have gotten into the water valve (5 minutes annually). It provides me with endless hot water (I set it at 115 degrees and it is perfect) whenever I need it. I could shower and wash dishes or laundry at the same time. It is safe and and will never flood.


Subject: tankless

ok I check out the Rinnai the customer service is nice how the tanks works is awesome my question are there other tanks out there thats as great but electric?


Subject: I have turned off my water

I have turned off my water heater (tank), shut off the gas (and pilot light) and gone on vacation for 2 weeks. When I returned, I turned on the water main, and started using hot water immediately. It was not until the next morning, during my shower that wasn't hot enough, that it occurred to me that I forgot to turn on the gas and light the pilot. My point is, new tanks are so well insulated that tankless heaters are already things of the past. They are now for space efficiency, at the cost of energy efficiency and water consumption.

New condensing tanks are far more efficient than tankless units, evidenced by the PVC ventilation abilities (the hot exhaust is recirculated until it cools enough that the vapor in the air condenses, putting ALL of that energy into the water), versus expense stainless steel vent pipe that must be used for a tankless install to get all that super-heated, wasted-energy air out of the house.


Subject: Thankless Tankless

I have installed many tankless, on demand, water heaters over the years. Some were top-of-the-line, high dollar, German made units, (well made, study looking units). I have never seen one that provided water hot enough for normal showering. NEVER!

Tankless units had nothing but complaints, many taken out and replaced with the 'old style'. A few that were augmented with solar water heaters to bring the supply side temp up, that worked...barely.
Even had to take one back out that was installed in a dog pound because it could not provide hot water even warm enough for the dogs.

Of course, maybe they've come out with some new type that I am not aware of, always a possibility.
Hey, get one anyway, maybe the dogs and I are wrong.

Just some practical, real world experience from a guy who's not trying to sell you anything.

Judy Daivis

Subject: Water tanks

I would just like my water tanks to last more than a year and a half like my last one or three years longer than the one before. Am I the only one with this problem.???


Subject: Had the same problem with water heaters not lasting.

I had the same problem, 3 water heaters replaced in less than 10 years back in the late 90's to early 2000.
We lived in an apartment back then in Medford, Massachusetts. We or the owner of the building did not drain out the bottom of the water heater that collected all the mineral deposits and rust in the city water. Therefore, our water heaters rusted out at the bottom every few years. We learned that someone is suppose to drain out the bottom of the water heater every so many months and the amount of rust that came out was amazing. Also, the amount of rust build-up in the tank will effect the efficiency of hot water production. Ideally, disconnect the water heater, drain out and tip it to flush with clean water all the gunk at bottom. When we moved into another apartment years later we had a gas fired furnace with a glass tube water fill. We could see the rust in the glass tube and would clear that out regularly.
In addition the Brita and Pur water filters for drinking water; we were lucky if we got a month of use from each filter.
You did not say why your water heater did not last, what the problem was? so this may be the problem?
Buy a water heater with an extended warranty and a service plan. Have your plumber drain out and flush at least twice a year. Buy from a different place or better model.
Even though it's years later and we own our own home now. My 2 year old water heater needs to be cleaned out and flush drained. My plumber says we don't have to do that... really, not with my experience.
I've seen a huge difference in less rust since many city pipes were replaced and a new ? water treatment plant was opened several years ago, But we still only get a month out of Pur and Brita filters.
Anytime there's a fire close by and the fire department opens up a fire hydrant all that settled rust comes through the city water lines.
Next project is to see if there's a filter device that can be installed to the water pipes coming into the home that can be easily cleaned or replaced every few months.
Hope this helps.

Rodney D. Hays

Subject: Incorrect terms

I know this is nitpicking but it is high time that consumers learn some basic terminology. Otherwise they should not be left unsupervised. Please tell people to correctly refer to the device that provides hot water in their homes. It IS a water heater. It is NOT a HOT water heater. Water heaters are fed by cold water lines and heat that water. I guess the same people that can't grasp that concept are the same ones that say " VIN numbers"(Vehicle Identification Number numbers?), "PIN numbers" (Personal Identification Number numbers?) and "Escalator Down" (Duh, escalate means to go up). No, it does not take a Philadelphia lawyer to use proper terminology.


Subject: Correct English

Rodney, I think you went to the same school that I did. Did you learn that it is incorrect to say 'you and I' every time it is used to show two persons together, regardless of the placement in a sentence? I am so tired of hearing people say you and I incorrectly! Sometimes I wonder if anyone has been taught sentence structure in the last twenty years or so! Even persons that you might think are prestigious and learned are saying such as 'He said to you and I that he didn't know his grammar.' You and I should never be used after prepositions and objectively, etc. If you don't have the initiative to learn correct English, just say the sentence quietly to yourself, leaving out the 'you and' part, and think... 'Would I say...He said to I that he didn't know his grammar.' Of course not; he would say 'He said to you and me that he didn't know his grammar.' Political correctness has been the downfall of this nation!
And are kids still being taught conjugation of verbs so that they can speak understandably and correctly? Oh, the days of yore!

lloyd erdmier

Subject: wall mounted

would it still be cheaper to have a wall mounted water heater. Its cheaper and you still get enough hot water for just about any thing you have. It may cost a little more,but you get what u pay for.

DeWayne Self

Subject: More Government Intrusion

Isn't it nice to live in a "Nanny State", soon to be a Communist State? Someone let me know when I can mow my grass and use it for gas. Until then obammy, gore and kerry can school you guys on "global warming". Jus' sayin'


Subject: more balance

Would like to see more balanced articles in the future, as this one seems to opportunistically push soon-to-be obsolete merchandise.

