Electric Water Heater Installation Cost

The average cost of installing an electric water heater is around $1,035.

In this guide

Cost factors
Types of electric water heaters
Capacity and size
Energy efficiency
Labor
Brands
Maintenance
Gas vs electric water heater
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to install an electric water heater?

Electric water heaters use electricity instead of fire to heat your home water. With electric water heaters, you won’t use heating oil, propane 1, or gas to create your hot water. They tend to be more energy efficient than traditional storage, gas-fired heaters.

There are a few different kinds of electric water heaters to consider when choosing one for your home. The average price to install a new, standard 40-gallon water heater, adding electrical without needing to reconfigure the location of the equipment is $1,035.

Cost factors

When installing water heaters there are many different costs to consider, from the price of the tank, to the updating electrical. If you have an electric tank you are replacing, the cost would be lower than if you are replacing a standard gas-fired water heater. Regardless of type, they all run off of electricity rather than gas, propane, or oil, and require electrical components, wiring, and attachment to the electrical panel.

  • Water heaters come in a variety of storage tank sizes, and there are even tankless versions. The size and type of the tank affects the price. While the smallest water heater, either tankless or 20-gallon, may cost as little as $250; the largest sizes, such as an 80-gallon storage tank or hybrid heat pump 2, can run up to $2,000 or more.
  • Specialty tanks that include mobile alerts and smart capabilities have a higher cost, between $600 and $1,900.
  • If electrical circuits and wiring are already in place you might not have to make any changes. If not, it costs about $4 per foot to add electricity to power your unit. If you need 30 feet of wire and a circuit breaker installed that estimated cost is $120.
  • If the space needs any changes, enhancements, or enlargements it will require supplies such as wood and drywall 3.

Warranties are usually covered in the regular cost of the water heater, however you can also choose to extend the warranty. Warranty extensions may be provided by the installation company or by the manufacturer. The average cost to extend a warranty for 2 years is $150.

Types of electric water heaters

Electric water heaters can be storage tanks, tankless, or hybrid. Storage tank water heaters keep hot water ready to go, and tankless water heaters heat water on demand when you need it, without storing the water in advance. Both storage tanks and tankless water heaters might be a good option depending on your home and your family’s needs. Hybrid water heaters switch between heat pump heating and standard electric resistance heat.

TypeCharacteristicsPrice
Tankless

Smaller than a storage tank

Heats on demand

Never runs out of hot water, but may decrease the flow

More energy efficient than the storage water heater

Good for 20 years or more

$210-$540
Storage tank

Comes in different tank sizes, between 20 and 80 gallons

Uses the First Hour rating to determine heating

Newer models are energy efficient

Good for 10-15 years

Lowest purchase price

$340-$1,200
Hybrid

Move heat from one place to another

Three or four operating modes for different efficiencies and needs

Higher end of the price range than standard electric heaters

Lower operating costs

$1,200-$2,900


Capacity and size

Storage tank water heaters typically hold between 20 and 55 gallons of hot water at one time. Some models can hold up to 80 gallons of water. To know what size water heater you need for your home, you have to figure out the first hour rating (FHR). The FHR is how many gallons of hot water a storage tank can supply in one hour. On the yellow EnergyGuide sticker, the FHR is usually labeled “capacity.”

To calculate your needs, first determine your peak hour demand or what time of day you use the hottest water at home. If everyone showers in the morning or at night, for example, then morning or evening would be your peak hour for demand.

The average family of four might use 100 gallons of hot water in a day, between showers, dishwasher, and washing laundry. However, a 100-gallon tank is not necessary since you wouldn’t use all 100 gallons within one hour. Remember, the FHR is how many gallons of hot water is produced in one hour. A 40-gallon tank produces 40 gallons every hour.

Tankless water heaters provide a gallons-per-minute rating (GPM) because they do not hold water. This type of water heater provides heated water on demand as needed, and often do not run out of hot water the way a storage tank does.

Energy efficiency

Each type of water heater comes with its own energy efficiency information. Energy-efficient electric water heaters can save money on your utility bills. The cost averages between $180 and $550 a year in energy, depending on the type and size of the unit, but also depending on usage (such as the number of showers and people using the hot water).

Newer hot water tanks are more energy efficient than older models. Replacing your older model with a new one will save you money on your utility bill. Savings can total anywhere between $50 and $350 a year, depending on the type of tank purchased. The EnergyGuide label, usually posted on the tank itself, will tell you how much energy consumption a tank will demand and the average cost per year to run, or the average savings per year.

