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The concept of political bipartisanship seems laughable now, but there actually have been eras in which members of both major parties worked together. The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 is one such example.
Sen. J. Bennett Johnston of Louisiana introduced the legislation, which was sponsored in the House of Representatives by fellow Democrat Edward Markey of Massachusetts. The bill passed the House by a voice vote and breezed through the Senate, 89-6. President Ronald Reagan, a Republican, signed the legislation. Politicians working together to achieve lasting progress. Who knew?
The act regulates energy consumption of specific household appliances, including water heaters. An amendment to the legislation in 2015 paved the way for the extinction of 80-gallon tanks. While these were once common in residential projects, new rules impacted all conventional residential electric water heaters with a storage volume greater than 55-gallons.
After significant postponement, NAECA III enforcement finally went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. While the installed 80-gallon electric tanks were allowed to remain in use, many of them have now reached the end of their useful life and need to be replaced.
In Canada, homes use about 75 liters of hot water every day and are the second highest energy user in the home. Government officials are doing their part to help reduce the carbon footprint. Natural Resources Canada, a government agency, encourages homeowners with a water heater that is more than 10 years old to upgrade to an Energy Star-certified model. Some provinces even have their own regulations regarding water heaters and other products.
One recent Canadian project showcases a solution. Contractors from Adams Heating, Nova Scotia, installed a 55-gallon HTP Elevate amplified water heater to replace an 80-gallon tank at a home also in Nova Scotia. The Elevate, introduced by HTP/Ariston last year, is much lighter, takes up less space in the mechanical room and includes a limited lifetime warranty.
“It’s the equivalent of a much larger tank, but it freed up a lot of space in the mechanical room and is more efficient than a standard water heater,’’ said Brennan Ferguson, Bruce Sutherland Associates, a Nova Scotia-based manufacturers rep, who recommended the HTP Elevate for the installer.
There was no way to determine the precise age of the existing water heater, but Ferguson knew one thing. It needed replacing.
“It was an incredible failure of their onsite tank,’’ Ferguson said. “It was done.”
The homeowner contacted Adams Heating, which contacted Bruce Sutherland Associates. As the HTP representative in Eastern Canada, Ferguson felt the application called for the 55-gallon Elevate.
“With the smaller footprint, and the difficulty in accessing the basement, we thought this might be a good opportunity,’’ Ferguson said.
The space savings in the mechanical room, the stainless-steel tank and the limited lifetime warranty of the HTP Elevate made the choice easy for the homeowner.
The installation was routine for the contractors, even if removing the 80-gallon proved challenging.
“Going down the stairs with the smaller tank was easy,’’ Ferguson said. “The much harder part was removing the 80-gallon tank. It had been there for some time. It took 3 or 4 guys to manhandle that tank to remove it.”
The Elevate is one of the most unique products on the market, especially with the corrosion-resistant 316L stainless steel tank. 316L grade stainless steel provides greater corrosion resistance than other types of stainless steel, and is commonly used in marine applications, chemical and petrochemical industries, food processing and pharmaceutical equipment.
Another distinguishing feature is an integrated mixing valve that protects against scalding by safely and consistently mixing outlet water to the desired temperature of the homeowner.
Combined with an adjustable thermostat, the Elevate allows for safe and consistent temperature at the faucet while amplifying the total amount of hot water available by safely turning the thermostat up to store water as high as 170 degrees. An ASSE 1017 anti-scald mixing valve is factory installed, so only inlet and outlet connections need to be established. This valve was chosen for its safety features and proven certification.
“When the water comes up through the mixing valve, it ensures safety on the other end,’’ Ferguson said. “We never want to deliver water more than 120 degrees to the tap. What this concept does is create a tank that delivers hot water reliably with a much smaller footprint and is much more effective than a standard electric water heater.”
The tank is also lightweight and much easier to handle than glass-lined water heaters and includes low watts density titanium elements that increase corrosion resistance and extend element life.
The lifespan of a typical electric water heater is 8-10 years, and many of the water heaters installed just before the original legislation are on their last legs.
The HTP Elevate is one of the newer products that gives contractors and homeowner’s peace of mind for the long haul and is easily installed with the added benefits of increased space in the mechanical room, use of premium materials (stainless steel tanks and titanium elements), and a limited lifetime warranty.
“The small footprint and stainless-steel tank make this a really good product,’’ Ferguson said. “It is something we’re going to recommend for a lot of residential retrofits and new installations.”
Thomas Renner writes on trade industry topics for publications throughout the United States.