My feeling is that incandescent bulbs and inefficient hot water heaters should be available in the marketplace - and taxed accordingly to the pollution they inflict upon us all.

Lighting technology is racing forward; for me, I need a new hot water heater and will wait until technology & innovation deliver the right product at the right price.

Capturing externalized costs, like extra pollution and CO2, reveals the true price of a product; in the end that equals more freedom, especially for future generations.


Subject: Incandescent vs. new technology lights

In reference to being taxed accordingly, perhaps you should read up on the great amount of mercury content in these new technology lights we are now using, and also the cancer warnings in reference to using them directly above one's head... as in our reading lamps hanging just above us when we are seated in our lounge chairs, at our computer desks, etc. Or the extra risks involved to all our young people who are carrying their cell phones on their persons, right against their skin, and for some young women who are carrying them in their bras! (Thank your government regulations for more of these new hazards to our health! Oh, well, I guess that's okay since the elites intend to diminish our population immensely, anyway! Read the plans of the New World Order; see the Gideon Stones ideals for all of us peons! Yes, it is time for the people of this land to wake up, become educated about what is going on around them, and get their heads off FB, etc. & playing Candy Land in order to see the forests, instead of just looking at the trees... or hugging them, or whatever it is that the ill informed are doing!!!) I don't mean to sound so critical but can't we think for ourselves anymore??? God help us all!!!

Richard Rosner

Subject: Wrong effort

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Water heating is easy and doesn't need improvement, at least not like what is proposed. Have you ever touched the side of your water heater? Does it feel hot or even warm? It has plenty of insulation on it now it doesn't need more. Feel your hot water pipes, they are burning hot when the water is running, they need the insulation on them. Do you run the hot water for minutes before it gets warm to your sink, shower etc? You need a circulator to give you instant hot water so you can stop wasting it. It will even give you more storage in the pipes if they are well insulated. As mentioned, a present gas water heater works fine in a power outage, load it up with electronics and it won't work then. Electric resistance Hot water heaters are 100% efficient its just the electric from the utility is too expensive, shouldn't we be looking to lower those costs and make them more efficient and make everything electric? Sediment builds up on the bottom of oil and gas fired water heaters insulating the heat from the water making them less efficient I don't see an automatic drain valve proposed. Do fools propose these changes? How about thinking this through before subjecting more rules on us.


Subject: too much government!!!

I'm SO tired of our whatever level....telling us we HAVE to do these things to safe....or be more energy conscious! First of all I THOUGHT I lived in the LAND OF THE FREE...HOME OF THE BRAVE.... I get more and more and more disappointed every day with the way Americans have lost their back bone. Too stinking many programs to take care of people who need to get off their butt and start pulling their weight! The government is enabling those people and killing the rest of us! I could go on and on.....y'all get the mist of it! PEOPLE....STAND UP AND MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN! BE PROUD AMERICANS....or we won't be allowes to very soon. This water heater thing is only a teeny tiny example of what's to come if we don't unite and clean house!


Subject: Carbon Monoxide detectors

I just learned that my house has carbon monoxide that cannot be detected by the alarms bought in stores or rather the amounts in my house is less than they can detect but it is still considered harmful to health.


Subject: New water heaters

Every article we read tries to convince us that these "new" products will save us money. In reality every cost saving appliance, device, or idea saves the consumer nothing. Once usage of gas, electricity, water and sewage goes down the cost goes up. Utilities will raise the price per gallon, mcf, or unit to maintain their profit margins and the consumer saves absolutely nothing. If the price per unit doesn't go up then a FEE will be added to make up the difference. I'm not sure what all of these efficient appliances accomplish. The only time I realized savings was when I installed a Water Furnace geothermal heating and cooling unit in my previous house.

Amy Johnson

Subject: Tankless water heaters

I have a brand new home with a tankless water heater with a manifold system and its horrible!! Nothing works in my house!! All of my apiances are energy efficient and are not functions because it takes 3.2 minutes, yes, a LONG time to wait to wash ur hands after wiping etc to get hot water and desensitize to get the cold water out of the pipes. The dishwasher and washing machine don't use 3 gallons of water I waste as they are water efficient!! Even if I ru. The water I have to rerun it at every sink or shower to get that hot. It is unsanitary and u safe. I am told there is no way to put a pump at every outlet and a recirculating pump won't work. U pay for gas a water wasted in a drought and extra energy running every appliance longer to try and add heat. The dish washer has to run 3 hours to get the heat boost and 2 hrs for the washer to de sanitize but they are still only lukewarm. The water never gets 120 needed to desensitize dishes as it cools in the pipes so mad 116 which takes longer to achieve. They found bacteria that spreads disease in washers at the cd setting. I had way cheaper bills13 a month in the summer at my last 1300 sq ft 3 bedroom home and instant hot water. Way better service and energy and water conservation. My neighbor already got a water usage warning and cud be fined 500 next time. And we know things will get tighter. Not to mention the Mercury light bulbs that almost need hazmat to pick up that they put at the front desk for recycling for l the staff and customers to breathe in when they break. I am for energy efficiency but this is not it and not at the expense of health and common sense.

John Baethke

Subject: new 75 gallons

One note: the 75 gallon water heaters for the most part will not be changing. The regulation is for heaters over 55 gallons but under 75,000 btu's. Most manufacturer's are at 76,000 plus so they do not have to be condensing.

Heather Rogers


When I had problems with my water tank 2 years ago, my plumber made me aware of some changes that were going to take place. I ended up the an on demand water heater and have not regretted it. Removing the large water tank in the closet gave me extra room for storage.