Hybrids have three or four operating modes for different efficiencies, depending on needs. Efficiency/economy mode maximizes efficiency and energy savings and is best for occasional use. Auto/hybrid mode is best for daily use and utilizes sustained heat to heat water efficiently. Electric/heater mode uses the electric element only to heat water, is really just for high-demand periods (such as when everyone is home taking a shower), and is the least efficient. Some models also have a vacation setting, which puts the unit in a sleep mode to keep it from operating while you’re away.

Labor

A professionally licensed plumber knows how to properly install water heaters. They are also able to apply for permits if necessary and hire an electrician to handle any required electrical components during installation. A professional can install a hot water heater in one day, and sometimes in as little as a few hours.

On average, a professional plumber charges between $45 and $65 an hour for labor. If it takes about six hours to install an electric hot water tank, the labor cost would be between $270 and $390.

Electric water heater installation costs generally include the water heater, permit, electrical upgrades, labor, and old water heater removal. The average price in the US to install a new electric water heater is between $620 and $1,020.

Brands

There are many different brands of electric water heaters. This is a small comparison of some of the top brands.

BrandsProsCons

Bosch

Tankless $200-520

Easy to install

Compact design for smaller spaces

Easy to maintain

Not much capacity compared to others

EcoSmart

Tankless $230-500

Great in both cold and hot weather climates

No temperature fluctuations

Smart heating technology

Fits in small spaces

Easy to install

Water flow is not consistent

Rheem

Storage tank $340-$430

Tankless $550

Hybrid $630

Many options--comes in 20-50-gallon tanks, tankless, smart heaters, and hybrid

Medium and tall sizes to fit a variety of spaces

Automatic thermostat

6-year warranty

Easy installation

Heating element doesn’t last as long as the tank

Thermostat 4 sometimes fails

Connection points can rust

Reliance

Storage tanks $350-$500

Environmentally friendly

Copper-sheathed heating elements to prevent rust

Glass lined tank prevents erosion

Not as long-lasting as other top brands

Needs maintenance and repairs often

A.O. Smith

Storage tank $400-750

Tankless $1,200

Hybrid $1,300

Long-lasting when maintained

Permaglass coating inside to prevent rust

Works well with water filters and softeners

The flow rate is great for a large family

Difficult to set up

Bradford White

Storage tank $650-$1,200

Hybrid $1,300

Easy to install

High capacity

Large variety of storage tank water heaters

Parts break easily and may need replacing

Doesn’t last as long as other heaters

Warranty does not include labor costs

Expensive depending on size

Stiebel Eltron

Tankless $650-$850

Hybrid $2,300

Tankless compact model fits in smaller, tight spaces

Handles high water volume

Easy to install

Does not use alternative power sources

More expensive than other tankless brands

Westinghouse

Storage tank $700-$2,100

Hybrid $2,100

Capacity up to 80 gallons

Stainless steel tank is less likely to rust

Energy efficient

Function to prevent overheating

Lifetime warranty

More expensive than other brands


Maintenance

No matter the type of water heater purchased, regular maintenance extends the life cycle of the heater.

For storage water heaters, a quarter of the tank’s water should be flushed every three months. Pressure valves and temperatures should be checked every six months, and anode rods may need to be replaced periodically. Test the temperature pressure release valve by opening it to check for water flow. If water continues to pour out when released, replace the valve. You can also insulate the pipes and the water heater tank to maintain temperatures and prevent condensation.

To clean the tank, first, drain all the water. Then allow cold water to flow into the bottom of the tank to rinse the sediment out. Continue to add water and drain until the water flows clear. Replace the water in the tank.

Maintaining a tankless water heater is a little more difficult and requires more effort. It should be cleaned every 6 months to 2 years. Each water heater comes with instructions on how to clean it if you choose to do it yourself. Generally speaking, you will need to close all water valves and use a hosing line with vinegar to flush it multiple times. A safer option, a professional plumber will have the know-how and equipment to handle this.

Gas vs electric water heater

Deciding between gas and electric water heaters might be a hard task. These are the pros and cons of each one:

TypeProsCons
Gas

Works when there is a power outage

Runs off of natural gas, regular gas, heating oil, or propane.

