How Much Does It Cost to Install a Water Heater?

National Average Range:
$800 - $2,500
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Reviewed by Adam Graham. Written by Fixr.com.

A water heater is an essential appliance in any home, heating water for bathing, showering, cleaning, and cooking. They come in various shapes and sizes, including tank and tankless models and electric and gas-powered heaters. The size, type, and functionality all impact the price, and homeowners should consider all their options before deciding which model to purchase.

The national cost range for installing a water heater is $800 to $2,500, with most homeowners paying $1,200 to install a whole-house 50-gallon tank unit for a 4 to 5-person household. The low cost for this project is $620 for an electric 40-gallon tank-style heater. The project’s high cost is $8,000 for a tankless solar water heating system designed for a household of 5 people.

Water Heater Costs

Water Heater Installation Prices
National average cost$1,200
Average range$800-$2,500
Low-end$620
High-end$8,000

Water Heater Installation Cost by Project Range

Low
$620
Electric 40-gallon tank-style heater
Average Cost
$1,200
Installing a whole-house 50-gallon water heater for a 4-5-person household
High
$8,000
Tankless solar system for a 5-person household

Water Heater Costs by Power Source

Like furnaces, stoves, and other appliances in your home, your heater can be powered by different fuels. Depending on where you live and which utilities you already have in your home, your choices can be electric, gas, and solar. Each has its own price and other attributes that may make one a better fit for your home.

Cost of an Electric, Gas, and Solar Powered Water Heater

Cost of an Electric, Gas, and Solar Powered Water Heater

Power SourceAverage Costs (Only Material)
Electric$350 - $2,500
Gas$400 - $3,000
Solar$1,000 - $4,000

Electric Water Heater Cost

The cost of an electric water heater is between $350 and $2,500. Heaters are usually powered by either gas or electricity. Electric heaters are typically cheaper than gas heaters. They require less maintenance and are often more eco-friendly but not quite as efficient overall. Also, the installation can be more complicated. Your costs vary depending on the type and size.

Gas Water Heater Cost

The cost of a gas water heater ranges from $400 to $3,000. Gas heaters function when the power goes out. They run off of natural gas, regular gas, heating oil, and propane 1, so you can choose between different fuel sources, depending on accessibility and prices in your area. The running costs of gas heaters are typically lower, but they are less eco-friendly. Costs depend on the heater type and size.

Solar Water Heater Cost

The cost of a solar heater averages $1,000 to $4,000. A solar heater uses solar power, taken from the sun, to heat the water. They come in various types and sizes and are one of the most expensive heaters you can buy and install. However, they can save you money in the long run by using a renewable and eco-friendly energy source. Solar heater costs depend on the system type.

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Water Heater Costs by Type

There are several types of heaters, including standard tank, tankless, hybrid, and solar-powered heaters. They vary in size and functionality, but all do the same basic thing - heat your water. The total heater cost varies depending on the type, and different types can be easier to install and maintain and have varying lifespans and features. All the heaters, except solar heaters, can be powered by electricity or gas, and the power source also impacts the final price. The table below shows the four main types with their average prices.

Cost per Unit of a Tank, Tankless, Indirect, and Hybrid Water Heater

Cost per Unit of a Tank, Tankless, Indirect, and Hybrid Water Heater

TypeAverage Unit Cost
Tank

$350 - $1,000 (Electric)

$400 - $1,500 (Gas)

Tankless

$450 - $1,500 (Electric)

$500 - $2,000 (Gas)

Indirect

$800 - $4,000

Hybrid

$1,200 - $2,500 (Electric)

$1,400 - $3,000 (Gas)

Tank Water Heater Cost

The average cost of an electric tank-style water heater is between $350 and $1,000. For gas, costs range from $400 to $1,500. A tank model is the most traditional one, found in many homes around the world. These heaters come with a large tank that stores and heats the water in advance, allowing you to turn on the shower or faucets and slowly drain the hot water out of the tank. On the plus side, they provide a large supply of hot water instantly, but on the downside, the tank needs to be refilled after emptying.

Tankless Water Heater Cost

The average costs of an electric tankless model are $450 to $1,500 for a whole-house heater. The average cost for a gas heater is $500 to $2,000. A tankless water heater does not have a large tank to store the hot water. Instead, they heat the water as you use it, making them more energy-efficient. One advantage of a tankless water heater is that it is much smaller, taking up less room in the house, and easier to install.