Latrice & Cynthia

Subject: Water Heater

Thank you for the information.
Being informed helps one to make better decisions.
Your information is very helpful.

Ken Schneiderman

Subject: Photo Concern

Great article, thank you!

I'm not an expert but the cardboard box in the photo is too close to the water heater.

Kevin O'Brien

Subject: Cardboard Box Fire Hazard

Yes, I suppose a fire could burn through 3 or 4 inches of fireproof insulation and then a metal tank to ignite a cardboard box. Sure. If it did that the box would not be the problem. The house would be.


Subject: water heater updates

I really enjoyed this article. It brings up many things to think about regarding the upcoming changes. This is excellent! Thank you.

Charlotte Trayer

Subject: New water heater rules

It really galls me that the government tries to rule our lives in this way!! First we lost incandescent bulbs (and now have to buy bulbs that are more expensive but not one bit better for the "environment" than the old ones--just in a different way. Now this!

Environmentalists--may they freeze in the dark!!

Charles Sailor

Subject: Water Heaters

Thank you very much for the information on the new water heaters. Tankless water heaters have interested me for some time. Could you tell me where to find the "pros and cons" of tankless water heaters?

Mike Lowenstein

Subject: new water heaters

Present day water heaters are one of the few appliances that will operate without electricity. If the power goes out, you can still have a source of heat in the house. The new waters heaters are expected to have a required electric flue damper to save energy from escaping up the flue pipe. They will no longer operate without electricity. Power goes by heat. What a tremendous improvement that will be.

Herman Schiller

Subject: Water Heater Article

Check out the "Marathon" electric water heater made by Rheem. It is already big and fat, and has an EF of .04. You can buy it now, and if you have a water-contact heat pump, you can get one with a desuperheater to generate hot water to feed to your water heater.
Too many folks are sold on the clumsy concept of a heat pump water heater. It seems like a very complex "solution" that won't work. Where does the heat come from that the heat pump must extract to put in the water? It would appear that it's removing the heat from the dwelling which is acceptable when you live in the U.S. South.

Robert Backlund

Subject: New Energy effency laws are a bunch of bunk

I am of the opinion that most of the new laws and regulations that are passed by our corrupt gov't officials are really nothing more than a get rich quick scheme for a lot of these same officials. If you think for one minute that the majority do not have major investments with all the companies out there that will be bringing in lots more money at our expense your are dreaming. Look at Obama care, it has done nothing but drive up cost with reduced access for most who work and had health insurance before this law passed yet many of the same officials that passed the new rules have made a ton of money. Don't get me wrong I am all for efficiency if everyone and I do not just mean us here in the USA are doing their part to foot the bill. I am also of the opinion that though global warming is a real event it is not caused by man, yes our activity has sped up the process perhaps by a century or so but eventually we will all get to the warmer earth regardless of if we do nothing or we sacrifice our first born trying to prevent it from happening. If you look at the climate history of our planet this old earth of ours has gone through several warming and cooling cycles through out its history, the global warming that is happening is a part of the natural warming cycle that has been going on since the last ice age.

Emho Bohica

Subject: Thank you for your opinions

I will be watching to see the rich government officials as they and their jackbooted thugs break down my door to install a new water heater. Thanks for the warning!

James Wilson

Subject: After reading the information

After reading the information about water heaters, I did not find any more additional knowledge above want is already known. In replacing my current water heater last week, the cost increase over 20-plus years, was a surprise and did installed a .62 energy efficient unit made by Whilpool. The instructions were simple, with direct replacement only change in height of tank to water connections.


Subject: Why not more info?

The author talked about some of the practical considerations when installing the new water heaters, and the likelihood of a price increase, yet he seems to have forgotten to tell us any details at all about the new regulations.

Water heaters over 55gal require a condenser. Why? What's the purpose? Why might a tank of the same capacity have 2" extra in diameter? (And why not make a taller, narrower tank so the exterior diameter doesn't have to change?)

This article was for a web site. There are no space restrictions. You might as well give us better info!


Subject: tankless?

Surprised your article doesn't mention tankless water heaters as an option to replace bulky tank versions. Especially as space becomes a premium, and also for the long-term cost savings of not having to always keep a tank full of water heated all the time.

Donald Nunn

Subject: Solar Water Heaters

I currently have a hot water storage tank heated off our oil furnace. I am considering to revamp my system by installing a solar panel. Problem: I cannot find an installer and price.
Any idea's if this is an efficient process or should I just bite the bullett and upgrade my current system.

Lynn Devenport

Subject: Get an on-demand water heater

Available for several years, the on-demand, either gas or electric, is tankless--no space hassles--and is far more energy efficient than any tank that has to maintain a large bulk of water at a constant high temperature throughout the day, whether the water is used or not. Mine works perfectly. It costs more, but so will the tank types, and has the extra advantage of saving more money and energy over the years.



Subject: On demand water heaters

I'm interested in your comment. I suspect you have a gas one. I live in a condo where the association requires us to replace water heaters every 20 years - regardless of whether it is leaking ( to avoid leaks into condos below me). The last time I switched I asked my plumber about the tankless water heater. He recommended against it, noting the electric model was not up to snuff with the gas model. Gas is not available to us here (in SW FL). Have things changed or are all the pro tankless people those who have gas. Would line to know for nest time. Thanks

Dennis Charles

Subject: Republic of USA used to be a free country

Per the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, water heaters manufactured after April 16, 2015, must meet new energy requirements. I remember when the USA used to be a free country. Now the Socialist Government of the USA regulates everything from school lunches, to low-flush toilets, to low energy appliances, to medical insurance which actually costs most people more money. Government cannot even run the government right let along our lives. If I ran my budget like the government runs theirs I would really be in trouble.


