How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Water Heater

We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Replacing a water heater is very common. But it’s not as simple or affordable as you think. You need to make a lot of financial decisions before changing your water heater.

How much does it cost to replace a water heater?

The cost of replacing a water heater depends on many factors. Firstly you have to choose the right heater for your house. Then there is the installation cost. You have to remove the old heater too. Also, you need to pay for the permits and other fees. All these costs vary depending on aspects and may cost you around $950 – $11,500.

These are only the gist of finding the total cost. Keep scrolling to find every little detail of calculating the cost.

Cost To Replace A Water Heater: Cost Calculator

We’ve prepared a cost calculator for making your work easy. See the tables given below to know about the different costs of different types of heaters.

ComponentLow PriceMedium Price High Price
Heater$400$2,500$6,000
Venting System$300$600$1,000
Installation Cost$150$600$4,000
Removal Cost$100$300$500
Total$950$3,900$11,500

The above table will give you an idea about the total cost. But if you want to know the details, we’ve arranged that too.

Signs You Need A New Heater

Before replacing your water heater you have to make sure that you need to replace it. Also any time the heater stops functioning suddenly. So you must check for the warning signs frequently. We’ve made a list of some points below. You should check these points to know whether you have to replace them or not.

Loud Sound 

When the water heater gets old it’ll start to make noises. Pops, bangs, and cracks will become common. These are the sounds that’ll show that the heater is failing gradually. 

Slow Heating 

At the new stage, the water will be heated very fast. With time the duration required for the process will increase. But when you notice that the heater is taking too much time, it’s a warning. This means the machinery has become too old to handle the heating process.

If the water isn’t heated enough even after a long time of heating, it’s time to replace it. The main and only function of the heater is to heat the water. If it fails in that work, the heater must be replaced.

Rusty Water 

Rusty water is another important sign. When the machine becomes old the tanks and other parts become rusty. This rust will come off with the water. You’ll be able to see the rust. Also, the water will taste metallic.

High Electricity Bill

The electric bill for the water heater is usually too high. But if the amount increases above normal, and doesn’t go down for some months, check the heater. Usually high electric bills from the heater are the result of big problems inside it.

Leak in The Heater

After long usage or passing the lifetime, leaking can be seen. It indicates that a big internal problem is inside the heater. The power system should be turned off immediately. Then after cooling the heater it should be replaced. Although sometimes you can hear water running but find no leaks.

Look out for these common signs before replacing your water heater. Also checking on these signs is a must for ensuring the proper safety of your family.

Cost To Replace A Water Heater: Variance Of Factors 

Before making the final estimation you need to know every bit of data. We’ve discussed all the facts for you. Check them out to make the correct estimation.

Cost Based on Water Heater Types

Various types of water heaters are available in the market. The costs vary as the cost to remodel bathrooms vary depending on circumstances. 

There are mainly four types of water heaters. The average unit cost can vary from $400 to $6,000. The installation costs differ too. It ranges from $150 to $4,000. The installation costs are diverse because unique methods and equipment are needed during installation. 

The most pricy type of water heater is the Solar water heater. This heater comes with the special benefits of using solar power and saving on current bills. On the other hand, standard tanks’ costs are not so much. The cheapest ones are tankless heaters.

Cost of High-Efficiency Water Heater 

The high-efficiency water heaters are way more efficient than the normal ones. These are about 100% to 300% more efficient than conventional heaters. 

The high-efficiency water heaters have better insulation. HE (High Efficiency) heaters use a smart control system. That means they have better leak detection technology. So, the high-efficiency heaters can send protection alerts to connected devices. Also, these heaters consist of plastic tanks. 

The cost of high-efficiency water is very high. The cost of one unit with installation and labor will be $1,000 to $3,000 on average. This price might create doubt to buy, but high-efficiency heaters will save a lot on electricity bills.

Water heaters consume a large amount of electricity. They are the second-highest source of energy consumption in homes. This gives you the scope to think about the High-efficiency heaters before buying.

Cost of Solar Water Heater 

Solar water heaters can be used as a supplement also as the main heater. They can come in handy during power outages. Moreover, they will save you on fuel costs. They are getting popular every day.

With modern technology, solar heaters are also improving. The installation cost is about $1,700 to $5,200 on average. But this cost can become as high as $13,000 or more. So it’s not an easy choice for everybody. 

Solar water heaters will be a good addition to your family. But look out for the cost too.

Cost of Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater 

The most expensive water heater is the hybrid heat pump water heaters. They are more costly than solar heaters too.

These are the most efficient water heaters available in the market. This pump pulls heat from the surrounding air. Then this heat is used to heat the water. Coils and compressors play a vital role in this mechanism. 