Indirect Water Heater Cost

Indirect water heaters are one of the cheapest to run but one of the most expensive to purchase, averaging $800 to $4,000. Indirect models use the heat produced by either your furnace or boiler to also heat your water. This keeps your costs to run low because it piggybacks off the costs you already pay to heat your home. But the installation is more invasive and costly. The unit is also larger and more expensive. Ensure you have enough space next to your boiler or furnace to install the indirect unit.

Hybrid Water Heater Cost

A hybrid unit, also known as a hybrid heat pump 2 heater, is one of the most efficient water heaters. They are very large and expensive units, costing between $1,200 and $2,500 for electric units and $1,400 to $3,000 for gas, but they are very good at heating water without using too much energy. They use a heat pump to pull heat out of the surrounding air and transfer it to the water via coils and a compressor.

Water Heater Cost by Gallon

Tank water heaters can be found in a range of different sizes, from relatively small 30-gallon models to much larger 80-gallon units. The smaller models are better for smaller homes with just one or two people, while larger families need bigger models to provide sufficient hot water for all of their daily showers and other needs. The table below shows average prices for units of different capacities.

Cost of a 30, 40, 50, 75, and 80-Gallon Water Heater

Cost of a 30, 40, 50, 75, and 80-Gallon Water Heater

SizeAverage Heater Cost
30-Gallon$300 - $1,100
40-Gallon$350 - $1,700
50-Gallon$500 - $2,700
75-Gallon$1,100 - $4,800
80-Gallon$1,100 - $7,000

30-Gallon Water Heater Cost

The average cost for a 30-gallon heater is between $300 and $1,100. A 30-gallon heater is a good choice for a home with 2 to 3 people, but it can also be a good option for people living on their own.

40-Gallon Water Heater Cost

A 40-gallon heater averages $350 to $1,700. It is a good choice for a home with 3 to 4 people and should provide enough hot water for the typical small family.

50-Gallon Water Heater Cost

The average cost for a 50-gallon water heater ranges from $500 to $2,700. They are best suited for homes with 4 to 5 people, catering to families with 2 to 3 children.

75-Gallon Water Heater Cost

If you have a larger family with over 5 members, a 75-gallon water heater is one of the best options, with costs averaging $1,100 to $4,800. This size has sufficient power to handle multiple showers and faucets running simultaneously.

80-Gallon Water Heater Cost

For those with the largest households and families with 6+ members, an 80-gallon heater may be the right option. This heater costs between $1,100 and $7,000. With its huge tank, it meets the needs of big families. This size tank is also recommended for performance shower systems because it can handle the higher demand for water at once. If you need this much hot water, it is better to choose a single large unit rather than rely on two smaller ones. The added plumbing expense would more than double the project costs.

Labor Costs to Install a Water Heater by Type

In addition to the material costs, you must also consider the labor costs to install the water heater. Prices vary greatly depending on the plumber and heater type. Plumbers typically charge $45 to $200 per hour. Some heaters can be installed in a couple of hours, while others require a full day, with prices ranging from $270 to $3,500. Some heaters are very difficult to install, so the prices are much higher. Tank heaters are usually the simplest, and solar heaters are the most complicated and expensive. The table below shows the average labor and total project costs for each heater.

Labor and Total Cost to Install a Tank, Tankless, Indirect, and Hybrid Water Heater

Labor and Total Cost to Install a Tank, Tankless, Indirect, and Hybrid Water Heater

TypeLabor CostsTotal Costs
Tank$270 - $1,500$620 - $3,000
Tankless$500 - $1,700$1,000 - $4,500
Indirect$400 - $2,000$1,200 - $6,000
Hybrid$300 - $1,500$1,500 - $4,500

Tank Water Heater Installation Cost

The cost to install a traditional tank-style water heater is between $270 and $1,500, making the total cost $620 to $3,000. Installation of the unit is fairly easy. The tank is set in place and connected to the water supply, water output, and energy source. The costs increase if you need to extend your gas line to connect the heater or if you need to modify the electric source. The tank is easy to place, making the overall installation fairly quick and not very invasive. When replacing an existing model of the same type, your overall costs will be lower.