Subject: On demand water heater

As a one person household I will be switching to on demand type because with my own well and light demand it will save me more than the extra cost, very quickly.

Bruce Davis Jr.

Subject: Tankless Water heaters comes to mind.

I think that is a valid point. The subject of Tankless Water Heaters can easily take up a whole other article. As conventional water heaters are being built to meet more stringent standards in efficiency and prices climb to manufacture to these standards Tankless will be an option more people will naturally want to gravitate toward. They are more efficient and they last longer.

Mary Sorensen

Subject: Water heaters

Why bother with a tank. In Pakistan and India, there were water boilers mounted on the wall in each bath room and in the kitchen...When the water was to be used we lit the burner and the hot water was ready in a very short time. Are we missing something here??

Virgilio Alvarez

Subject: Water Heaters Carbon Emissions and Global Warming

I hope you tree-huggers, Kool-Aid-drinkers, hoax-loving people are happy that your pocket book is going to be hit once more for naught.
This is a political agenda that is nothing more than an anti-American, anti-capital play by all the world's totalitarians who want to impoverish America with nothing to show for it, except advancing their agenda and controlling the population by reducing their wealth, disposable income and thus freedom.

Dave Brady

Subject: Oppresive government

Let's see we've got 6.5 million active social security #'s for dead people over 112 years old but the same government that allows open borders can tell us what kind of water heater to have, how many gallons of water we are allowed in our toilets, what kind of light bulbs we have to use .... American is becoming a joke; I can't believe how many people think this is a good thing. The market should decide these things not the federal government. When will this stop!


Subject: LOL

Yes, if by totalitarians you mean big oil, then I guess you are partially correct. Also, I believe you may have forgotten about the burning rivers of years past. If it wasn't for tree-huggers, you'd be drinking raw sewage and swimming in cess-pools.


Subject: water heaters--fix before you buy!

This article is very helpful in outlining some of the changes moving forward BUT it overlooks something very important. Instead of encouraging people to simply go out and buy one of today's water heaters to avoid the hassle of dealing with a larger heater down the line, you should instead encourage people to find ways to cut their hot water needs and thus avoid the need for a larger water heater to begin with.

Low-flow showerheads and Energy Star-rated dishwashers and washing machines go a LONG way toward reducing water use overall. But you can go even further by using these fixtures smartly:
* buy a showerhead that has a "trickle" feature so that you can essentially turn the water off while you're lathering up, shaving, etc. and turn it back on to rinse off.
* use only cold water for a washing machine's wash and rinse cycles
* only run the dishwasher when it is completely full.

In addition, if you hand wash dishes, turn the water off as you're scrubbing the dishes and turn it back on to rinse off the soap.

People may also be overestimating the amount of hot water they need. Once you take the above steps, follow the Department of Energy's guidance on sizing water heaters to make sure you get one sized for your needs. There's information for both tankless AND tank models.


Subject: Don't panic.

Progress isn't anything to be scared about. If your current water heater works, don't replace it just for the sake of buying an old (i.e., current) model. It's an unnecessary outlay of cash now, when you may still have a few years to save up (in your emergency fund, etc.) -- which would offset any worries about potentially higher up-front costs. It's easy to focus on the short-term costs, but we'd all be better off financially if we consider the purchase + operating costs of our equipment/appliances. If you buy an old model now, you'll just be guaranteeing yourself ~10 to 12 years of higher utility bills for the life of the replacement. I'd rather deal with the "hassle" of choosing a different size (or maybe even tankless!) water heater once, instead of paying extra for the next decade.

Mike O'Neill

Subject: Appreciation

Bruce- thanks so much. I will share your message with family & friends.
Mike from MA

David M Rice

Subject: water heaters

"Ultimately, it will mean a cleaner environment and will reduce the operating costs of our appliances" would think reduced operating costs would result from using less energy but history has shown that when less water, gas, electric, etc. is used the cost go up to compensate to make up for lost revenue and taxes

the government gas told this untruth to sell things like this before knowing after full implementation the costs to the consumer will higher not lower


Subject: I think you have a great

I think you have a great point, David! I was noticing the same thing! The utility companies are not in business to make less money. They will find a way to say you are using less units of energy but then the cost per unit will continue to go up! They will hide behind needing it for more conservation attempts like putting in new windmills. This is happening with automobile gas. The price went downand we are saving. So less revenue in taxes to government to fix roads so now they are finding ways to get that money through increased taxes elsewhere affect we will pay a lot of the money back to them that we saved on gasoline!!! My budget it tapped out! I don't have a pension let alone a government one for life. I do not make a cost of living increase. I don't have the ability to print more money. I don't even have health insurance. Just stop!
I am all for saving but.....why not save money government!!! You are not concerned about that! What about all the wasted money we spend on our trillions of dollars of debt? Save there and be fiscally responsible then I will respect your example.

Brian Mellea

Subject: Balance in article

I wish this article was more balanced.

There's only fear and doubt about fitting into narrow spaces. And the higher cost of 55 gal or greater tanks.

There was no mention of the impact on 40 gal tanks, a very common household size.

There was no mention of the energy savings on a per tank basis.

Frankly, our hot water heaters are neanderthals compared to our laptops and PCs and smart watches. It's about time the industry was forced to make some improvements.