You can buy a hybrid heat pump water heater by spending about $1,200 to $3,500. This price includes both the heater and installation cost with labor.  The hybrid heat pumps also take large spaces. They require at least seven feet of clearance from floor to ceiling. As it takes a lot of space, you can think of installing the heater on its side.

So if you own a small house, this isn’t a good choice for you.

Cost of Indirect Water Heater

Indirect water heaters are very efficient too. They don’t directly depend on an independent heat source. 

The indirect water heater has a tank fitted in it. This tank pulls heat from a boiler or furnace. The boiler or furnace is situated near the tank. So the heating isn’t dependent on any other source.

The indirect water heater can be powered by different sources. You can choose gas, oil, propane, electric, solar, or a combination of these for the heater. The cost of these heaters will vary between $800 to $1,500.

These are the price ranges for different water heaters based on types. But there are many more divisions. We have discussed them below-

Tank And Tankless Heaters Prices

The price difference between heaters with and without tanks will influence your budget. So let’s check them out.

The water heaters with tanks are much cheaper than the tankless ones. The lifespan will be 8-12 years. You’ll need only 2-3 hours to install this heater. The tanked heater is a proven water heater. It’s very easy to install. The efficiency is high too. 

But the heater is to be kept on all the time. So there’ll be energy loss. This loss can be up to 30%. Also, a lot of space is used by heaters with tanks. That’ll be a huge problem for small homeowners.

The tankless heaters are very costly. The price ranges between $1,000 to $3,000. But you’ll get the longevity of more than 20 years with this heater. It takes a lot of time to install. About 8-10 hours is required. The energy loss in tankless heaters is only 5%. It takes less space too. Saves up to 25% on utilities. Moreover, the supply is endless.

But you’ll need multiple units of tankless heaters for a large home. These heaters are not suitable for northern climates. So consider this information before buying.

Cost of Heaters Based On Size

The price of the heaters is proportional to the size. That means you have to spend more bucks for a bigger heater. You’ll get the lowest price on a 30-gallon tank. But that too varies between $270 to $900.

The largest tank is 80 gallons. The price starts from $1,000. The price can go as high up to $3,000. You can choose between 40, 50, and 75 gallons if you don’t want the biggest one.

Cost of Heater Based On Power

You have to choose the power source very carefully. There are electric and gas heaters available in the market.

The electric heaters run on electricity. So they won’t work during power outages. A certain amount of power is necessary for tools to work. The electric heaters have a recovery time of 1-2 hours. They are also very energy efficient. The efficiency can be as high as 95%. The price range of electric heaters varies between $200 to $2,880.

The gas heater may work during a power outage as it runs on natural gas. The recovery time is only 30 to 60 minutes. The gas heaters are not very efficient. They are only 60-70% efficient. You can get a gas heater between the price of $250 to $1,800.

Both these water heaters have an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years. But the cost over a 12-year lifespan is more in electric heaters. For a gas heater, this cost is $5,000. But the electric heater will cost around $6,250.

The gas heater is a long-term cheap choice as the price of electricity is high in many places.

Cost of Heater Based On System

You may not want to use electricity or gas as the power running your water heater. In that case, there are alternatives for you. You can choose between propane or oil-fired water heaters for your convenience. 

As the name indicates, these heaters are run by either propane or other crude oils. You’ll be able to heat water during load shedding if you use these heaters. 

Propane or oil-fired heaters fall in the pricey section. They are costly and range between $1,000 to $3,000. This is the cost of the unit only. You have to pay extra for the installation. As a result, the price overall becomes too high.

If you live in a rural area oil-fired heaters will be great for you. Also, people from off-grid areas are greatly benefitted from propane and oil-based heaters.

Cost of Heater Based On Vents

Venting is another important factor you have to look for before buying a heater. You’ll have to choose between two alternatives here. They are power venting and direct venting.

In power venting, an external fan is used to push the exhaust air out of the house. This external fan is necessary if you have a patient in your house. Also if you use a propane-powered heater, power venting is a good choice. Because propane produces poisonous carbon monoxide as a byproduct during burning. 

The cost of a unit of power venting will be around $300 to $600. But there’s an extra $300-$500 cost for wiring.

There’s also the direct venting system. The burned gas is hot and lighter than the surrounding cool air. So it floats over the cool air naturally. Indirect venting a vent is directly attached to the heater. Then the burned gas gets out through the vent.

The cost of a direct vent adds $500 to $1,000. There will be extra installation costs. Power venting gives greater performance than direct venting. But the overall cost is also more in power venting.

These are the costs of the units of different types and classes of water heaters. You’ll get the idea of the main cost from this section. To know about all other extra costs scroll through the following sections of the article.

Average Labor Cost to Install a Water Heater 

Labor costs consist of a large portion of the overall cost. You must take into account this cost before calculating the full cost.

The typical range of labor costs is from $150 to $800. There are options for determining the labor cost. In most cases, the plumbers give you a straight-cut cost consisting of the materials and labor. 

