New guidelines could make water heaters more expensive

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — New energy guidelines could make buying your next water heater more expensive.

The update to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act takes effect April 16 requires hot water heaters to be more energy-efficient.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the new standards will result in about $63 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped over the next 30 years.

But those who install the appliances say the changes could cost consumers more upfront.

“Our customers could face price increases of up to 15 to 35 percent,” said Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Waco, Texas-based Mr. Rooter Plumbing. “Not only will the cost of water heaters increase an average of $120, but installation and maintenance costs will likely rise as well.”

Jack Hope of Hope Plumbing in Indianapolis said many new models will also be taller and wider which may present challenges depending on where your water heater is currently placed in your home.

“In some tight basements and in tight garages, it gets to be a real trick to make those heaters fit in there,” said Hope. “So you have to craft some sort of solution to end up putting this water heater somewhere else.”

Some units may be two inches taller and two inches wider than previous units that held the same amount of water.

“No doubt, it’s a great goal,” said Hope of the new guidelines. “Long-term, this will be a good thing for how much money people are spending to provide hot water for their house. The trick is the transition period.”