Tankless Water Heater Installation Cost

The installation cost for a tankless water heater ranges from $500 to $1,700. This makes the total cost for a tankless system $1,000 to $4,500, for most units. Solar heaters have different costs of up to $8,000. This installation is much more complex and invasive than for a tank installation. In this case, the walls must be opened where the heater will be. The pipes must be cut, and the heater installed between them. Then, it needs to be connected to the energy source. If you already have a gas line or wiring nearby, costs are much lower than if you need to run a line to the heater. Depending on the heater location, you may have additional costs with refinishing the wall after the installation.

Indirect Hot Water Heater Installation Costs

The cost to install an indirect hot water heater is between $400 and $2,000, with total costs of $1,200 to $6,000. In this case, the unit does not have its own energy source. It uses the energy provided by your boiler or furnace, so the fuel source does not matter. Instead, installation needs to connect the unit to the furnace or boiler. Costs depend on the furnace or boiler type and the distance between the heater and hot water tank. The farther away the two appliances are, the higher the installation cost and the less efficient the final installation.

Hybrid Water Heater Installation Cost

A hybrid water heater installation averages $300 to $1.500, bringing the total costs to $1,500 to $4,500. Like other heaters, the costs depend on whether the power source is already in place. If you need a gas line run, your costs are higher. If you have the wiring in place, your costs are lower than if you need new wiring. Hybrid heaters usually need more space than other heaters, meaning their locations can be limited. This may mean that pipes need to be run to them, increasing costs.

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Labor Costs to Install a Water Heater by Energy Source

The fuel source you use to heat your water is at least partially responsible for your costs. This is true of any heater you purchase, except for the indirect mode that gets its heat from your boiler or furnace. In general, electric heaters cost the least to install, while solar costs the most. Your total costs are also influenced by the heater location. For example, if you need to extend electrical wires to your new electric heater, your costs for labor and installation will be slightly higher than if you have wiring installed. Likewise with gas, running a gas line to the heater will increase your total costs, while simply hooking up an existing line can be much less expensive.

Difficult-to-access areas, such as heaters located inside walls, and how far the heater will be from the home’s piping also influence your total labor costs. Below are the average costs for labor for each of the different fuel sources.

Labor and Total Cost to Install an Electric, Gas, and Solar Water Heater

Labor and Total Cost to Install an Electric, Gas, and Solar Water Heater

Energy SourceLabor CostsTotal Costs
Electric$270 - $1,000$620 - $3,500
Gas$350 - $2,000$750 - $5,000
Solar$2,000 - $4,000$3,000 - $8,000

Cost to Install an Electric Water Heater

Labor costs to install an electric water heater range from $270 to $1,000, depending on the heater type and location. The total costs are $620 to $3,500. Electric heaters are generally easier to install. They are most commonly hardwired into your home’s electrical system. If you have existing wiring nearby, your overall costs are lower than if you need to wire the area. The heater type and location also drive costs. A tank heater costs less to install than a tankless system.

Cost to Install a Gas Water Heater

The labor costs to install a gas water heater average $350 to $2,000, making the total cost $750 to $5,000. Like electric heaters, costs vary by heater type and location. If you need to extend a gas line to fuel the heater, your costs are higher than if the gas line is already there. Hooking up a gas heater is not very difficult, but it takes slightly longer than installing an electric heater of the same type. This extra time accounts for the higher costs, even in areas where the gas line already exists. Tank heaters cost less to install than the tankless models.

Cost to Install a Solar Water Heater

Labor costs for installing a solar water heater range from $2,000 to $4,000, with total costs of $3,000 to $8,000. Solar installations are typically higher than average due to the way that they are constructed. They typically use a series of solar tubes that are installed on your roof. Water is designed to circulate through the tubes consistently to heat the water. Due to the location of the tubes and how far they may have to run to hook up with your water supply, this may mean a higher installation cost. The more tubes and the longer they have to run, the higher the costs.

Water Heater Installation Cost by Type of Vent

Water heaters can also be divided into two other categories: direct vent and power vent. The difference between these two heaters concerns the ways they deal with exhaust gases produced from burning the fuel. With a direct vent heater, the exhaust gases are vented out via an exhaust pipe 3 or chimney. With a power vent heater, there is a fan or blower 4 that aids in removing the gases. Expect to pay $500 to $1,000 more for a power vent model with installation than for a direct vent model.