Phil Noblitt

Subject: Balance missing

I agree 100%, Brian. Based on this article one might well conclude that the new rules are pointless, costly and purposely designed to harm homeowners, In fact, saving energy is in our collective interest and I am glad the new rules will require greater efficiency. I would have like to have seen more information in the article about the savings that are anticipated. In any case, the new rules may create short-term costs, but in the long run, they will save consumers money on their fuel bills. I am genuinely disappointed Angie's List saw fit to put such an alarmist, thinly veiled political spin on the message.

A. Punn

Subject: Heating Hot Water?

In reference to your comment: "Frankly, our hot water heaters are neanderthals compared to our laptops and PCs and smart watches. It's about time the industry was forced to make some improvements."
Why would you want to heat water that is already hot? That seems redundant and inefficient.

Susan Zakar

Subject: Water Heater Installation

Remember to check whether your local code requires a permit and an inspection. This can take you by surprise, especially if the installer "forgets" to let you know about it or says you can "get away" without doing it. These are red flags. The inspection is for your protection, so no corners are cut that might cause problems later.

JK Sandusky

Subject: New Energy Efficient Water Heaters Thermostat Controls

One thing manufacturers could do is incorporate thermostat accessibility for energy efficiency. To change my thermostat settings (vacations, extra guests, weather) I need an LED headlight to read the itsy bitsy temperature numbers, short-handled tools to work in the limited space to remove the plate and access the controls, and a towel to lay my head on since the thermostat control is at the VERY BOTTOM of the water heater; plus, the "reading" distance is not within range of my bifocals. Why couldn't the thermostat controls be easily accessible at the top of the tank, with levers requiring no tools, making it easier for the consumer to manager our energy consumption in one easy step?

Joseph L Sexton

Subject: New efficient water Heaters

IF these are anything like the so-called efficient refrigerators, which a repair man from Sears said barely make it past 5 years, I just might buy an older Rheem now & store it, as the last 2 I purchased lasted over 20 years each, with a simple insulating blanket & a drain every couple of months. Oh & that Sears refrigerator broke down before the 5 years & immediately after it was 5 years old. Efficient JUNK.


Subject: There's a reason for the new standards

I find it sad that you're encouraging people to stock up and upgrade just to avoid having to buy something that will be MORE EFFICIENT. Also that means saving more money over the life of the water heater and something that's BENEFICIAL for the good of everyone now and future generations by being more efficient.


Subject: Each person needs to

Each person needs to opportunity to figure out what's good for them without the government cramming it down our throats. I respect your beliefs, but wholeheartedly disagree...maybe you should move to a socialist country where "everyone is equal" !
What has happened to our FREE country!


Subject: There's a reason for the new standards

You raise an interesting point and it's true for those individuals who are fortunate enough to 1) not need a new water heater at this time, or 2) don't have a cash-flow issue that precludes them from buying the currently available tech, pre-need. But, at this point - that would be an academic issue. How many individuals who don't fall into one of those two categories will need to buy a new water heater before the regs take place . . . in the next 4 weeks . . . or the current stock is depleted? My guess, probably not enough to make a significant difference in the overall greenhouse-gasses picture - particularly since, in most of the developing world, coal or wood are used to heat water.

One of the major points of the article is the size of the water heaters and the available space in which to put them. For individuals who are in that position, this is useful information. Just an FYI - I tried the wall stretchers from Home Depot . . . they don't work. :)


Subject: Get govt out of my life!

We need to get the government out of our life! If I want tons of hot water or just a little hot water, it should be MY choice! Whatever happened to our free country?! Environmentalist global warming unnecessary alarmists are ruining our lives! Costs are going thru the roof for everything because of environmental regulations. Those people making these regulations are SELF SERVING! If they weren't making regulations, they'd be UNEMPLOYED! Wake up people before it's too late! Do your homework and find out FACTS, not rhetoric! There's NO PROOF we NEED all of these environmental regulations. By the time the proof comes out in full that you really DIDN'T need any regulations, like DDT, it's too late! Things have already been changed and is too costly to recover. There was NO PROOF DDT harmed ANYBODY, but the environmental alarmists sounded, the got rid of it, now millions are dying around the world of malaria and need nets!? Get serious and do your homework everyone!! ENOUGH REGULATIONS ALREADY!!

William Leavenworth

Subject: Water heaters

When my ancestors settled here in the 17th century, their water heaters were kettles placed on a swinging arm that could be swiveled into the fireplace. These water heaters we use today are anachronisms, just like the model T Ford or the ox-drawn cart. It's time to set regulations in place that conserve fossil fuel and utilize the sun, wind and the physics of heat exchange. If you want to get rid of government regulations, I say Good! Go to a third-world country with a president-for-life and enjoy your freedoms. Nobody is holding you here against your will; the third world is calling you. Otherwise shut up and help move the US into the future. Even if there were no regulations at all, we'd run out of oil and gas in a century, and out of coal in two centuries, but wait! If fossil fuels continue to make up our prime energy sources, the oceans will become so acidified that there won't be any phytoplankton to make oxygen. Oh-oh. To get yourself ready for that, try breathing pure nitrogen and CO2 and see where it takes you.


Subject: Why govt regs are often necessary

1) It is your choice to use all the water you want...only within reason. World population continues to expand at a faster and faster pace, and resources to support our life style are dwindling. Hence the need to conserve. That is just common sense.
2) There is MUCH scientific proof about the dangers of DDT. For starters, it almost killed off our national bird, the Bald Eagle, and many other bird species. Imagine what it was quietly doing to humans!
3) New technologies can initially cost more and equipment may not initially last as long. However, if you look back at almost any technology change, in the long run, it usually results in better, longer lasting products that use less resources and are cheaper to operate. For one example, look at automobile changes since the 1950s. There was a period of growing pains through the 70s and 80s, but the newest cars run better, last longer and use less resources overall.
4) Good and bad ideas appear everywhere. Government regulation is necessary to keep self serving interests in line. It is true that citizens must remain vigilant. However, don't automatically reject one regulation based on a questionable part of some other regulation. One must look at ALL available scientific evidence, specific to an issue, before rushing to a conclusion.


