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Water heater replacement cost

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How much does it cost to replace a water heater?

A hot water heater is an important home appliance that gives you the convenience of hot water on demand for bathing, cleaning, and cooking. So, when your heater stops working properly or has run its time, replacing it at the earliest becomes important. If you want to know the cost to replace water heater in your area, we have your back. Whether you're replacing a heater or installing a new one, we’ll tell you all about the pricing of your next water heater installation. And, we’ll also briefly discuss the types of water heaters – including tank heaters, tankless heaters, hybrids, and solar heaters.

The average cost of installing water heater is $1,225. This price includes both the water heater unit and the labor cost. Most homeowners can expect to pay between $830 and $3,000 on a heater replacement depending on the type of heater they choose. A new hot water heater installation may start as low as $550 and go as high as $10,000. Generally speaking, most electric and gas water heater units cost anywhere between $400 and $1,600.

Your total water heater installation cost or its replacement cost takes into account various factors, such as the type of heater, whether the system type is a whole house or a single point water heating system, the water heater size in gallons, the cost of the permit, the homeowners location, and the installation labor charges by a local, licensed, and insured professional. The exact model, its energy-efficiency certification, the product warranty (usually eight to 12 years), and any special features will also add to the cost.

Water heaters are of two main styles: tank heaters and tankless heaters. A tank water heater has a large tank that holds hot water – anywhere from 30 to 80 gallons. You can find tank-style water heaters in more than 90% of American households. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, cost two to three times more. The reason is that these heaters are harder to install and have higher labor costs. The advantage is that they deliver an endless supply of hot water whenever you need it – thanks to their super-heated coils.

The average cost for tank-style water heaters, including labor and materials, is between $700 and $2,000. A tankless water heater ranges from $1,000 to $3,000.

Moreover, there is a difference in the lifespan of the two types of heaters. While tank water heaters last between eight and 15 years, a tankless water heater can last more than 20 years.

Another point of difference is that a tank heater can run on gas, propane, electricity, or solar power.

They’re always on and use up a lot of energy while tankless heaters run only on demand. However, the latter is not ideal for those who live in colder climates or larger families. You’ll need multiple units to provide an adequate hot water supply.

Natural gas-fired water-heating devices are typically $100 to $200 more expensive than electric-powered units. Basically, you can choose to get the heating either through an electrical coil, similar to a cooktop coil, or a gas pilot light – depending on your requirements.

If you live in apartments or confined areas, it’s better to opt for electrical heaters (either tank or tankless) since they don’t require air venting.

However, keep in mind that a natural gas unit may cost you more upfront and they’re less energy-efficient than electric heaters, you do have to factor in the high price of electricity. A gas water heater may turn out cheaper in the long term.

And, if you’re planning to water heater conversion say from a gas heater to an electric one, you’ll have to pay about $200 to $500 or more.

Both water heater types fall on the expensive end of the spectrum. You can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for just the unit. If you live in a rural region or off-grid home, propane and oil-fired heaters offer a good alternative to electricity and natural gas heaters.

Power venting a water heater is $500 to $1,000 more expensive than running a passive or direct vent system. Moreover, you’ll have to factor in the additional costs of wiring and electrical works. It will cost you another $300 to $500 for the same.

In a power vent system, you’ll need a powered fan to push all the exhaust air out of your home. This is important especially if you have a natural or propane gas heater. The heaters release carbon monoxide as they burn which can be a potentially serious health hazard in the absence of proper ventilation.

A direct venting system uses a powered vent to bring in air from outside and exhaust directly to the outside of the building. It uses two pipes — one for combustion and makeup air and the other an exhaust pipe.

The capacity of a water heater tank (30 to 80 gallons) directly affects its cost. The pricing increases with an increase in size. For example, a 40-gallon water heater will cost around $320 to $1,600, a 75-gallon heater will cost about $900 to $3,000, and an 80-gallon tank will cost about $1,000 to $3,000.

You can choose your tank water heater size as per your requirements. Here’s an easy way to go about it:

  • 30-gallon tank – one to two people in the house
  • 40-gallon tank – two to three people
  • 50–60-gallon tank – three to four people
  • 60–80-gallon electric system or a 50-gallon natural gas or propane system – more than four people

The setup and the water heater’s location in your house impact the cost of labor to install it. You will have to be prepared to pay more for a difficult-to-reach water heater, say in your basement or the attic. In such cases, the plumbing professional will have to use multiple stairs to carry the unit up or down. The more complicated installation, the more expensive will be the total installation cost.

An efficient indirect water heater costs about $800 to $1,500 on average. It consists of a tank that pulls heat from a boiler or furnace kept nearby. Such a system can be fired by gas, oil, propane, electric, or solar energy.

