Come 2015, installing new water heaters might be a two-person job. Plus, learn what is being called a “job killer” for plumbers.


The new water heater efficiency standards become effective April 16, 2015. Issued in April of 2010, the new regulations require higher Energy Factor ratings for virtually all models manufactured in the United States, including gas, oil, electric and tabletop water heaters, along with instantaneous gas and electric heaters. 

The U.S. Department of Energy says the new standards will save around 3.3 quads of energy, which will reduce energy bills by $63 billion for products shipped from 2015-2044, and will avoid about 172.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to the emissions of 33.8 million automobiles. 

The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association recommends contractors become familiar with the new standards, and offers several pieces of educational information at www.phccweb.org

Related: PHCC Addresses Workforce Shortage

One effect is that water heaters will be larger, according to the Associated Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of Alabama. It’s latest newsletter reminds contractors that installation jobs that used to require one person may require two people as the water heaters will be larger and heavier, especially for models over 55 gallons. 


Wage disputes hit rock bottom in California

A bill that would have allowed the filing of liens during wage disputes on an employer’s property, or on any property where work was performed, failed in the California Senate in August. Opponents of the bill said the bill, AB 2416, would have allowed anyone authorized by the employee to file such liens with no evidence of wrongdoing. The lien could be filed against the employer, or third parties such as homeowners or businesses where the employer performed work. 

The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California was one of more than 40 organizations actively opposing the bill, calling it a “job killer.” In a letter signed by all organizations, it was claimed such a law would allow employees “to interfere with an employer’s business or property, or someone else’s real property where work was performed, through recording a pre-judgment lien of such significance without first proving the merit of their allegations.” 

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As the legislative session came to a close in August, the bill failed 15 to 13 with 12 lawmakers abstaining from voting.


Oregon takes sick leave serious

Employers in Eugene, Ore., will be required to offer sick time beginning July 1, 2015, after the City Council passed an ordinance similar to one in Portland that went into effect in 2014. 

The law requires that employers offer sick time at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked up to 40 hours of sick time per year. The ordinance, however, covers only those hours worked within the city, and an employee may use sick leave only during those times they are scheduled to work inside the city. 

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There is no minimum size for companies, though there is an exemption for building and construction trade workers who are subject to a collective bargaining agreement. The Portland law requires the companies with five or fewer workers provide unpaid sick time. Paid sick time is required for companies with six or more employees.


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