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What is a Lo Nox Water Heater, and How Does It Affect Me?
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Plumbing 07/1/16

What is a Lo Nox Water Heater, and How Does It Affect Me?

Plumbing standards are constantly changing across the Nation, but especially in places like San Diego where environment and emissions standards are a top priority. Last year, we talked about the changes in Water Heater efficiency and how that affected homeowners, but as if July 1, there is a new change that you need to know about.

All Water Heaters in San Diego must be Lo NOx.

What is Lo NOx?

Lo NOx is a type of burner assembly that can be found in boilers to produce steam and electricity. It drastically reduces the oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions form natural gas water heaters.

Why Does Lo NOx matter?

Environmental experts have linked oxides of nitrogen with greenhouse gasses and smog.

How does Lo NOx Affect You?

In San Diego county, you will no longer be able to purchase or install a water heater that does not have the Lo NOx technology. And, of course that means a another price increase, by about $200. Manufactures are no longer selling the non-qualifying water heaters in San Diego.

Will This Affect My Current Water heater Warranty?

It could. Because you can no longer get the old versions of water heaters, if your current water heater needs replaced under warranty, you will have to pay a fee to upgrade to the Lo NOx version. This is a manufacturer fee, and for RUUD/Rheem, it is $175. The good news is that they will give you a brand new full warranty. In the past, if you had 3 years left on your warranty when replacing, your new water heater was only eligible for the remaining 3 years.

How Much Do Water Heaters Cost?

Just out of the box, not installed, you can find water heaters ranging from $400-900. The higher the quality of materials, efficiency, and longer warranties, the higher the price tag. And, with the introduction of Lo NOx, the price has increased.

Because of the many brands of major appliances and the many places you can purchase them, water heaters range in cost and if you do your research you can get the best value.

However, you will want to do your homework. If you buy form the home stores, you can find them for a little less than the professional models, but keep in mind that they are made for the retail market as opposed to the professional supply houses that only sell to licensed plumbers. They also are not as easily repaired through professional San Diego plumbers, because our professional supply stores do not carry or stock most of the brands sold through the home stores.

Bill Howe Plumbing has been installing RUUD/Rheem water heaters in San Diego for over 30 years because of their superior value and customer service. Depending on size, you can expect to pay between $1100-1600 a standard 40, or 50,  gallon natural gas water heater through Bill Howe, installed.

But, and this is important, all water heaters must be installed to uniform plumbing code and as it changes rapidly, most homeowners find they need additional work when installing a new water heater as well as permits. Yes, water heaters require permits!

Does Bill Howe Offer Free Estimates?

Yes! And, we always encourage you to do your research and determine what you want. If longer warranties are desired, or if you need additional work for plumbing code in San Diego (such as thermal expansion or a drip pan) you should understand what that means. Our Journeyman plumbers will walk you through the entire process and provide you with a formal estimate including all code upgrades and product information at no cost to you.

If you’re experiencing problems with your water heater, or just want to know the condition, call 1-800 Bill Howe (245-5469) today. One of our expert plumbers in San Diego will assess your needs with a free on site estimate.

Sources for this article: Wikipedia and



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