Subject: go to China

when you travel to a country that has no pollution controls you should quickly figure out the whys of. Government control

J Carpenter

Subject: Your Rant

If you really want to get p-o'd about something, ask the Republicans to quit forcing the average person to bear the burden of taxes and have the wealthy to pay a fair share. I am tired of my tax dollars subsidizing the oil industry, the wealthiest industry on the planet.. Corporate welfare needs to end! Your outrage is misplaced!

Linda Askins

Subject: Hot Water Heater

While vacuuming around my hot water heater I notices that around the bottom edges of it was rusting out. Is this cause for concern?

Stephen pearcy

Subject: Good recommendation?

It was "recommended" several times that one might consider replacing a water heater now to avoid having to buy a new, more efficient model. This blanket recommendation might be incorrect as a more efficient water heater could be much less expensive over the period of ownership.

David Hawk

Subject: re: Good recommendation?

It would seem the author would have done a better service to the readers to recommend that one wait until the new water heaters were available to do a replacement.

Allen Randall

Subject: New Waterheater Standards

I don't know who came up with this baloney, but this CO2 stuff is insane! CO2 is not a pollutant! We need oxygen! Plants need CO2! Plants and trees convert CO2 to oxygen. We need food. Crops need CO2! We need food. If crops diminish because of lack of CO2 we will become very hungry and many will starve to death. This is just a gigantic sales job so that the "elites can tax us more and reduce World population.Read the book, "Dark Winter" by John L. CASEY. Climate change is determined by the cycles of the Sun. Any educated scientist with even half a brain knows this. It's all about politics and control.


Subject: CO2

The "balance" of CO2 you mention worked just fine until human beings started digging up carbon that had been stored away for tens of millions of years (coal, oil, natural gas), and burning it at a rate sufficient to significantly alter this balance. At the same time, there has been a net deforestation, reducing the amount of plant life available to convert the CO2 back to oxygen. The balance no longer works, it IS affecting our planet's climate, and it IS going to get MUCH worse, no matter what we do. If you think spending a few extra bucks on a water heater is bad, just wait. We're going to see more severe weather, greater extremes of hot and cold, coastal erosion, crop failure, more frequent droughts and floods, and numerous other impacts that will cost average Americans real money.

As bad as it will be for us, it will be dramatically worse for people living in the Tropics, on islands, and in low-lying coastal cities where they lack the financial resources to mitigate the impacts. The number of people affected could easily reach one billion, and they are not going to sit there quietly and die. The places that can adapt to climate change, along with the relatively short list of climate-change "winners," are going to have to deal with a massive wave of climate-change refugees. There is broad scientific consensus on this issue, and only the lobbyists and politicians who are well paid to ignore and deny it cannot accept this fact.

John Casey is a well-known crackpot, and virtually EVERY scientist with MORE than half a brain knows that the recent observed changes cannot be accounted for by solar cycles. Solar cycles DO affect our climate, and everyone knows this, and every climate model accounts for this easily-measured effect. There is clearly global warming in EXCESS of what can be explained by those cycles.


Subject: your baloney is misplaced

These changes are primarily about energy efficiency, not carbon emissions, the reduction of which is an additional benefit. I work nationally in the building industry. Homes use and waste more energy than autos or businesses. But with all the improved standards, the homes built in the next ten years will use only a fraction of the energy of those built in the past. People said the same thing ... "baloney" ... about SEER ratings for HVAC, which have steadily risen from the 60's to the 90's over the past 20 years, with vast energy savings and lower utility bills. People said the same about auto emissions, but through technology and a lot of government prodding, we now have cars with double or more the mileage, more horsepower and virtually zero emissions. The experts said that was impossible, and it is now standard. All this has served to help us become more energy self-sufficient, which is a good thing for all. And the fact that carbon emissions are lowered, there are hoards of scientists that disagree with your premise that it does not matter, but even if you are right, it cannot hurt anything. And your utility bills go down. That'll cost you less now to fry up your bologna!

Bob Jacobsen

Subject: Water Heaters

You can also make your old water heater last longer (sometimes 20-30 years) by replacing the anode every 3-5 years, if you have room to pull the old one out and install a new one. The anode corrodes instead of the steel tank, and when it's gone, the tank goes.

Leonard D Pfau

Subject: Anode Rod Replacement

Don't let those anode rods go too long before replacement, or they'll be impossible to get out. Also, regular flushing of the heater per the owners manual will prevent sediment build up, which also affects heater efficiency and life expectancy.

Mary Kraeszig

Subject: Replacing anode

Bob is right about replacing the anode. My husband changed ours a few years ago just because we knew our water heater was old. It still works great, and is about 20 years old. However, we may consider replacing it because space in our utility closet is very tight.


Subject: Anode replacement options

You can replace the anode with one that looks like a string of sausages. Works in cramped spaces. Saw it on This Old House a couple years ago.
I ended up going to the " on demand" water heater. The most expensive part is installation. Depending on your water, you may have to get an "Iron Curtain" which will extend the life of your water heater. BUT I LOVE IT!

Glenn Crawford

Subject: Water heater anode rods

The old anode rode can be bent or cut as it is taken out because it will not be used again. New rods are available that are flexible and can be inserted with little head room.