Cost to Install a Direct and a Power Vent Water Heater

Cost to Install a Direct and a Power Vent Water Heater

TypeAverage Costs (Installed)
Direct Vent$350 - $4,000
Power Vent$1,050 - $5,000

Direct Vent Water Heater Installation Cost

An installed direct vent water heater costs between $350 and $4,000. These are both simpler and less expensive to purchase and install. They do not have as many moving parts, so they need fewer repairs over time. All gas models need to vent. Direct vent models work well if your heater is placed near an outside source, meaning the gasses do not need to travel far through a chimney to get out.

Power Vent Water Heater Installation Cost

An installed power vent water heater averages $1,050 to $5,000. They have more moving parts and require electricity to vent. Even if you use gas to heat your water, your unit requires electricity to work. In a power outage, this method cannot function. When it is operational, it is much more efficient at moving exhaust, however. You can also locate it farther from an outside wall and not worry about the exhaust reaching the outdoors.

How to Determine Which Size Water Heater You Need

A properly sized water heater will meet your hot water needs while being more efficient. However, many homeowners are not sure which size heater they need for their homes, and with so many options and capacities available, it can be tricky to figure out which size you need.

This can be made more complicated when choosing between tank and tankless systems because they have different ways of measuring size and capacity. A tank system is measured in gallons, which refers to how many gallons can be stored in the tank at one time. A tankless system is measured in gallons per minute (GPM), which shows how many gallons of hot water it can provide per minute. The table below should help you find the right size for your home.

Tank and Tankless Size Needed for a 1, 2-3, 4-5, or 6+ Person Household

Tank and Tankless Size Needed for a 1, 2-3, 4-5, or 6+ Person Household

Size of HouseholdTank Size (in gallons)Tankless Size (in GPM)
1 Person20 - 302 - 3
2 - 3 People30 - 403 - 4
4 - 5 People40 - 504 - 5
6+ People50+5+

Whole-house systems require more power and a larger space to operate. They also tend to be more expensive than single-point systems, although that cost is used to provide hot water to the entire house. A 1,500-square-foot home system averages $600 to $800.

Historically, single-point systems were for tankless systems, although there are more options now. Single-point systems tend to be more efficient because the water does not have to travel as far before reaching its destination, giving it a smaller chance of heating unnecessary water and water losing its heat as it travels through long pipes. Single-point systems are smaller and less expensive, ranging from $200 to $400.

Water Heater Replacement Cost

If you already have a water heater in place and need to replace it with a new one, the costs vary depending on the heater type and whether you are replacing your current heater with one of the same type and size. Replacing an electric tank heater with another electric tank heater is much simpler and cheaper than replacing it with a different model. In general, replacing one costs between $600 and $3,000 when replacing the same kind of heater. When replacing a different kind, the price varies from $800 to $3,500. Additional costs include installing new wiring, gas lines, and plumbing, obtaining permits for any necessary construction, and carpentry costs if new walls or spaces need to be built.

Cost to Replace a Gas Water Heater

The average cost to replace a gas water heater is between $1,000 and $2,500, depending on the size. These costs include the removal of the old heater and installing the new one. Your biggest costs are based on the heater size and location, rather than on the replacement. This assumes that your gas line and all other hookups are in good shape. If you need a new gas line or are moving your unit, your costs will be higher. However, most installations are fairly straightforward and can be done relatively quickly.

Cost to Replace a 40-Gallon Water Heater

The average cost to replace a 40-gallon water heater is between $750 and $2,000. This includes the cost of the new unit and installation. Most companies remove the old unit at no additional cost if you purchase the new one from them. If you purchase the new one elsewhere and hire a company to install it, they usually charge between $25 and $50 to remove the old model. This unit size is fairly common for small homes and is relatively small, meaning replacement can usually be done quickly and easily.

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Cost to Move a Water Heater

If you need to move an existing water heater, expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500. This includes the cost of moving the relative pipes or gas line and the labor to disconnect, move, and reconnect the heater. Your total costs depend on how far you move the heater. Anything greater than 3 feet increases the cost. If the heater is currently in a wall, your costs are higher because you have two walls that need to be refinished once the move is complete. When moving an existing unit you should be very careful, as the interior of the heater is extremely fragile and susceptible to damage when moved. When purchasing a new heater, the costs of installing it in a new location are in addition to the initial installation costs.

Comparison of Water Heater Types

While every hot water heater type can provide a steady stream of hot water suitable for bathing, cleaning, and running appliances, they do so in different ways. This impacts not only the cost of the unit, but also its costs long term, how durable it is, how efficient it is, and what kind of maintenance you need to do to keep it working properly. We compared different types on 4 different criteria so that you can make a more informed decision for your home.

