How much will your project cost? Get Estimates Now

How Much Does It Cost To Install A Water Heater?

Typical Range: $762 - $1,426

Find out how much your project will cost

On This Page:

  1. Tank vs. Tankless
  2. Gas Vs. Electric
  3. How Big of a Water Heater Do I Need?
  4. Signs You Need a New Water Heater
  5. Popular Brands
  6. Conclusion

Water Heater Cost Calculator

Let's calculate cost data for you. Where are you located?

Please enter a valid ZIP Code
National Average
Typical Range
$762 - $1,426
Low End - High End
$325 - $12,000

Want the most accurate estimates for your project?

Request Quotes

We are still gathering data for this location.

Want the most accurate estimates for your project?

Request Quotes
Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 20,078 HomeAdvisor members in .

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

Average cost with installation:

  • Tank - $889.00 (40 to 50 gallon tank)
  • Tankless - $3,000.00

Water heaters come in two different styles: tank and tankless. Both heat your water, but they do it in different ways. A tank style water heater stores a given amount of water, usually 40 to 50 gallons, and keeps it heated to the temperature you set it at, sending it along when you open the hot water tap. A tankless system doesn’t store the water and heats it only when you need it by means of a series of super-heated coils. Each kind has its good points and bad points:



  • The technology is proven and works well
  • Cost is about half that of a tankless water heater
  • Installation is easier
  • Advances in technology and materials have increased their efficiency
  • Can handle large demands on the hot water supply
  • Short installation time, about 2 to 3 hours


  • The system is always on, heating the water even when you don’t need it
  • Tanks take up a lot of room
  • Only about 70% of the water in the tank is available for use making a 30% energy loss
  • Can only be installed indoors, often must be on an elevated platform, be strapped in, and many must have insulating water heater blankets wrapped around them
  • Lifespan is only around 12 years



  • Can save you about 25% on your water heating costs annually
  • Has only a 5% energy loss compared to a tank system’s 30%
  • Will never run out of hot water
  • Smaller than a conventional water heater
  • Can be installed anywhere inside or outside of the house, even as individual units for specific appliance/applications
  • Lifespan is around 20 years


  • Cost twice as much as conventional water heaters
  • Installation is expensive and includes special piping and good venting
  • Retrofitting your home for a tankless system is also expensive and very complicated, sometimes as high as $3,000.00
  • Electric-fired units are inadequate for whole-house use and none of this kind have Energy Star ratings. For your whole house, gas is the most efficient
  • Can’t handle high demands. Installing multiple units for your appliance to meet peak demands defeats the energy-savings aspect and can even be detrimental
  • Long installation time, about 10 hours

Return to Top

Gas vs. Electric

Water heaters are either gas-fired or electrically-fired. The difference between the two is how the water is heated, via natural gas or electrical resistance coils. Gas water heaters are less energy-efficient than electric water heaters, but the cost of electricity can still make gas the less expensive choice. Here are some other points of comparison between the two:



Energy Source

Whatever your city uses

Natural gas

Works During Power Outage




About 12 years

Recovery Rate

About 14 gallons per hour

About 50 gallons per hour

Energy Efficiency


60% - 70%

Cost Over 12 Year Lifespan



Price of Unit

$300.00 to $2,880.00

$250.00 to $1,500.00

For a large family of 5 or more people, a gas water heater will be the most suitable. The fast recovery time will ensure that you have enough hot water for your needs in as short a time as possible. Even the on-demand tankless water heaters can’t keep up with the high demands of a large family and will slow the water to a trickle the higher the demand gets.

Small families and studio apartments can often use an electric or tankless water heater (if the apartments are on individual units). With a tankless system, the relatively low demand on the water heater allows you to take full advantage of the energy efficiency without taxing the unit.

Solar Water Heaters

Some people supplement their hot water system with a solar water heater. While these can help increase the hot water available for your family, they are also very expensive. They can cost over $1,000.00 at their base price, and the amount of savings varies widely according to your use.

Return to Top

How Big of A Water Heater Do I Need?

To determine what size water heater you need, keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better. A conventional water heater is running all the time, so it will waste money to heat water that you’re never going to use. Fortunately, calculating what size to get is easy, requiring only simple, grade-school level math.

First you need to figure out your FHR (First Hour Rating). This is the amount of water you’ll use during your home’s peak time of water usage. This is usually first thing in the morning when everyone is taking showers, brushing their teeth, filling the coffee pot, etc. To do this, count the number of people in your household (or, if the house is currently unoccupied, count the number of bedrooms) and add 1. A four-bedroom house, for example, would come out to 5. Multiply that number by 12, the estimated gallons of hot water each person will use. For this example, the total is 60. (4+1=5, 5x12=60).

Now that you know your home’s FHR, you’ll want to get a water heater with the highest energy factor (EF) that you can afford. All of this information should be on a yellow label on the water heater.

