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How Much Does It Cost To Install Or Replace A Water Heater?

Typical Range: $812 - $1,572

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May 12, 2021

Reviewed by Dan DiClerico, Smart Home Strategist and Home Expert.
Written by HomeAdvisor.

Water Heater Installation Cost

Installing a water heater costs between $812 and $1,572, or an average of $1,184, including the unit and labor. Tankless heaters cost about $1,000 to $3,000. Water heaters cost $300 to $2,000+ for the unit alone while plumber labor runs $45 to $150 per hour. The length of the job averages 2 to 3 hours.

Whether replacing or installing a water heater, we’ll go over all the costs you’ll run into. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you’ll need to know about pricing out your next tank style installation. We’ll also briefly discuss hybrids, high efficiencies, solar and tankless.

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National Average $1,184
Typical Range $812 - $1,572
Low End - High End $350 - $10,000

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 26,599 HomeAdvisor members in .

Average Costs to Replace a Water Heater

Average Cost$1,184
Typical Range$812 and $1,572
High Cost$10,000
Low Cost$350

New Hot Water Heater Installation Prices

TypeAverage Unit Price RangeInstallation Cost
Standard Tank Storage$400 - $1,600$150 - $600
Tankless$250 - $2,500$400 - $1,500
Hybrid/High Efficiency$700 - $3,000$150 - $600
Solar$1,000 - $6,000$2,000 - $4,000

New hot water heater installation costs range from as low as $550 to $10,000 or more, including the unit and labor. Most standard electric and gas water heater units cost $400 to $1,600. However, they can range anywhere from $250 to $6,000, depending on the type. Installation costs vary significantly based on type as well.

Tank vs. Tankless

Tank Tankless
Cost
(materials + labor)
$700 - $2,000$1,000 - $3,000
Lifespan8 - 12 years20+ years
Energy SourceGas, Propane, Electric, SolarGas, Electric, Propane
Installation Time2 - 3 hours8 - 10 hours
ProsProven track record
Cheaper
Easy to install
High efficiency available
Smaller
Saves up to 25% on utilities
Only 5% energy loss
Endless supply
Cons30%+ energy loss
Takes up a lot of space
Always on - using energy
Expensive to install
Not great for northern climates
Need multiple units for large homes

Average cost with installation:

  • Tank: $900 (40- to 50-gallon tank)
  • Tankless: $3,000

Water heaters come in two main styles: tank and tankless. A tank water heater, as the name implies, keeps hot water ready to use in a large tank that holds anywhere from 30 to 80 gallons. More than 90% of water heaters installed in U.S. homes are tank-style.

Tankless water heaters cost two to three times more than standard tank heaters. They’re harder to install and will run you more in labor costs. The advantage with these small, suitcase-sized units is that they deliver an endless supply of hot water whenever you need it through a series of super-heated coils. You might hear them referred to as “on-demand” heaters.

Get the best price on water heaters and installation

Water Heater Costs by Gallon

Tank Size (Gallons)Price Range*
30$270 - $900
40$320 - $1,600
50$400 - $2,200
75$900 - $3,000
80$1,000 - $3,000

*Does not include labor costs to install.

Gas Water Heater Costs vs. Electric Water Heater Pricing

Electric Gas
Energy SourceElectricNatural gas
Works During Power OutageNoSometimes
Lifespan8 - 12 years8 - 12 years
Recovery Rate1 - 2 hours30-60 minutes
Energy Efficiency95%60 - 70%
Cost Over 12 Year Lifespan$6,250$5,000
Price of Unit$200 - $2,880$250 - $1,800

All types use either gas (natural or propane) or electricity. On average, natural gas fired units cost $100 to $200 more than electrical types. The internal heating comes either from an electrical coil, much like a stove top coil, or via a gas pilot light. Although natural gas units cost more up front and they’re less energy-efficient, the high price of electricity in most parts of the country still makes gas the cheaper long-term choice. However, electrical types, whether tank or tankless, make better choices for small apartments or confined areas since they don’t require make-up air or venting.

Propane vs. Oil-Fired Hot Water System Prices

Propane and oil-fired water heaters both fall on the expensive end of the spectrum at $1,000 to $3,000 for the unit alone. Propane and oil-fired types offer an alternative to electricity and natural gas for rural and off-grid homes.

Direct Vent vs. Power Vent Water Heaters

Power venting a water heater costs about $500 to $1,000 more than a passive or direct vent system.

  • Power venting: Adds $300-$600 to the unit’s price. Plus, you’ll add an additional $300-$500 for wiring and electrical. This system uses a powered fan to push exhaust air out of your home. Natural and propane gases create carbon monoxide as they burn, creating a potentially serious health hazard if not vented properly.
  • Direct venting: Adds $500-$1,000 only if you’re converting from electric to gas. This system uses the idea that hot air rises over the cooler surrounding air. As the gas burns, the air heats up and vents out of your house through a vent stack above the unit.