But if you buy all the equipment on your own, you’ll have to pay hourly rates. Then the cost will vary. You’ll need both electricians and plumbers for the installation process.

The hourly rate of a plumber is between $45 to $200. Whereas an electrician will cost $50 to $100 per hour. All these rates will vary depending on the place you live.

Miscellaneous Costs

There are some other costs besides the heater unit and labor costs. We have gathered those costs in this section. You’ll find it easy to look at all the costs at a glance here.

Removal Cost 

If you’re replacing your water heater, you have to remove the old one first. For that, you’ll have to burn some cash.

The bill for removing the old water heater is completely dependent on the contractor. You’ve to make a deal with him at an hourly rate. The hourly rate of removing the heater varied between $100 to $500. But this cost can increase and decrease according to the ease of removing the old machine.

If you’re confident you can do the job by yourself. Or you can get a helping hand and perform the process of removing. Anyway if you’re uncomfortable it’s better to call a professional. 

Water Heater Permit

In many places, a water heater permit is a must. The cost of this permit depends on the type of construction you need. It’ll cost between $50 to $500. You can get a permit by yourself or you can instruct the installer to get it for you.

Replacement Cost 

The cost is around $500 to $1,800 if you replace it with the same type of heater you’re using. But converting from one power source to another, extra fees will be added.

These fees include wiring fees ($550-$2,300), waterline installation fees ($350-$1,900), and gas line addition ($175-$825) fees. Some other costs like carpentry works and permit costs might be needed too.

Expansion Tank Cost

The expansion tank is a safety system of the water heater. It prevents pipes from bursting. Accidents can happen when the fluid blows up during heating. The expansion tank will provide extra space to ensure safety during the expansion of the fluid.

We’ve made some suggestions for expansion tanks that you can buy:

Product-1
Product-2

These products will be very convenient for you. The old models of water heaters don’t have expansion tanks. But nowadays the modern buildings have codes that require an expansion tank.

The cost of the expansion tank is between $40 to $200. For installation cost, you’ll have to pay about $50 to $150. For ensuring utmost safety you shouldn’t avoid installing an expansion tank.

Doing It Yourself Vs Hiring A Plumber 

Doing a job by yourself will always save you some money. But installing a water heater isn’t a simple DIY job.

Replacing or installing a water heater is very complex work. There are many parts of the work. You’ve to handle the waterworks as well as the electrical works. Any small fault in any part can be dangerous and fatal. Intense labor and vast knowledge are necessary for completing the work successfully. 

So it’s better to leave the job for the electrician and the plumber. You should proceed to do it only if you’re highly skilled. Besides that permit and inspection is important for replacing a water heater. If you install something wrong or faulty, correcting it’ll increase the cost many times.

Check the local heater installation companies and choose between them. In that way, you’ll be able to choose the correct company at a low cost.

Save Money on Water Heater Replacement Cost 

The main reason you’re reading through this article is to save some money on the replacement project. Well, we’ve got some tips for you below-

Buying Correct Size 

When you see different sizes of heaters you can get confused. You might think that going for the biggest one will be the right decision for the future. But this is a mistake. Calculate the number of members of your house and buy accordingly. A bigger heater will only cost more. So choose wisely.

Choosing the Right Fuel 

Heaters are dependent on various fuels. Some fuels will save your money while buying and some will save in the future. Look at your budget and then choose the correct fuel-based heater for you.

Looking for Options 

Don’t buy the first machine you see or don’t get the first plumber. Look for other options. Compare between them. Then buy or select your handyman according to your budget. Also, look for experience while you select the workman. 

Looking for Offers

Various equipment is needed during the installation process. Look for discount offers. Often various discount offers are available. You can get discounts on national events and occasions too. Shopping at that time will save you some money.

Try to flow these tips while replacing your water heater. Hopefully, you’ll save some money.

FAQs

Question: How many years does a water heater last?

Answer: The average lifespan of a water heater is 12 years. If your water heater has passed its 12th birthday you should be ready to replace it anytime. Also always check for the warning signs to be aware and change the heater on time.

Question: How long does it take a plumber to install a water heater?

Answer: Installing a water heater requires good technique and time. If an inexperienced person tries to install the heater, much time will be needed. Whereas an experienced plumber will be able to install the water heater within 3 hours.

Question: Does turning off the water heater at night save money?

Answer: Yes, turning off the water heater at night saves money. The water heater is a high-power consuming machine. So it’s also the reason behind the huge electricity bill. By turning off the heater at night you can save up to 10% of the electricity bill.

Conclusion

We hope we’ve answered your query: how much does it cost to replace a water heater? Remember to get your heaters checked as much as possible. Or else there might be unexpected incidents.

Hope your heaters are replaced properly!

Richard Allen