Big changes are coming to water heater prices and sizes on April 16, 2015, thanks to a mandate from the US Department of Energy (DOE). If you have been putting off replacing your old water heater, don’t delay any longer! Give Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air a call today to discuss how we can help you save money by installing a new water heater before the April 2015 deadline.

The short of it is new water heaters will cost more as parts are upgraded and added, additionally new waters will be at least 2" wider and 2" taller complicating tight installs.

The DOE directive will require higher energy factor (EF) ratings on virtually all newly installed residential water heating products. This means potentially lower energy costs for homeowners, but increased product and installation costs for a replacement water heater that complies with the 2015 efficiency standards. Water heater manufacturers haven’t yet released product price increases, but estimates are that a 40-gallon water heater costs will increase anywhere from $250 to $500. The size could also increase by as much as 2” in height and 2”in diameter, making installation extremely tight or even unmanageable in pre-existing water heater closets.

Regarding costs increases, Ralph Perez, A.O. Smith Water Heaters’ Director of Product Management, said, “How much more will depend on the type and size of water heater they (homeowners) require to meet their needs. In some cases, homeowners may incur additional expense for the installation of equipment that is physically larger or uses a different technology than the old unit they are replacing.”

For example, a homeowner might decide to purchase a heat pump water heater or one of the highly efficient gas water heaters. Homeowners might face additional expenses related changes to the venting for gas, adding a 120-volt outlet or making provisions for the disposal of condensate.

“In some cases, the water heater may have to be relocated to operate properly or to mitigate noise,” said Chad Sanborn, Bradford White Water Heaters’ Product Marketing Manager. “While the operating cost of the new water heaters will be less because of their increased energy efficiency, it is likely that the maintenance costs will increase because of a more sophisticated design, and the integration of electronics, blowers, fans, condensers, or other components.”

Another drawback is that a new water heater is likely to have lower hot water deliverability than prior models. “For example, a model with less input may be required to achieve the higher efficiency, which will ultimately result in less hot water delivered,” Sanborn said.

On the positive side, the energy savings from the new technology can help offset some of the product and installation costs.  “The savings realized will depend on the type of product homeowners purchase,” said Perez.

Perez suggests talking to your plumbing contractor to understand the energy savings and says, “These are good ‘green’ products.” Homeowners who purchase highly efficient condensing gas or heat pump electric water heaters can anticipate average savings ranging from $60 for natural gas and more than $300 for electric, Perez said.  “Electric heat pump water heaters may also provide some welcome supplemental cooling and dehumidification resulting from the heat pump system,” he added. “Of course actual savings realized vary depending on actual hot water use and local energy costs.”

If you’ve been thinking about replacing your noisy, dripping, or non-functioning water heater, call Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air today. We’d be happy to help your get the work done before the April 16, 2015 deadline. Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air is the San Francisco Bay Area plumbing, heating, and air conditioning contractor you can count on!


Knowing how to quickly and properly resolve various water heater issues is what separates Bellows from other plumbing and heating companies. In Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Marin Counties, Bellows Plumbing, Heating, & Air is the leader when it comes to speed of service, quality of install, and the ability to take on all your water heater repairs.

Our team is here to serve you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you’d like to schedule a Winter tune up for your heating or plumbing systems please consider calling Bellows at 877-477-7151. Bellows Plumbing, Heating, & Air services, repairs, and installs plumbing, heating, and air conditioner equipment in: Santa Cruz, Aptos, Capitola, Scotts Valley, Felton, Watsonville, Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Campbell, Saratoga, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Tiburon, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, San Anselmo, Ross, Fairfax, San Rafael, Marinwood, Terra Linda, and Novato.