The average water heater for a family of 5+ is around 50 gallons. The average FHR for these units ranges from 67 on the low end to 81 on the high end.

Return to Top

What Is An Expansion Tank, and Do I Need One?

To begin with, let’s revisit grade-school science: hot water expands.

Water is not compressible, which means that as it heats up, it will not press in on itself. It will look for somewhere to go. Check valves keep the expanding water from flowing back into the municipal water supply. This helps your municipality protect the city water supply from contaminants.

So where does that water go as it expands? Most water heaters have a little room inside for expansion. However, even though water doesn’t normally expand by much, any system can fail. In this case, the expanding water flows into the expansion tank. The expansion tank is usually more than adequate to handle the anticipated pressure from your tank.

Do you need one? Yes. Without a safe place for the expanded water to go, you can experience a total failure of your water heating system. This is a fancy way of saying that your water heater and/or pipes can burst. Many codes today require an expansion tank be installed with new construction. For a retro-fitting, most expansion tanks cost between $40.00 and $70.00. Someone who is handy with tools can install their own. If you have any doubts, though, call a plumber. This project involves gas and/or electrical lines.

Return to Top

Signs You Need A New Water Heater

Do you need a new water heater? Here are some easy ways to find out. Some may require a little periodic checking while others become obvious only after things have gone wrong:

  • The water is coming out rusty or some other non-clear color.
  • The water isn’t getting hot enough.
  • The water isn’t getting hot at all. While this could indicate the pilot light is out or the circuit breaker has been tripped, it can also indicate a failure of the whole heating system.
  • If the water has a strange odor or metallic taste, it’s a sign that the water heater is breaking down.
  • While a water heater normally makes sounds as it operates, loud pops and cracks indicate that the heating element is failing.
  • Leaks around the water heater are a significant sign of trouble. This indicates major failure going on internally. Shut off the electricity or gas to the system and let it cool down before replacing it.
  • If it’s over 10 years old, it’s nearing the end of its life expectancy.

When it comes time to replace your water heater, it’s best to call a professional. This way you can be sure that everything has been done safely and to code.

Return to Top

Popular Brands

The most popular brands of water heaters are popular for a reason. They are reliable, affordable, and readily available. Some brands, such as AO Smith, are sold exclusively by plumbing wholesalers and contractors. Others are available at your local hardware or home improvement stores.

  • AO Smith – about $500.00 to $600.00
  • Bradford White – about $700.00
  • Rheem – about $400.00 to $500.00
  • Kenmore – about $350.00 to $500.00
  • Whirlpool – about $375.00 to $475.00

The costs above are estimates for the water heater only. They are for the common 40- to 50-gallon capacity units and do not include installation, transportation, or other additional costs.

Return to Top

In Conclusion

A water heater is a must in your home. As technology advances, the efficiency of these systems will increase, making hot water even more affordable than before. Though some systems can be installed DIY, it’s best to call a professional to be sure the job is done right.

Return to Top

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?

How could this page be more helpful?

