If you’ve noticed that your water pressure is weaker than usual or your water takes longer to heat up, you may be in need of a water heater replacement. A new water heater is a pretty large investment, but what does water heater installation cost?
Keep reading to know more about water heater installation costs, different types of water heaters, and other expenses that may incur during the installation.
Installation Costs and Prices of Heaters
The average price of installing water heaters can range anywhere from $1,200 to $5,000 – and in some cases, more.
It’s pretty easy to purchase a water heater. You can do this by looking at water heater prices at your local hardware store or purchase a new one through a plumbing company. While finding and buying a water heater is simple, installing one is a whole different story. Water heater installation requires skill, experience, and knowledge of the product.
So, you’ll likely have to hire a professional to do the job, which means shelling out some extra funds for installation. The water heater installation cost depends on whether the water heater is a tank or a tankless one and tankless water heaters generally cost more.
Other factors influencing the costs of installing a water heater include the installation location, type, size, permits, materials used, labor employed, fuel source, etc.
Tank Water Heaters vs Tankless Systems: Installation Costs
Tank water heaters have been around for more than a century and are also the most commonly installed. A tank water heater installation will cost you $600 to $1,800 on average. The cost of installing a traditional tank water heater mainly depends on the size of the tank. A bigger tank with more unit capacity will cost you more to install.
These water heaters can run on gas, electricity, or propane and come with 20 to 80 gallons of storage capacity. Their durability is pretty solid, too, and they can last for 8, 12, or even 15 years.
On the other hand, tankless heaters were invented to provide an energy-efficient solution to water heating needs. They supply unlimited hot water on demand. This way, they don’t waste too much energy heating and storing the water.
The installation costs of tankless unit price range between $800 and $3,500. This is because they’re more challenging to maintain and clean compared to heaters with tanks.
Though more expensive upfront, buying a tankless heater is a great investment since it’s energy-efficient, durable (life expectancy of up to 20 years), and will therefore save you more money than a tank water heater in the long run.
READ MORE: Tankless vs. Demand-Type Water Heaters
The water heater installation cost also depends on the type of heating the water heater uses.
Gas water heaters are fueled by either propane or natural gas. The heat is channeled through a flame or an electric coil. Installation costs of gas heaters range from $600 to $4,600, depending on whether you’re employing a standard tank or a tankless system.
Electric water heaters are cheaper to install, with installation costs ranging from $500 to $2,500. They’re also easy and inexpensive to replace.
Propane water heaters connect with an on-site fuel tank, and the average cost of installation ranges from $700 to $4,000, or more, depending on whether you go for a tank water heater or tankless system.
Models that run on oil can heat water up to four times faster than other heaters, requiring more frequent clean-ups and maintenance.
Their replacement and/or installation costs start from $1,700 and keep increasing in line with additional costs and materials.
Note that fuel-type water heaters are more commonly used in commercial settings than for home-based applications.
Other Costs to Consider During Installation
Cost of Labor
You’ll need a plumber for your water heater installation. Plumbers are usually charged an hourly rate of $45 to $150 per hour. Installing a tank-type typically takes 2-6 hours, while a tankless water heater takes 3-10 hours.
So, you can expect to pay the plumber(s) anywhere between $90 to $1,500 based on the type of heater you’re installing and the time it takes.
What if the job requires any electric work, such as adding a new circuit or replacing and converting a water heater from gas-based to electricity? Here, you’ll need to hire an electrician who’ll typically charge you anywhere between $50 to $100 per hour.
It doesn’t matter if you’re installing or replacing one, you’ll have to use materials such as venting pipes, pipe threads or solder compounds, fittings, water or gas piping, etc.
The additional materials you purchase have a significant impact on the overall water heater installation cost.
An expansion tank is a requirement when installing a tank water heater. It’s a system that prevents the water and tank pipes from bursting in case the water tank fails.
The majority of older homes don’t have these installed, but things are changing, and several places have come up with building codes and standards that require an expansion tank to be installed at the time of installation or replacement.
Heater expansion tanks, plus their installation, can cost you anywhere from $40 to $350 or more.
If you want to replace or improve an existing model, the jurisdiction you’re in will require you to produce a plumbing permit.
This permit is required to kickstart an inspection to ensure that the work was done according to the set safety and quality standards and precautions.
Depending on the details of the project, you may need multiple permits with the total permit fees ranging between $50 and $500 and some even going as high as $1,500.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who’s Responsible For Installing a Water Heater?
A: You should only get your water heaters installed by licensed plumbers and/or electricians.
Q: How Long Do Water Heaters Last After Installation?
A: Standard heater tanks last for around 8 to 15 years. On the other hand, tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years.
Q: Can I Install a Water Heater Myself?
A: Unless you’re a plumber, you shouldn’t install a one yourself as it’s not exactly a DIY task. If you install one incorrectly, not only can it be dangerous, but the repairs and replacements will cost you more than the actual installation.
If you’re looking to replace your old heater or install a new one, consider the water heater installation cost when planning to purchase one. As seen from the above, installation isn’t a cheap job and can significantly impact your budget.