Margaret Withrow

Subject: Water heater replacement

My water heater is leaking and needs to be replaced. Trying to decide whether to go tankless or not. This article was so informative for me. Got to make my decision fast before 4/15 rolls around.

Water You Doing?

Subject: Tankless vs Tank?

We have had a "Tankless" water heater for the last 5 years and love it.
Works great - Gas fired - Small - Efficient - I absolutely recommend them -
But of course, the initial outlay is more than a conventional WH.

Marcia Parks

Subject: Water Heaters: Tankless

Tankless water heaters have been used in Europe for decades. My first experience was with one in an apartment in Florence, and it worked just fine. My son recently installed two; one in his city home and one in a ski property. Both are great. and provide LOTS of hot water. The responder who had problems may well have had an older model or one that was not correctly sized for water use. Do your homework and research the different makers and sizes. I think my son installed tanks by Rinnai.


Subject: Re: should I go Tankless?

I've been living in a rental property going on 7 years now and it has both a central propane 'Tankless' AND an Electric tank water heater. We use the tankless exclusively - except when it shuts down and won't start (what can I say - it happens).

The Tankless requires consistent water flow of 7gpm (gallons per minute) or it won't start. IF it starts and the water flow weakens - it shuts down. The first time I tried to take a 'NAVY shower' I was shocked out of the stall by the frigid water because the hot water, which HAD been in the pipes, drained back down and was replaced by cold well water!

[ A 'NAVY shower' means turning ON the water and adjusting the temperature to the desired comfort level, getting soaked then turning the water OFF. Soap-up and shampoo then turn the water back ON to rinse. ]

True, the plumber's helper put the whole-house water filter housing in backwards - so the filters clog faster causing reduction in water flow and more frequent filter changes - but at least I don't have to clean out the fragile sheet-metal filter in the heater. The whole-house (yarn) filters are available at most hardware stores but the sheet-metal filters have to be specially ordered through the heater manufacturer. To change THESE you need to turn OFF the water flow AND the heater electrics. Unscrew the filter and clean it out with a toothbrush under a running faucet - thereby necessitating a means to shut off flow to the heater alone.

Thankfully the tankless uses propane and, so far, the cost of propane has been lower (per btu) than electric.

**** I've read of hybrid tankless heaters which have smaller 'reserve' storage tanks (approx 2 to 20gal) which overcome the problems inherent in taking NAVY showers but we can't afford to replace the heater just yet.

I recommend the Hybrid Tankless over both standard Tankless and Tank heaters merely due to the water and fuel savings coupled with the lack of a cold spell. The small reserve tank in the Hybrid should keep you from jumping out of the shower from a sudden dousing of frigid water.

IF you opt for the Standard Tankless, and you have a BIG home with a long distance between heater and showerhead, you should install a smaller electric tankless heater exclusively for the shower with a time delay so IT can supply the hot water until the hot water from the larger unit reaches the bathroom. This should mean the smaller unit might run (on electric) for some 30sec to a minute. If your cost per kilowatt/hour is $0.15 the cost of running the smaller heater would be less than a penny per use.

See these links for more info: and and

The problem with the standard 'Tank' style water heater is the need to constantly keep the water hot (approx 140 degrees F). That's fine when you're USING the water but if you're not even home who wants to pay for it? - not me. I grew-up with a tank style water heater in my home but we had piped-in 'natural gas' and I never saw the energy bills. But my Dad did always tell us to keep our showers short and introduced us to the 'NAVY shower' HE learned to take on-board ship while being deployed to the Pacific Theater during WW2.

Frankly, I prefer the tankless heater but I wish we had the Hybrid style.

Hope this helps. Larry

Nancy Frantz

Subject: Water heater replacement

If your water heater is leaking, you had better give it your attention. These current water heaters go just so far - 10-12 years on the average. I saw what happens when the bottom rusted out of two my neighbors' heaters. They were both out of town at the time. No one knew this had happened until we saw water pouring out of their windows (it is town water and won't shut off until someone in the house shuts it off). The fire dept was called but there was so much damage. So aside from all the other reasons, if your tank is leaking or is 10-12 years old, move on it before you have another problem.

Kevin O'Brien

Subject: April 15th.

April 15th is not a drop dead installation date for water heaters. As of that date they have to be manufactured differently. There should still be a supply of pre-April 15th water heaters out there for a while, I hope.


Subject: New water heater rules

This was an excellent article with practical information to avoid possible future problems with water heaters. Thanks!


Subject: Great question! In reading

Great question! In reading the article, aside from the mention that tanks will widen by about two inches (extra insulation?), nothing else explains the regulation and associated increase in costs. If that is the end of the story, either the article is weak or the regulations are too cryptic.

Ellis D. Hay

Subject: Water heaters

Why did the energy commission not give a longer time frame so we would have time to consider and think through the process. What about those who have a contract with a company that I have a service agreement. Did they know about the major change? Why had all who were in the loop not given a head ups.

Tony T

Subject: Water Heaters

I just love when the government cannot tell the truth. This has nothing to do with saving money. I am tired of hearing the government end their supporters pass this off as a money savings program. There have been hundreds of instances of this 'savings' that never happen. When you use less of something, its price increases. SURPRISE? So quit selling your BS as financial savings.

The two major reasons for this is conservation and getting rid of older units. I can almost buy of on the first one, but I am leery of this as masking it as something else tells me they don't have a case. Next and more importantly, helping people who got you elected into office with payments in kind. So the manufacturers, plumbers (and unions), distributors, etc., all give millions of dollars to get the people elected who will help them. (aka: buy a politician) Remember those CFLs, oops, they have mercury in them and when they break they spread it all over. That is really safe!

