11622 Exposition Blvd No.4 Los Angeles CA 90064
Bill West Plumbing Inc.

Water Heater Regulations

New U. S. Department of Energy regulations will soon change the type of water heaters that Los Angeles area homeowners will be able to purchase. As of April 1, 2015, all new water heaters manufactured must meet higher efficiency requirements. To obtain the higher energy factor (EF) rating, significant modifications are being made to all types of residential tank water heaters including gas, electric, and oil-fired models.

These new more efficient water heaters will deliver annual energy savings, but initial purchase costs will be significantly higher than for current models. More complex installation and potential need for remodeling to accommodate the larger size of the new units may also cause additional expense.

The lifespan of most water heaters is from eight to 12 years. If your water heater is 10 years old or older, you may want to consider whether you want to replace it now with a current style model while there is still stock available.

What Homeowners Need To Know Today:

Here’s a rundown on how these changes may affect you as a homeowner:

  • Water heaters will cost more (up to 35 percent).
  • New units will be larger — at least 2 inches taller and 2 inches wider or more. Some will also be heavier than comparable current models.
    • Homeowners should plan to allow at least 3 inches more in height and width to the space where the current water heater is located.
    • There may be a need for remodeling if your new water heater won’t fit in the currently allocated space.
  • Installation may be more complicated due to additional insulation and venting requirements
  • Capacity may be less – for example, some 50 gallon size models will provide only 46 gallons of hot water.
  • Standard water heaters over 55 gallons will no longer be available. Only condensing or hybrid heat pump designs will comply..


Schedule a consultation with one of Reliance Home Services water heater experts who will evaluate your current water heater, answer any questions you may have about the new regulations and provide you with options — comparing the current models available to the new models and even tankless water heaters so that you can choose the best option for your home and family.

For more information on the new water heater EF specifications, visit the U.S. Department of Energy.