Tankless Water Heater Installation Cost

The cost of installing a tankless water heater is $1,500-$2,000.

In this guide

Whole house vs single point water heater
Type
Labor
Enhancements
Additional Considerations
FAQ

How much does it cost to install a tankless water heater?

Water heaters are an integral part of the plumbing systems in residential homes and commercial buildings. Increasingly, consumers are turning to tankless water heaters for their many benefits. These tankless models use heating elements that are placed in close proximity to where the water will be used. As opposed to a traditional tank storage water heater which uses a steady supply of electricity to store and constantly heat water, the tankless models only heat water as necessary.

The average cost for a propane powered single-point tankless water heater system will be $1,500 - $2,000.

Whole house vs single point water heater

Tankless units can be installed on the interior or exterior of the building near the water use point and no more than 50 ft. from an adjacent power source (typically requiring 220 volts). This means that you will need a tankless heater for every water source. For example, if you have two bathrooms and a dishwasher, you will need three units, unless all three locations are fairly close to one another.

It's important to keep in mind the amount of water that can be heated via a tankless system (2 to 5 gallons per minute for a tankless unit, compared to the capacity of hot water in a traditional system). This is important when considering which system might be right for a building. For example, in a home with multiple people bathing, a washing machine running and perhaps a dishwasher running, all of these items cannot be used together off one unit. You must either install multiple units, or run one water source at a time.

For most single family homes, a whole house water heater will be sufficient, allowing you to have multiple bathers or a washing machine and dishwasher running at once. Both options should be considered to determine which is right for your needs.

Another important aspect to factor in is the expected lifespan of the unit. While traditional water heaters will typically have a lifespan of anywhere between ten and fifteen years, most tankless units can be expected to be in use for over twenty years.

Type

While there are two main types of water heaters, as we've discussed, there are also varying methods for fueling them. The following table lists the costs for each type:

Fuel TypePros/ConsBrand/Price Example
Electric

Widely available

Annual cost of $185

EcoSmart 4.6 GPM at $455
Oil

Not available everywhere

Annual cost of $163

Everhot 30 gal at $1,043
Natural Gas

Widely available

Annual cost of $163

Rheem 40 gal at $429
Propane 1

Widely available

Annual cost of $163

Rheem 40 gal at $498
Solar

Available in sunny areas

Cost of initial installation and maintenance

AO Smith 120 gal at $970

Labor

Once the type of unit and fuel have been selected, the plumber remove the old system, if existing, then a new gas line or heat source access and new water lines will be installed. This may include opening some walls or a ceiling, depending on where in your home the pipes run, and where you unit will be located. Ideally, you want the unit fairly close to where the hot water will be used in order to deliver the water in a timely way. Finally, the new tankless water heater is mounted and connected to the previously installed lines.

The average hourly rate for a plumber to complete the installation process is $45-$65, with installation running two to three hours for a total of $90 to $195 for labor alone. Additional costs include other materials needed for installation (heat pumps 2, water pumps 3, pipes, etc.) and the costs associated with permitting. These may add $250 to $500 to the final cost.

If walls need to be opened, you may need to also include the costs of drywall 4 and finishing to the job, as much as $200. Most traditional water heaters sit in a closet for easy access; tankless models may need to have an access door added nearby in case of future issues to allow quick repair. This may need to be installed by a carpenter at a rate of $70 an hour, or a handyman at a rate of $100 to $300 for the project.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • According to the Department of Energy, energy efficient tankless water heaters, while having a higher initial cost, $200 to $300 more in many cases, will save money in the long run in terms of operation/maintenance and power costs. 

Additional considerations and costs

  • Maintenance: periodic water heater maintenance is recommended by the Department of Energy and will vary greatly based on the manufacturer's recommendations, but expect to pay standard hourly plumber fees of $45-$65 an hour for water heater maintenance, with most maintenance taking 1 to 2 hours for a yearly total of $45 to $130.
  • Additional materials: some of the tankless systems will also be incompatible with the location and setup of older storage tank models. This may require reconfiguration and additional materials such as insulation and piping, which retails for around $10 per foot.
  • Configuration of water heater: some electrical systems and configurations may need to be updated to accommodate the voltage requirements of the new electric tankless system. While not always required, this is a potential cost that must factor in cost of materials plus that of an electrician ($65-$85 per hour).
  • Removal of current system: another issue to consider is that the removal and disposal costs of your current water heater, which can be upwards of $500 dollars, based on your area.
  • DIY: there are many reasons the installation of a tankless hot water heater is not considered a do-it-yourself project for the average homeowner. For example, the high voltage of the unit (240 volts), possibility of gas lines for propane 1 powered systems and the required permitting in some jurisdictions will all require the expertise of a licensed and insured professional.
  • Permitting: all jurisdictions are different. Considering the code regulations for different cities, towns, counties and municipalities, permits may be required to start this project. Many jurisdictions consider new water heater installation and replacement water heater installation a different type of job (i.e., a permit may be required for one, but not the other). This should be taken into consideration to ensure the project remains above board.
  • Energy and costs savings: according to the Chicago Tribune, the average annual cost savings of a tankless water heater compared to a traditional tank storage is roughly $116 a year. Tankless water heaters are also objectively more energy efficient than traditional storage water heater units.


FAQ


  • How much is a tankless water heater?

The average cost of a tankless water heater installed is around $1,500-$2,000. The cost of a gas-powered tankless water heater costs around $430 without installation.

  • How does a tankless hot water heater work?

Tankless water heaters are installed near the point of use, or place where the hot water is needed. A heating element heats the water as it passes through the heater, rather than continuously heating the water like a traditional tank.

  • How good are tankless water heaters?

Tankless water heaters heat approximately 2-5 gallons of water a minute, which is sufficient for most uses at each point. They typically last around 20 years - about 5 years longer than a traditional heater.

  • How long does a gas water heater last?

A tankless gas water heater lasts around 20 years, while a traditional gas water heater lasts about 15.

  • What is a tankless hot water heater?

A tankless hot water heater is a heating element installed near the point of use. Water passes through the unit and is heated as needed, rather than continuously, saving on energy bills.

  • How much is a new hot water heater?

A new tankless water heater costs between $1,500 and $2,000 installed, while a whole house tank costs between $600 and $800. A tankless hot water heater costs around $430 without installation and a traditional heater costs around $440.

Was this guide helpful to you?
  

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 pumps: 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 Pumps: A device used to move air, liquid, or gas by mechanical means
4 Drywall: Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper

Cost to install a tankless 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
Allen, TX
+23%
Athens, AL
-40%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Bensalem, PA
+29%
Berkeley, CA
+39%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Broomfield, CO
-6%
Buchanan, MI
-13%
Buena Park, CA
+19%
Carlisle, PA
-3%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbia, SC
-10%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
Fairfax, VA
+18%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Houston, TX
+24%
Irvine, CA
+23%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lathrop, CA
+4%
Laurel, MD
+26%
Lawton, OK
-38%
Leander, TX
+4%
Lewisburg, KY
-43%
Littleton, CO
+2%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Lynnwood, WA
-14%
Madison, OH
-15%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
New Bedford, MA
+7%
New Orleans, LA
+35%
North Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Ogden, UT
-20%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Patchogue, NY
+17%

Labor cost in your zip code

Last modified:   See change history
Methodology and sources