Durability

When you install a new appliance or system in your home, you want it to last the longest amount of time possible. This is true of hot water heaters as well because no one wants to turn on their hot water only to find the system is no longer functioning.

Most heaters have the same lifespan of 10 to 20 years. Tankless-style heaters last longer, about 20 to 25 years. This is primarily because the water sitting inside any tank type, whether standard, indirect, or hybrid, can cause issues with sediment and rust that will wear the system out. Tankless systems do not hold water, so they can last longer than other types. The different systems are ranked below from high to low in terms of their lifespan.

Lifespan of a Tankless, Tank, Hybrid, and Indirect Water Heater

Lifespan of a Tankless, Tank, Hybrid, and Indirect Water Heater

MaterialLifespan
TanklessHigh
TankModerate
HybridModerate
IndirectModerate

Maintenance

Like many systems, your hot water heater needs some maintenance to stay working at its best. Of these, any heater type with a tank, including indirect, hybrid, and tank, will need to be occasionally drained as part of their maintenance. This is to prevent sediment buildup and to flush the system. Tankless models can be considered maintenance-free unless you have hard water 5, in which case, they must be descaled yearly. It is recommended that this be done by a professional, which can increase total costs. Maintenance for other heaters can generally be done DIY, although you can hire a plumber to service them for you. The different systems are ranked below from low to high in terms of maintenance difficulty.

Difficulty to Maintain a Tankless, Tank, Hybrid, and Indirect Water Heater

Difficulty to Maintain a Tankless, Tank, Hybrid, and Indirect Water Heater

MaterialDifficulty of Maintenance
TanklessLow-to-Moderate
TankModerate
HybridModerate
IndirectModerate

Energy Efficiency

When it comes to energy efficiency, hot water heaters are definitely not equal. Traditional tank-style heaters are the least efficient because they heat water all day long, whether you use it or not. Hybrid models are more efficient but still maintain some water in holding. So while they are better than tank-style heaters, they still cannot be considered very efficient. The most efficient type is actually the indirect heater because it does not expend any energy to heat the water. Instead, it takes heat from an adjacent boiler. Tankless models are also fairly efficient because they only run when you need them. This makes them the most efficient direct hot water heater available. The different systems are ranked below from high to low in terms of efficiency.

Energy Efficiency of an Indirect, Tankless, Hybrid, and Tank Water Heater

Energy Efficiency of an Indirect, Tankless, Hybrid, and Tank Water Heater

MaterialEfficiency
IndirectHigh
TanklessHigh
HybridModerate-to-High
TankModerate

Eco-Friendliness

Eco-friendliness often goes hand-in-hand with energy efficiency. The less energy a heater uses, the more eco-friendly it tends to be. As with efficiency, indirect heaters are the most eco-friendly. They do not use any energy themselves to heat the water. Tankless models are the next in eco-friendliness, followed by hybrid heaters, with tank-style heaters only being as eco-friendly as their heat source allows. For example, a solar heater allows you to have a very eco-friendly heater, while an electric model could potentially be much worse. The different systems are ranked below from high to low in terms of eco-friendliness.

Environmental Impact of an Indirect, Tankless, Hybrid, and Tank Water Heater

Environmental Impact of an Indirect, Tankless, Hybrid, and Tank Water Heater

MaterialEnvironmental Impact
IndirectHigh
TanklessHigh
HybridModerate-to-High
TankModerate

Tankless vs Tank Water Heater

One of the first decisions to make when buying a water heater is whether you want a tank or tankless model. Both types have advantages, and their prices vary depending on factors like the tank size and flow rate of the tankless model you choose.

Tankless, also called “instant” or “on-demand,” systems are often considered more energy-efficient because they only heat the water when needed. However, some homeowners and consumer groups argue that tankless heaters are not always the best option because of their potencial maintenance requirements in homes with hard water and sometimes inconsistent water supply. They can also be more difficult to service. They are not always the best option for those who use lots of water simultaneously, such as a shower, washing machine, and faucet all running at the same time. You can save money in the long term with a tankless heater, using between 24% and 34% less energy on average.

