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(July 10, 2014) – New water heater efficiency regulations may cost you big bucks if you’re thinking about buying a new water heater.

“The new government mandates will force manufacturers of gas, electric or oil fired water heaters to increase their efficiency by April 2015,” said David Heffner from Heffner Plumbing. “That will undoubtedly increase their cost, but right now we don’t know by how much.”

One thing we do know is gas water heaters above 55 gallons will have to convert to a PVC flue. They won’t be able to use a metal pipe anymore. The new piping can be expensive.

That means homeowners face a decision on whether to get a new water heater or convert their old one.

If your water heater is over 10 years old, it’s about time to change it. You can also wait another year, but if you do, that newly manufactured water heater will have to meet those new, more costly standards.

One suggestion: buy what’s on the market now, save some money and have it be good for another 10 years. You can also choose to upgrade to tankless!

“A tankless system will heat water on demand,” Heffner said. “When you open up a faucet, the unit kicks on and then heats water, it doesn’t store water and constantly heat it, only when it’s needed.”

But it’s important to know the cost of a tankless system can be up to eight times that of a conventional water heater, depending on your needs.

Most tankless systems are $3,000 to $4,000 installed. But, sooner or later, a tankless system will pay for itself in saved utility costs.

Here’s something else to consider, the new water heaters will most likely be bigger because of increased insulation. That means there’s a chance they won’t fit in the space where the old water heater was.

Homeowners might have to move the bigger water heater to another part of the house, go tankless or purchase a smaller one with less capacity.

The good news is the April 16, 2015 deadline doesn’t mean everything will immediately change.

“These regulations will affect the manufacturers. As far as the consumer is concerned, there will still be product available with the old technology,” Heffner told FOX59.

So, the big question is how long will the old product last?

Here’s everything you need to know about the new regulations.