Water Heater Legislation

Energy-Efficiency Requirements on Water Heaters

Increased energy efficiency mandates from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as part of the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) are now in effect. These standards require higher Energy Factor (EF) ratings on almost all residential electric and gas water heaters. These changes will directly impact the water heaters you purchase and install.

Water heater manufacturers must produce water heaters that meet the following EF standards:

2015 NAECA Energy Factor Regulations

Rated Gallon CapacityNAECA 2015 ElectricNAECA 2015 Gas

Besides EF ratings, how will water heaters change?


To meet the new standards, most water heaters will change in size. More insulation will be added to these new tanks—this can increase both the water heater's diameter and height by two or more inches each. You will need to closely examine the size of area where the water heater will be installed, especially locations where space or access is extremely limited, such as closets, alcoves, and attics.

If your existing space cannot accommodate the new water heater, you may have to install a water heater with a smaller storage capacity. For larger-capacity water heaters, two people may be required to move and install the larger and heavier water heater. Even service trucks and storage areas may need to be reconfigured to fit the larger models.


For large-capacity electric water heaters over 55 gallons, only water heaters with a hybrid heat pump design meet the new EF ratings. Gas water heaters over 55 gallons need to be fully condensing to deliver efficiency ratings that comply with the new standards.


The new energy-efficient models will reduce operating costs of the water heaters. The Department of Energy states that the new standards will result in $63 billion in energy savings for water heaters shipped from 2015 - 2044. Product costs, however, due to the increased size and more complex designs, will be higher than existing models today. Installation costs will increase for larger models that require additional venting material and condensate pumps.

Can you still purchase models that do not meet EF standards?

The April 16, 2015, date only applies to water heater manufacturing. You can continue to purchase and install water heaters that were manufactured prior to this date for an indefinite period of time. However, quantities over time will become limited, so please contact us today.