Tank water heaters have a larger reserve of hot water, meaning you can use it for multiple tasks at once, such as taking a shower and washing dishes without any interruption in the supply. They are usually less expensive to install and maintain than tankless heaters and easier to repair as well, although they cost more each year in energy costs. Tank models also tend to provide hot water more quickly than tankless systems. On average, a 30-gallon heater is good for a household of 1 to 3 people, a 40-gallon heater is good for 2 to 5 people, and a 50-gallon heater is good for 4 to 6 people. For a house with more than 6 people or in homes where you have a performance shower unit, you may need to upgrade to a larger unit. It is important to understand, however, that these averages vary greatly, depending on several factors, including your family’s water usage, how many people bathe at once, and how many hot water appliances you use simultaneously. The more usage you have at one time, the greater the tank’s size must be. This can mean that a 30-gallon heater can be fine for a couple who shower at opposite ends of the day and use their dishwasher and washing machine separately. However, a couple who showers simultaneously and have higher-than-average hot water needs for laundry might find they do better with a 40-gallon tank.

In general, tank-style heaters cost less to purchase and install than tankless heaters, although tankless heaters save you more in the long run. Below are the average costs to install a hot water heater that can meet the needs of a 4 to 5-person household.

Comparison of the Cost to Install a Tank and a Tankless Water Heater

Comparison of the Cost to Install a Tank and a Tankless Water Heater

SystemAverage Costs (Installed)
Tank$800 - $2,500
Tankless$2,500 - $4,500

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Gas vs Electric Water Heater

Another big decision when buying a water heater is choosing between a gas and electric model. You can find both tank and tankless heaters powered by gas or electric, with many models to choose from in both categories. Both gas and electric heaters have advantages and disadvantages and varying price ranges.

Gas water heaters tend to be more expensive initially but can save you money in the long run because their running costs are usually lower. They are regarded as more efficient in heating water quickly, and you can also buy energy-efficient models. You can use a gas heater even when the power goes out, but additional safety concerns and maintenance issues are associated with gas heaters.

An electric water heater is cheaper initially but may have higher monthly costs, depending on the energy prices in your area. An electric heater runs the risk of being useless when the power goes out and does not heat water as quickly as a gas heater. But they require less maintenance, have fewer safety concerns, and have lower levels of energy loss.

Comparison of the Cost to Install a 40-Gallon Electric and Gas Water Heater

Comparison of the Cost to Install a 40-Gallon Electric and Gas Water Heater

TypeAverage Costs for a 40-Gallon Heater (Installed)
Electric$570 - $2,000
Gas$850 - $3,000

Signs You Need a New Water Heater

Many water heaters are designed to last for 10 years or more, but they can break down and eventually need to be replaced as time goes by. Rather than dealing with a sudden breakage, it makes sense to monitor your unit for warning signs that it might be close to the end of its life. Here are common signs to look for:

  • Rusty water - If your water begins to have a rusty or strange color, that is a sign that the heater is suffering corrosion.
  • Strange taste - If the water has an odd metallic taste, this may also be a sign of corrosion inside the heater.
  • Cold water - If your water is not heating or seems to be less warm than usual, it is likely your heater’s heating element may be broken or in the process of breaking down.
  • Strange noises - Any popping or cracking sounds from the heater could signify the heating element is breaking down.
  • Leaks - Leaks from the heater are a serious concern and may represent a major internal failure. If you notice any leaks, shut down the power to the system, and call in a professional.
  • Old age - If your heater is 10+ years old, there is a good chance that it will not last much longer. Start thinking about a replacement.

Modern Home With a Gas Water Heater

Water Heater Expansion Tank Cost

An expansion tank is a special safety system you can add to your water heater. It offers additional space for water that expands as it heats, and many modern building codes require an expansion tank to be installed with new heaters. Without this extra space for the water to flow into, pipes may burst as the pressure builds up. They should be inspected for leaks, corrosion, or inadequate support, among other things. Expansion tanks cost between $100 and $350 installed.

Boiler System and Laundry in a Basement Interior

How Much Does It Cost to Convert a Gas Water Heater to Electric?

If you already have a gas water heater system in place and want to convert it to an electric one, you need to cover the costs of new electrical wiring and circuits. Converting a gas model to electric typically costs between $250 and $600 for the electrical work involved. You may also have costs associated with the removal and disposal of the gas unit, as well as the capping of the gas line. Expect these costs to be between $200 and $250 on average. With the cost of the electric unit and its installation, this makes your total costs $1,070 to $4,350, depending on the hot water system you install.