A water heater installation generally requires additional materials such as venting pipes, connectors, pressure release valves, discharge pipes, water pipes, gas pipes, and other fittings. Of course, the exact requirement will depend on the type of water heater, its fuel source, and its location.

Did you know, water heaters are the second-highest source of energy consumption at home? Therefore, it makes total sense to buy a high-efficiency water heater. Such a device will be 100% to 300% more efficient than conventional water heaters and will cost you $1,000 to $3,000 on average.

There’s a growing trend toward solar water heaters to save on energy over time. These cost $1,700 to $5,200 on average – going as high as $13,000. You can supplement the system with a solar tank or have a tube-style heater.

What’s more, a good water heater model with smart controls such as leak detection and protection alerts will be more expensive than standard heaters.

If you’re opting for a hybrid heat pump water heater, you can expect an expenditure of $1,200 to $3,500, including both the unit cost and labor. These efficient tank heaters make use of a heat pump to pull heat from the surrounding air and transfer it to the tank water via a compressor and heating coils.

The labor cost for a standard water heater replacement is $150 to $1800 if the new one is of the same style and size. Keep in mind that hiring a plumber costs about $45 to $200 per hour while hiring an electrician costs $50 to $100 per hour. Although a DIY vs. hiring a plumber or electrician may cost you less, it’s best to leave the complicated work to those who’re experienced. You’ll save yourself the stress of permits, inspections, and having to deal with pipes, gas lines, or electrical works.

You’ll have to factor in additional costs such as:

  • Water heater permit fees: $50 to $500.
  • Carpentry work (frame a new wall, enclose or open up a space): $50 to $1,500.
  • Drywall installation: $1,000 to $2,900.
  • Gas line addition: $275 to $825.
  • Expansion tanks: $40 to $350.

Removing an existing water heater costs $100 to $500 – depending on the hourly rate of your water heater contractor, the heater’s accessibility, and your location.

Once you decide to get a water heater installed in your home, you need to know how much of an investment you should have for this home improvement.

Naturally, when it’s time to replace a heater, you have to know the cost in order to calculate what you can afford to spend.

It’s also the best way to ensure that you don’t stumble across any unwelcome surprises during the execution of your project.

If you want to save money on the total cost to replace your water heater, it’s a good idea to look for multiple water heater installation companies near you. You must then compare rates, check out their online reviews, and get multiple quotes before hiring professionals.

Getting an estimate through Kukun’s water heater replacement cost estimator is easy. Our confidential address-based estimator helps you create a realistic budget for your water heater installation or replacement. Moreover, the estimate will help you analyze your finance options or hire a professional to get started on the work right away.

Which water heater size is best for a single person or a studio apartment?

A 20-gallon electric tank or tankless water heater is sufficient for a small home.

Do I need a tank expansion?

This is a safety system that ensures that there’s room inside a heater for expansion of water. The expanding water flows into the expansion tank – preventing the heater pipes from bursting due to pressure.

How much does running a water heater cost annually?

The annual running cost of your heater can be anywhere from $150 to $700, depending on the usage.

What is the average water heater repair cost?

A homeowner can expect a water heater maintenance bill of about $225 to $1,000 – depending on the repair work, type of unit, and its fuel source.

What is the lifespan of a water heater?

A tank-style water heater lasts 5 to 10 years, while a tankless heater can last more than 20 years if maintained well.

What are the warning signs that your water heater is going out?

Here are a few water heater problems or signs that your heater is on its way out:

  • You start getting gritty or discolored water
  • There’s an unusual smell in the hot water
  • There’s always insufficient hot water to use
  • The water heater makes weird sounds
  • Its TPR valve is either leaky or faulty
  • The water tank is leaky or rusted

How long does a water heater take to heat up 50 gallons of water?

A 50-gallon water heater can heat water to 120 degrees in 1 to 2 hours on electricity and 30 to 60 minutes on gas.

How many hours a day does a water heater run?

Electric water heaters typically run for around three hours a day to heat water. Fortunately, newer, more energy-efficient, models may run for only half the time but give you good outputs.

What happens if I choose the wrong size water heater?

Having the right size matters. Keep in mind that a water heater that's too small will not be able to provide you with enough hot water and will end up being overworked. This will over time lead to frequent repairs or premature breakdown.

On the other hand, a water heater that's too big could lead to higher energy bills unnecessarily.

What's the cheapest option if I need a new water heater?

When buying a new residential water heater, choose a heating system that provides sufficient hot water as well as energy efficiency. You can learn more about the different types of water heaters on Energy Saver 101: Water Heating infographic.

You can save the most money in the long run by investing in renewables such as heat pumps, solar thermal systems, and solar panels.

What is the cost to move a water heater?

If you need to move an existing water heater to a different location within the house, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500.

We answer every question you may have. This feature equips you with everything you need to know about home renovations

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