ALERT: a New US Deptartment of Energy Rule Will Raise Hot Water Heater Costs

The announcement happened about 18 months ago. The US DOE allowed distributors to sell in-stock units made before the announcement, but now those units have all but disappeared. Home and business owners are likely unprepared for a much larger than anticipated expense. As a Bergen County Plumbing and Heating service for more than 40 years, Muccia Plumbing wants homeowners to be aware of this change now. This post serves to remind you to budget accordingly, based on the age of the existing water heater you own. It’s bad enough to be surprised on a holiday weekend by a failed water heater. That surprise can quickly turn to shock when an unexpected higher cost than anticipated is required for a replacement.

What changed?

The 2015 DOE (Department of Energy) Final Rule energy efficiency mandates require higher Energy Factor ratings on all residential gas, electric, oil and tankless water heaters sold in the US. These changes will have an impact on how water heaters are manufactured, distributed and installed, affecting manufacturers, wholesalers, plumbing contractors and customers alike. The Energy Factor (EF): Energy Factor is the ratio of useful energy output from the water heater to the total amount of energy delivered to the water heater. The higher the EF is, the more efficient the water heater.

Why should you care?BW Tank with Vent Pipe

First, start at the water heater factory. These changes require higher hot water heater manufacturing costs for insulation and parts to achieve EF guidelines. The times of the typical natural gas 40-gallon water heaters for $800 including installation are likely over. With this ruling, the water heater alone may cost upwards of $900 for a 40-gallon natural gas fired made in the USA heater. Additionally, the diameter of the flue pipe (the aluminum ventilation pipe that goes from the exhaust vent on the top of the water heater to the chimney) has been increased from 3” to 4”. This is not an insignificant change, and may require replacing the chimney liner if not done correctly. Though safe for most do-it-yourselves to tangle with water pipes, removing and reinstalling a natural gas or propane line is not meant for the typical homeowner handyman or handy-woman.

Additionally, the diameter of the tank is larger than most pre-2015 built water heater tanks. If you are currently running a water heater in a closet or other tight space, be prepared for some further demolition and construction costs to your home or business, in order to accommodate the larger tank diameter, re-piping of water, fuel and exhaust pipes.

When is the best time to check the age of your hot water heater?


Why now?

Muccia Plumbing wants you to be aware of these Department of Energy mandated changes, and to be prepared to budget accordingly. You may have been ready for an $600 out-of-pocket expense based on a prior replacement. An expense of over $1200 or more is usually not something most homeowners and businesses budget for. Add the additional cost of a weekend out-call due to an unforeseen failure, and you could be looking at $2,000 or more. Muccia Plumbing wants you to be ready before your water heater fails unexpectedly, so you can depend on hot water in your home or business on-demand.

What brand to choose?

The truth is that like most products you can buy, there are cheaper alternatives. Home Improvement Centers will offer an overseas made 40 gallon tank for as little as $400. We won’t. Muccia Plumbing is a certified installer of Bradford White water heaters, and often have replacement models in stock in our Hackensack warehouse. Bradford White is the ONLY water heater brand that is 100% American Made, and they are not sold in home improvement centers. Bradford White is made with industrial strength materials and brass fitting for longer life and added safety.

The Final Point To Know

Muccia Plumbing has been servicing all brands of water heaters for 40 years, and we continue to do so.
Our prompt, courteous and affordable service has kept our customers returning to us year after year.


Bradford White

However, when you require replacing an old water heater, we strongly recommend Bradford White, based on their energy factor compliance in manufacturing, their build quality, and our experience with superb warranty support. As previously mentioned, Muccia Plumbing is listed as a certified Bradford White partner on their website. You can learn more at

Call Muccia Plumbing today for help determining the age of your water heater and how to plan for its replacement at 201-343-1414. Follow us on Facebook at