On average, water heater replacement or installation costs $880, with most homeowners spending between $665 and $1,099. This data is based on actual project costs as reported by HomeAdvisor members.
Hot water is an essential part of modern life, a necessity rather than a luxury. So choosing and installing a water heater is a very important decision in the life of your home. Whether you are replacing an old water heater or installing a brand new system, you may be concerned about the price. There are a number of factors that play a part in the cost of installing a new hot water heater.
Tank vs. Tankless
There are two different types of water heaters: tank and tankless. A tankless water heater produces water "on demand" by heating the water as you need it. A tank style water heater heats the water that is kept in a storage tank. The larger the water heater tank, the more hot water it can store. Financially, tankless water heaters have many advantages. Since they heat water as you need it they tend to save you money on energy bills.
A tank style water heater that is drawing from stored water can then require heating and reheating of the same tank of water as it cools. Tankless water heaters also tend to last longer than the tank variety. They can last as long as 20 years, where tank style water heaters have a life of closer to 12 years.
The drawback of a tankless water heater is that it can only heat so much water at any given time. So in households with many people, a tankless water heater can leave a lot of people with a cold shower in the morning. It is also virtually impossible to do two water heavy tasks at the same time such as running the washing machine and the dishwasher simultaneously. You can install two or more tankless water heaters or separate ones for your appliances so you have more hot water, but this may not help with energy efficiency in the home.
Gas vs. Electric
In the past, a gas water heater was considered much more affordable than an electric water heater due to the increases in the price of electricity. However, recently, with the rising price of gas, the cost of running a gas vs. electric water heater is much closer and not as large a cost factor
Solar Water Heaters
Although a solar water heater may not be able to solve all your hot water needs, it is a great supplement to your current water heating system. There are active solar water heaters that use copper tubing that run from your water heater tank to panels on your roof. There are also passive solar water heaters that heat a tank of water on your roof and circulate the water from there. A solar water heating system is more expensive than a more traditional system, however, they will save you considerable sums of money in water heating costs, particularly for households that consume a large amount of water.
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