A major change to the water heater market is on the way, creating both challenges and opportunities for plumbing, heating and HVAC contractors, designers and engineers.
New energy efficiency mandates from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will take effect on April 16, 2015. They require higher energy factor (EF) ratings on virtually all residential water heating products including gas-fired, oil-fired, electric, tabletop, instantaneous gas-fired and instantaneous electric. Tankless systems already exceed these EF requirements, and all other water heating products manufactured before the DOE mandates take effect can still be bought and installed after the changeover date.
“It’s important for contractors to become familiar with the new rules and the technology options,” said Ralph Perez, director of product management, A.O. Smith, in an interview with Perspective Media. “There are products available that comply with the 2015 regulations, but they are generally not yet in the mass market.”
While all affected models will see an increase in the EF requirement, the most dramatic changes are in larger capacity models (see accompanying chart). That’s because the only technologies that now meet the EF requirements over 55 gallons are electric heat pump water heaters and high-efficiency condensing gas water heaters.
The Bosch gas fired tankless water heaters affected by the new energy factor are the Bosch 330PN LP & NG, Bosch 520HN LP & NG and the Bosch 520PN LP & NG.