The Department of Energy has mandated that starting on April 15, 2015, all water heaters must meet new energy efficiency standards. Most manufacturers have met these new standards by increasing the size of water heaters as well as adding additional insulation and changing the insulation type. So what does this mean for you? A couple of things. First of all, after the current supply of water heaters (made to fit the old standards) is depleted, the cost of a new water heater will be more expensive. Secondly, some makes and models have been discontinued as a result of the changes.

Most people don’t know a lot about hot water heaters, and that’s perfectly fine. We’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know about water heaters, whether you’re in the market now or will be within the next few years.

When To Replace Them

Water heaters give out several tell-tale signs when they need to be replaced. Age is one factor; the Department of Energy suggests that you start doing research on a new water heater if yours is over seven years old. If your hot water heater is leaking, or if you notice that you’re just not getting as much hot water out of it as you used to, these might also be signs of failure. Other indicators are slow recovery, noisy operation, calcium buildup, and no hot water at all.

Lifespan of Water Heater

A traditional hot water heater typically lasts between 10 to 15 years. This lifespan can be increased with regular maintenance.

The Importance Of High-Efficiency

Water heating accounts for approximately 15% of your energy bill. According to the Department of Energy, an average family will spend between $400 to $600 yearly on hot water, and use around 64 gallons daily. A high-efficiency hot water heater is important because it cuts the amount of energy you use, therefore cutting your energy costs.

Current Water vHeater Efficiency

Each water heater is given an Energy Efficiency Rating or an Energy Factor. The Energy Factor of a hot water heater is a calculation of its efficiency when run under standardized conditions for a 24-hour period of time. The Department of Energy calculates the Energy Factor by running a specified simulated use test on each model of the water heater. Expressed as a decimal, when compared to standard products of the same fuel type, a water heater with a higher Energy Factor rating uses less energy.

To find out the Energy Factor of your current model of hot water heater, click here.

How To Make It More Efficient

An easy way to make your hot water heater more efficient is to keep it regularly maintained. Regular maintenance, as stated earlier, will also increase the lifespan. Regular maintenance includes periodically flushing your tank of water and replacing anode rods.


You have quite a few options when it comes to a new water heater. The first thing you need to determine is what type of energy you’ll be using to heat your home. Electricity? Fuel oil? Natural gas? Solar? Propane? If you have more than one option available, consider which would be the least expensive.

After determining the fuel type, you can decide what type of hot water heater would be best for you. The two main options are either a traditional (with a storage tank), or tankless. Each of the two has its own list of pros and cons, which you can read about more in detail here.


The installation costs vary based on several factors, the largest of which is the type of water heater you are having installed. A full installation with a traditional hot water heater will be on the lower end of the estimate, and tankless water heaters will be on the higher end. As stated before, the new high-efficiency hot waters heaters will cost more, due to a larger size and more insulation.

Do You Still Have Questions?

That’s quite alright! We’re here to help. Whether you need help choosing the right water heater for your home, want an estimate on an installation, or just want to schedule maintenance to extend the life of your current water heater, Air Group has you covered. Just call or click here today.