They cost less to operate

Provide 8-10 gallons of hot water a minute

The unit might lose heat

Requires an existing gas line

More expensive than electric

Uses heating fuel and you may run out of heating fuel

Costs more to install than electric

Emits carbon dioxide into the environment

Electric

Cheaper than gas water heaters

Uses electricity so it never runs out of fuel except in a power outage

Requires minimal maintenance

Environmentally friendly

Installation requires electrical wires and circuits, increasing price

Provides less hot water per minute than gas


Enhancement and improvement costs

Specialty tanks

Specialty tanks that include mobile alerts and smart capabilities have a higher cost, between $600 and $1,900. Smart water water heaters allow you to set controls and change the water temperature and operating modes.

Solar water heater

Solar water heaters use the sun’s energy to provide hot water. You can use a solar water heater instead of just electrical to help save costs. Solar water heaters cost $600 - $2,500. They are more expensive to install, but save money in the long run.

Expansion tanks

An expansion tank is a small tank that sits with the water heater and protects an enclosed water heater system. Some cities require expansion tanks for home owners if they have a closed system. An expansion tank average price is $45.

Earthquake-prone regions

In earthquake-prone regions, water heaters can topple over. Water heaters should be strapped to the wall with special straps if you live in an earthquake-prone region or have loose flooring. Small tanks can also be hung up high to keep them off the floor.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Water heater installation and removal requires permits in most states. Plumbers will include this in their quoted price.
  • If an electrician is needed, they may charge a flat rate for the job, or per hour. The average per hour rate is $65 to $85. Brand new wiring and circuitry can take two to three hours, making the total cost for wiring between $130 and $255.
  • Removal and disposal of the old unit are typically included in a quote. Labor costs $45-$65 and dump fees are around $50. If you are savvy, you can remove it yourself and even salvage it for parts.
  • For the most efficient installation, measure the old water heater and location and find a heater that fits the old space.
  • While changing a water heater yourself is an option, most people don’t understand the code and needs involved in changing a water heater. Untrained homeowners should also not play around with their electrical panels or wiring.
  • New water heaters are often bigger than older, out-of-date models and require changes to the space in order for the water heater to fit. Drywall 3 panels range in cost from $40-$60. Depending on the size expansion, you may need one to four panels.
  • The average lifespan of an electric water heater is anywhere from 10-20 years.
  • Avoid scalding by setting the correct water temperature (120 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Water heaters are known to leak, especially if they are old. Keep a buffer between them and any storage items you have nearby and watch out for damage to your floors.
  • If you have a gas line you will need to switch to electric by installing wiring and an outlet, or consider installing a gas water heater to save the money.
  • Most water heaters come with a 6-year tank and parts warranty and a 1–year labor warranty. If anything goes wrong with the tank after 1 year, you will have to cover labor between $45 - $65 per  hour. After 6 years, parts are covered by the homeowner, or a new tank will need to be purchased.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to install an electric water heater?

The average price to install a new electric hot water heater is between $620 and $1,035.

  • How much is the labor to install a hot water heater?

Labor cost is between $45 and $65 per hour for a plumber. Installation takes between 6 and 8 hours, resulting in $270-$520 in labor costs.

  • Can a homeowner install a water heater?

Homeowners should consult a professional to install a water heater. It may require a permit, new piping and ductwork, space redesign, and electrical wiring.

  • How long does it take to install a 40-gallon hot water heater?

It should take between 6 and 8 hours to install.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Propane: A hydrocarbon gas used as a common fuel source
2 Heat pump: A device used to heat or cool the air in a home by moving hot and cold air to where it is needed. The unit pulls hot air from inside the home in the summer and directs it outdoors, leaving the inside air cool, and pulls heat from outdoors in the winter and directs it into the home, thereby warming it
3 Drywall: Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper
4 Thermostat: A device that senses and regulates temperature by turning heating and cooling devices on and off

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

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albany, CA
+51%
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Arlington, TX
+6%
Arlington, VA
+38%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Beaverton, OR
+15%
Bedford, MA
+41%
Bothell, WA
-6%
Bradenton, FL
-8%
Brockton, MA
+38%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Burleson, TX
-22%
Canton, MI
+16%
Cary, NC
-5%
Cedar Hill, TX
-18%
Charleston, WV
+6%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbus, NE
-11%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Decatur, GA
+9%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Dunedin, FL
-14%
Fairfax, VA
+18%
Fort Myers, FL
-7%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Gainesville, FL
-12%
Greensboro, NC
-9%
Houston, TX
+24%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kirkland, WA
+12%
La Puente, CA
+9%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lebanon, IN
+1%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Lynnwood, WA
-14%
Madison, WI
+13%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
New Bern, NC
-19%
Nutley, NJ
+27%
Oakland, CA
+36%

Labor cost in your zip code

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Methodology and sources