Keep in mind that converting from gas to electricity may raise your monthly costs because gas is generally less expensive than electricity. The only exception to this would be if you have installed solar panels and are hoping to lower your total energy costs.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Back Up Hot Water System

Homes with solar water heaters may need a backup heating system for when the solar system can’t get enough sunlight to work. On average, a standard backup system averages $200 to $300.

Flat Plate Solar Collectors

Flat plate solar collectors collect more heat and are a good option for larger heating projects, such as heating swimming pools. They start at around $7,000.

Energy-efficient Water Heaters

Energy-efficient water heaters come in a variety of types and styles. On average, a unit with an energy-efficient label costs 10%-20% more.

Replacing and Resealing Vents

If you have a gas water heater, it is necessary to vent the system. There are a variety of vents that you can choose, depending on the configuration and type of heater you are using. If you have a sealed-combustion unit, such as in a tiny home or trailer, it does not vent to the outdoors; all other types will vent outside and require sealing to prevent energy loss and inflated utility bills. Replacing and resealing the vents is commonly done by plumbers at a cost of $45 to $150, per hour, and takes about one hour to fully install a single vent. The vents cost an average of $30 at most home improvement venues, though your plumber will typically bring along and charge for this part.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Saving tips. Many homeowners save money by purchasing the water heater on their own before installing it instead of purchasing a package deal of the unit and installation services.
  • Disposal. Removing and disposing of an old water heater can add up to $200 to the overall cost.
  • Warranty. Most water heaters come with a warranty that averages 8-12 years in length.
  • Pipes. Water heater pipes average $8 to $10 per linear foot, although old piping may still be compatible in many cases.
  • Reducers. When replacing an existing vent, you may find that the opening to the outside is not the size you need for your new vent. Try to find and purchase vents that are similar in size, when possible, and know that when there is a subtle difference (an inch or less), you may use a ‘reducer’ with some aluminum tape and sheet-rock screws to seal the gap. The installation of these reducers is usually included in the labor costs for your new hot water heater, and the reducer itself is cheap, around $5 each.
  • Power vents. If you do not vent your system to the outdoors, you may choose an electrical fan-style vent, called a power vent. Power-venting your hot water heater costs at least $500 more, half of which is materials and approximately $300 more for labor costs from an electrician.
  • Location. You should always check your local regulations before installing a water heater. There is always a risk of leaking, which makes its location important. It should be placed where it will not cause major damage if it leaks, such as a storage room or garage. It needs to be accessible for maintenance and should have 12” to 18” clearance on all sides.

  • Permits. In many places, permits are required for a new water heater, especially when changing the system type. Check with your contractor or plumber for information specific to your area. Permits have a wide price range, averaging $100 to $1,000. The price depends on the type and scale of work that needs to be done.

FAQs

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

Plumbers typically charge $45 to $150 per hour and can typically install a water heater in a day (6-10 labor hours), for a total labor cost of $270 to $1,500.

  • Can a homeowner install a water heater?

Yes, some homeowners with plumbing skills can install their own hot water heater, although many retailers may offer a discount or deal on installation when purchasing one. If taking a DIY approach, make sure to get permits to work on or change out your hot water heating system before starting the project.

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

It costs between $800 and $2,500 to install a 50-gallon hot water heater for a whole-house using natural gas or electricity. This typically covers a home of three or four people.

  • How much should a 40-gallon water heater cost installed?

It costs around $750 to $2,000 to install a basic 40-gallon hot water heater for a natural gas tank single-point system, which serves around one or two people in the home.

  • How long does it take to put in a new water heater?

A qualified plumber can typically install a water heater in a day (6-10 labor hours), for a total labor cost of $270 to $1,500. Units that are not easy to access or that are in tight enclosures can take an extra 2-3 hours ($90 to $450) to install.

  • Can you lay a new water heater on its side for transport?

If you are moving, replacing, or installing a new hot water heater, handle it with great care to prevent damage to the unit. It is likely that you may need to lay the heater on its side, but be careful. When laid horizontally, the metal casing around the heater is vulnerable to damage including cracks to the glass lining. Handle gingerly.

References

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 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 Exhaust pipe: A pipe through which the by-products of gas combustion, such as in a gas engine or a gas fireplace, for example nitrogen, water vapor, and carbon dioxide, are released outside
glossary term picture Blower 4 Blower: An accessory that makes a fireplace more efficient by circulating the warm air in the fireplace to other areas of the home
5 Hard water: Water that is high in mineral content. It often leads to a buildup of scale

Cost to install a 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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