So let's just be honest and let the sheople decide. If this was so great, then offer it and watch the alternative die on the vine. There is a saying in government, people are too stupid to do what I want them to do, so we will mandate it. If everyone wants the government to tell them how to live their lives, they can move as there are plenty of countries that would be happy to oblige them.


Subject: Timing

As far as I can tell, the legislation for this was signed into law in 1987. Standards have been changed by Amendment several times since then, but again, the most recent I can find is 2005. In all likelihood, a schedule of increasingly tighter standards was created back in 2005, and the deadline for the latest one is now approaching. No doubt manufacturers and home / apartment builders have been aware of this for a long time. Home owners, especially DIY types, need to make themselves aware of changes in relevant regulations and codes -- no one is going to knock on your door and announce them.

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You have to put your self in the shoes of a business that is in business to turn a profit of some sort. All businesses have different overhead which in turn decides what their bottom line would be on their services. I personally would not go with an unlicensed professional for this type of install. You are messing with gas, venting issues, electrical wiring{electric water heater} and updated code issues such as a drain pan and tempature and relief drain lines for heaters that currently do not have them. I do agree that there are some companies that are way out of line for their installs but most of these companies are the really big companies that have very high overheads  I would assume. Tank type water heaters have changed over the last several years and with these safety changes come bigger prices. The price of steel thanks to China is skyrocketing and tank type water heaters are made of steel. Most wholesale plumbing supply companies cannot match what the big box stores are selling at retail to consumers. I happen to think from research that heaters such as Rheem, Bradford White and AOSmith who have been in business forever make a better product than what you can buy in the big box outlets. You also have to take in consideration the location of the water heater that is being replaced. Is it in the house, basement, garage or attic. Most 40 and 50 gallon water heaters that are purchased in a plumbing wholesale store in Texas cost between 300-340 for a 6 year warranty heater with 6 year on parts and tank. Speaking of warranty. Most big box companies will take a least 24 hours to a week to get your warranty problem taken care of. Most reputable plumbing companies will give same day service if they installed the heater.

So lets break down a typical install at cost to a licensed plumber in Texas

Heater: $315, water shut off $6.50, water flex lines or unions to code $20, gas flex line and cut off to code $12, misc fittings $15, Total $368.50 Lets add a 35% profit which is some what low  for a business $129, Total 497.50

This doesnt  include permits, pan and drain or any venting issues. The vent must go from the heater to the outside of roof using double wall vent.

Cost of permit on average $60

Most plumbing companies allow for 3 hours of time for a water heater. This includes picking the new one up. Delivering out to house. Draining and removing old water heater. Hauling off old heater. Installing new heater up to code. Going down to city and pulling permit.

Average Labor charges for heater installs $400

That would make this install run without extras on any code issues $957.50

I just had a 50 gallon gas water heater installed in my house for $1200 but I needed a pan installed. I used a licensed plumber.





I've seen and heard mixed reviews.  They aren't really popular here due to our super hard water which clogs and rots everything it sits in.  A company I used to work for tried electric units about 10 years ago in several homes but had to replace many of them within a few years because the build-up from the hard water hindered their productivity to little more than enough supply to run a sink.  I've heard better success with gas units since there are no electric elements to burn out and gas can get hotter, faster to get through the deposits on the tubing walls inside the unit.


Standard electric water heater usually take a 30 amp circuit so they are often wired with 10 guage wire.  Electric on-demand units large enough to service an entire house usually take 50 amps (or more) from what I've researched in the past.  That means they need a 50 amp breaker and will be wired with 6 guage wire.  By the time you factor in the initial cost of buying the much more expensive on-demand unit and rewiring for it I'm not sure you'll save money in the long run. 


A better and cheaper option would be to put a timer on your standard water heater so it only kicks on during typical demand times.  They have override switches so you can turn it to cycle normally when you are off of work or need it during the day/night if not during the preset times.  A cheaper point of use water heater at the kitchen sink will ensure you have hot water there even when the main heater is off.  This is usually the point that requires hot water the most frequently.  Remember that your water heater will hold hot water for over an hour once it has cycled off.  Take advantage of that.


Todd Shell

Todd's Home Services

San Antonio, TX


Depends a lot on your configuration - he may have been including direct outside venting because your existing heater/furnace duct was not large enough to handle the added load, and may have figured running larger piping to the jetted tub and maybe upsizing the valve and flex tubing at the gas line. This all assumes you have adequate access and installation space for the larger tank - they tend to be fatter rather than much taller.

I would talk to several plumbers - if you get quotes from 3 or more, it should become obvious right off if one is high-balling you. Of course, do not tell the others what the other's bids were.

The water heater itself will cost about $1000-2000 for that size - about double a 50 gallon, which usually costs about $800-1500 installed (replacing an existing plumbed-in one). The larger heater may take a bit of beefing up of the support platform for the added weight, but assuming you have adequate headroom, installation cost using existing ductwork and piping would not be any more than for a 50 gallon, so say $2000-3500 range installed. The $4500-6000 definitely sounds high if it assumed using existing hookups.

There could be. Different municipalities have different rules (codes). However, I have never heard of a plumber being the code enforcement guy. I have never heard of a plumber being able to collect a fine from a homeowner. It may cost you $150 to bring it up to code, but that should be included in the repair cost. You would need to check with your city (usually Department of Code Enforcement or Plumbing Commission). If he put it in writing, you need to send them a copy.