The U.S. Department of Energy's Buildings Energy Data Book noted that April 16 will mark the start of new efficiency standards for residential appliances. In regards to hot water heaters, these changes will require manufacturers to make changes to the way that appliances equipped with water tanks are designed – the result is larger, more complex heaters that boast improved efficiency at the cost of bulkier tank.
The increasing size of water heaters, however, is not congruent with current trends in home design, which emphasize sustainability in performance and use of space. As a result, the new standards represent an opportunity for contractors to update their appliance offerings to avoid the hassles of compliance. By utilizing high-end tankless water heaters and a distributed generation approach to installation, contractors have a chance to better meet the needs of their customers.
Using proven technology eliminates uncertainty
Plumbing Perspective noted that contractors installing standard water heaters will be forced to retrain employees on the intricacies of the new water heater models, including their installation, function and repair. Research and training takes time, adding pressure to the contractor's budget as they work to fit seminars into their busy schedule.
Alternatively, contractors can turn to proven technology like tankless water heaters. The design of these 99 percent thermal efficient appliances will remain unaffected by the new Department of Energy standards – this means contractors going tankless in 2015 will be able to circumvent the uncertainty that comes with working with new technology.
Higher prices means consumers will be open to new options
In previous years the cost difference between tankless water heaters and standard water heaters had inclined consumers to go with the model with a cheaper upfront cost. According to The Detroit News, this difference in costs will soon be greatly reduced.
A local contractor told the resource that water heaters below 55 gallons will see price increases of, at minimum, hundreds of dollars. Those in need of water heaters above 55 gallons in size will see an even larger bump in price. In both cases, distributed generation via tankless water heaters will allow consumers and contractors alike to reduce their long-term costs.
Distributed generation allows contractors to save materials
The sustainability advantages of distributed generation begin to shine at the construction phase. Traditional water heating systems require cold and hot water pipes to run throughout the building. It's not uncommon for larger buildings to contain third pipe to recycle hot water. By installing tankless water heaters directly at points of use, contactors can instead run a single cold water pipe throughout the entire building.
"The sustainability advantages of distributed generation begin to shine at the construction phase."
The design perks of distributed generation are a boon for contractors in multiple ways. Fewer pipes means a reduced material count by up to two thirds, which saves companies money by cutting down on resource use and easing the logistics of moving materials to and from the worksite. Reducing material use in construction is a foundation of the green building movement, one that contractors can implement with ease by installing tankless water heaters.
Lowering complexity also minimizes maintenance needs
The benefits of distributed generation do not end with the completion of the project. Utilizing fewer, simpler parts reduces the chances that components in a building's plumbing system malfunction. By avoiding complexity in installation and choice of appliance, a contractor can ensure their projects are built to last.
High-end tankless water heaters have a performance life of two decades, making them an ideal appliance for homes designed to endure. Reliable homes also help contractors develop long-lasting connections and build the customer base they need to stay successful.