Share your cost experience

Help others plan and budget for their projects

Stephen Deasey More than 1 year ago
Very useful information.  Original quotes were outrageous compared to what I'm reading here. 
Maxine Ennis More than 1 year ago
AO Smith 50 gallon went in yesterday to replace a 9 year old off brand installed by the builder.  Like the commercials say "Priceless", but I thought it was a bargain at $900 (water heater removal, plumber and his helper, install and clean-up).
Fredrick Frank More than 1 year ago
Who did you use?
Deborah Vaders More than 1 year ago
NW Washington State, 50 gallon natural gas hot water heater replacement, no upgrades (out with the old, in with the new - only new tank and fittings as needed).  Lowe's tank $ 499 ($554 quoted out the door with local tax and sundries) .  Lowe's install quote $ 359.  Install seems high to me and a few others by about 30%.  Going to shop local installers directly.
Catherine Bailey More than 1 year ago
Looked at this site with its info first  and then called plumbers knowing about what it should cost.  We chose a person recommended by home advisor that we could speak to and he could answer questions without get upset with us and our questions. I feel I got good information from this site and  so I knew what to ask and what to expect. Negotiated a price and will have water heater installed tomorrow. Thanks Home Advisor.
Walter Hart More than 1 year ago
Total cost of 40 gal. hot water tank replacement was $680.00
Walter Hart More than 1 year ago
Estimate for 40 gallon hot water heater was $685. We'll see how it goes......
Laura B More than 1 year ago
$1118 for Bradford White 50 gallon gas hot water heater, gainesville, fl, using LPG Mechanical contractors out of High Springs
Bob Meixner More than 1 year ago
Mine was $1295 for 50 Gallon Bradfoed-White(pushed over AO Smith by plumber)
Robert Keller More than 1 year ago
was that price just for swap out or did you have to have
to have plumber raise  the heater for an 18 inch platform
which caused extra plumbing?
thanks  r ek
John Procaccino More than 1 year ago
Install 50 gal hot water heater with power vent. Cost Installed $1600
Sidney Baysinger More than 1 year ago
Cost to replace 50 gallon AO Smith to current codes with expansion tank installed is $1350 plus tax & permit.
John Procaccino More than 1 year ago
Original Estimate was $2400 Negotiated to $1600
Cynthia Bass More than 1 year ago
Northern VA natural gas water heater replacement.  Purchased 50 gallon Rheem Platnum with mixer valve.  The cost was $1569 installed.  Installed by homedepot contracted plumber.
Margo Thompson More than 1 year ago
Thank you.I am a new home buyer and this info was most helpful.
jason duer More than 1 year ago
50 gal GE geosprings water heater $900 + $320 for install for me through lowes (got mainly for the $300 Federal Tax Credit that ends this year)
john bracero More than 1 year ago
on the hunt to repair my parents hot water tank.not much money to spare
Donald Hammond More than 1 year ago
Estimate for installing a 40 gallon gas unit was $850
Ann Radebaugh More than 1 year ago
install 50 gallon skinny tank; 1475.00--including everything
Christine Chester More than 1 year ago
I installed an electric hybrid heat pump hot water heater. It is new technology. The unit itself costs 1200-1500 depending upon the size and brand. The installation is much more complicated than the usual gas/electric heater. And there is a $750 rebate for 2016 and a$300 tax rebate. The installation is more than the cost of this hybrid heater. It would be helpful to include a comparison with these new hybrid hot water heaters, otherwise this info is incomplete. I did lots of research online about the hybrid.Cost installed would be 2500-3000 but the rebates bring it down.
Linda Polk More than 1 year ago
Information was valuable..In the past I found it was cost effective for me to buy the water heater at a box store like home depot.
Rita leeson More than 1 year ago
Thanks great useful information on running costs , also found another great site with more information on this ,
Steve Wal More than 1 year ago
Had a Rheem 40 gal propane water heater installed fo $1056. 
Arlene Miller More than 1 year ago
I paid over $1900 for a new gas 40-gallon tank water heater and installation. I received the plumber recommendation from HomeAdvisor. While the response and installation was very fast, I know I paid double what I should have. I am not very happy about paying this much, which I could in no way afford, but I live alone and wanted it done right away for peace of mine. I called Lowe's first, but they didn't have an installer. I called Home Depot right after I called HomeAdvisor, but HomeAdvisor got to me first. I don't like Home Depot and it probably would have taken longer to get done, but I am sure anyone would have been less expensive then BeastBay, who was recommended to me. 
Bob Olinger More than 1 year ago
Useful information, but installation quotes in my area (southeast Michigan) were all much higher (some more than double) than what's listed as typical. The lowest price I got was for a 40-gallon Bradford White direct replacement for my existing gas unit at $1,250. Allowing about $700 for the tank makes installation $550, and that was the best quote I got. The job took two guys a little over an hour.
Mike Shepard More than 1 year ago
The plumber referred to me by Home Advisor quoted $2012 to replace a water heater. Since the average cost for my area is $978, his quote was ridiculous.
Janice Seldman More than 1 year ago
2 estimates for Rheem 50 gallon gas needing upgrades.  $850 and $2600.  
Naurang Gill More than 1 year ago
could not find the price of 70 gallon gas water heater  State brand
Arnold Magezi More than 1 year ago
1300 for a 50 Gallon State Select. 
Tehran Tucker More than 1 year ago
Yes very helpful
Pratt Douglas More than 1 year ago
Great info except we have a propane water heater and that isn't discussed. We want to replace it
Nick Macri More than 1 year ago
Good report,thorough.
TONY Carver More than 1 year ago
Richard Bartlett More than 1 year ago
Prices ranged from $740.00 to $1500.00.
khalid Aziz More than 1 year ago
Very helpful just don't understand why the installation cost more than the tank it self
Pat Conley More than 1 year ago
You can not use the cost of the water heater as a guide to the cost of the installation! Every job is different. With new technology today makes installation two to three times more difficult than in 1960's. Code changes usually dictate the cost of keeping you safe & not to mention the cost & risk of running a business.
Veronica horsley More than 1 year ago
very heipful
Colson Colson More than 1 year ago
Excellent reponse from inquiry. Professional customer service and good price quotes. Thank you.
E Weamer More than 1 year ago
Helpful and informative information. Thank you.

How do we get this data?

  1. Homeowners visit to find a top-rated pro to complete their home improvement project or repair.

  2. Once their projects are completed, the members log in to their accounts and complete a short cost survey.

  3. After compiling and organizing the data, we report it back to you.