How Much Does It Cost to Install a 50-Gallon Water Heater?

National Average Range:
$1,100 - $2,800
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Reviewed by Paula Reguero. Written by

Water heaters are integral parts of every home. They supply the hot water you need to bathe, cook, clean, and wash your clothes. Water heaters come in many types and styles, with the tank-style heater being one of the most common and least expensive to install. With a tank-style heater, you store a certain amount of water to be used as you need it. 50-gallon water heaters are designed to hold 50 gallons of hot water, dispensing it as needed. This heater size is ideal for 3-to-5 person households with moderate hot water needs. These heaters can be fueled by electricity, gas, or liquid propane and installed in many areas of your home.

The national average cost to replace a 50-gallon hot water heater is $1,100 to $2,800, with most people paying around $1,800 for a direct replacement of a 50-gallon gas hot water heater using the same model. This project’s low cost is $770 for a 50-gallon electric hot water heater replacement in an open-and-easily accessed area. The high cost is $4,200 for replacing a high-efficiency 50-gallon gas hot water heater in a new and difficult-to-access location with modifications to fit.

50-Gallon Water Heater Cost Calculator

50-gallon hot water heaters are designed for households of 3 to 5 people with moderate hot water needs. These tank-style heaters can be powered by electricity, gas, or propane 1. Hot water heaters powered by gas or propane are available in many efficiencies, which can make them less expensive to run but increase their initial cost. Efficiency, fuel type, and replacement location impact your final costs. Below are the costs for fully installed 50-gallon hot water heaters with different qualities.

50-Gallon Water Heater Costs
Zip Code Gallons
Basic Standard Best Quality
50-Gallon Water Heater Cost (Material Only) $500 - $750 $800 - $2,000 $2,000 - $2,700
50-Gallon Water Heater Installation Cost (Labor Only) $270 - $350 $400 - $600 $600 - $1,500
Total Costs $770 - $1,100 $1,200 - $2,600 $2,600 - $4,200
50-Gallon Water Heater Cost per Gallon $15.40 - $22.00 $24.00 - $52.00 $52.00 - $84.00

Electric hot water heaters tend to be the least expensive to purchase and install, but they can be more costly to run long-term. Gas and propane heaters tend to cost less to run, but they may cost more to install. Gas and propane heaters also come in varying efficiencies, increasing their initial setup costs but decreasing long-term costs. In addition, how easy the area is to install in and whether it needs modifications also impact your final project costs.

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Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Top manufacturers. 50-gallon hot water heaters are very common and are produced by many manufacturers. These include Rheem, Bosch, Reliant, and Bradford White.
  • Lifespan. The average lifespan of a tank-style hot water heater is 10 to 15 years, although some last longer.
  • Maintenance. Hot water heater maintenance is generally easy and requires periodically draining the tank to flush out any particulates on the bottom.
  • Mounting. 50-gallon hot water heaters are large enough that they require floor mounting 2. This means you need the floor space for installation.
  • Piping. If you need additional piping to get the hot water from your heater to your home, you may have additional costs between $8 and $10 a linear foot.
  • Permit. Permits are not needed in most areas to install hot water heaters. This can change by municipality, so always check with your plumber or local government for more information.


  • How much does it cost to replace a 50-gallon water heater?

The average cost to replace a 50-gallon hot water heater is $1,100 to $2,800, depending on the fuel type and how efficient the system is.

  • How long does a 50-gallon water heater last?

The average 50-gallon hot water heater can last between 10 and 15 years, although some last longer.

  • How many showers can you take with a 50-gallon water heater?

This depends on several factors. Assuming you mix hot water with cold water and most showerheads produce about 2 gallons of water a minute, it is reasonable to expect that a 50-gallon hot water heater will give you one 50-minute shower, two 25-minute showers, or ten 5-minute showers.

  • Is a 50-gallon hot water heater enough for a family of 4?

Yes, as long as you have moderate hot water needs. If you have a performance shower or jetted tub, you may need a larger hot water heater.

  • Is a 50-gallon water heater better than a 40-gallon?

A 50-gallon water heater is not necessarily better, but it will provide more hot water. If you run out of hot water frequently, upgrading to a 50-gallon tank can help.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Propane 1 Propane: A hydrocarbon gas used as a common fuel source
2 Mounting: A support on which something is attached or hung

Cost to install a 50-gallon water heater varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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