Average Cost of a High-Efficiency Water Heater

"There are many high-efficiency options on today's market that are worth a look, especially when you realize that water heaters are the second highest source of energy consumption in the home." Dan DiClerico, HomeAdvisor Smart Home Strategist and Home Expert.

High-efficiency water heaters cost an average of $1,000 to $3,000 including the unit and labor. They’re anywhere from 100% to 300% more efficient than conventional water heaters. They use a combination of factors to create better energy efficiency, which include:

  • Better insulation
  • Smart controls with leak detection and protection alerts for connected devices
  • Heat pumps (discussed in the next section)
  • Plastic tanks

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heater installation costs $1,800 to $5,500 but can skyrocket to $13,000 or more. Some people supplement their system with a solar tank or tube style heater. While these can help increase what’s available for your family, they are also very expensive.

Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters

You’ll pay in the range of $1,200 to $3,500 for most hybrid heat pump water heaters. This price includes both the materials and the labor. They’re the most efficient style of tank heater and the most expensive. They use a heat pump to pull heat from the surrounding air and transfer it to the water in the tank via a compressor and coils. Heat pumps are large units, requiring as much as seven feet from clearance from floor to ceiling, plus up to 1,000 cubic feet of surrounding air space, so they‘re not a good choice for small houses and apartments.

Indirect Water Heater Installation Costs

Indirect water heaters cost $800 to $1,500 on average. An extremely efficient choice, they consist of a tank that pulls heat from a nearby boiler or furnace, rather than relying on an independent heat source. The systems can be fired by gas, oil, propane, electric, solar energy or any combination of these.

Talk to Local Water Heater Pros to select the tight one for your home

Rheem Water Heater Prices vs. Other Popular Brands

Rheem$400 - $2,300
AO Smith$400 - $3,500
Bradford White$400 - $3,000
Kenmore$350 - $1,000
Whirlpool$350 - $1,500

The costs above are estimates for the unit only. They are for the common 30- to 50-gallon capacity units and do not include installation, transportation or other additional expenses.

Average Labor Cost to Install a Water Heater

the average cost to install a water heater is $1,200 or $350 to $11,000.

Labor costs for installing a standard water heater range from $150 to $800. Most plumbers quote a flat rate that includes the materials and labor. But if you bought your own unit and want it installed, you’ll need to call in a pro. This project is not DIY-friendly.

Want the Best Price for Your Water Heater Installation? Compare Quotes from Local Pros

Water Heater Replacement Cost

Replacing a water heater usually costs $500 to $1,800 for a replacement of the same style and size. Other costs, including permit fees and carpentry work, can add anywhere from $50 to $1,500 or more.

  • Converting from one fuel source to another often includes one or more of the following:

How Much Does It Cost to Convert Gas Water Heater to Electric?

It will cost you $200 to $500+ to convert from gas to electric. The total cost comes from running a new electrical circuit. Electric heaters require their own dedicated circuit so don’t try to put them on an existing line.

How Much Does A Water Heater Permit Cost?

Water heater permits cost $50 to $500 depending on the extent of the construction needs. You can pull a permit yourself or have your installer do it and include it in their overhead.

Water Heater Expansion Tank Cost

A water heater expansion tank costs $40 to $200 with labor adding another $50 to $150. Most come with a little extra space for fluid expansion as it heats up. It’s usually required by code with new construction or when upgrading your current system. Without that space, the hot fluids build up pressure which can lead to burst pipes. An expansion tank gives a little extra space to take the pressure off your pipes.

Water Heater Removal Costs

Removing your current water heater costs anywhere from $100 to $500. The bill depends heavily on the hourly rate of your contractor. If the unit is hard to access or difficult to remove, expect to pay more for removal.

Need a Water Heater Installer? Let Us Find the Best Local Pros for You

Water Heater Installation Cost by Location

City or StateAverage Cost Range
Chicago$750 - $1,250
Houston$950 - $1,600
Dallas$950 - $1,675
Austin$850 - $1,650
San Diego$935 - $1,600
Los Angeles$950 - $1,750
San Francisco$1,050 - $1,850
Atlanta$775 - $1,350
Minneapolis$715 - $1,300
New Jersey$975 - $1,500
Denver$985 - $1,900
Seattle$1,050 - $1,700
Massachusetts$940 - $1,700

Cost estimates are based on actual project costs reported by HomeAdvisor members.

What Size Water Heater Do You Need?

Determine the size of your water needs based on how many people you have in your home.

Number in HouseTank (gallons)Tankless* (gallons per minute)
120 - 302 - 3
2 - 330 - 403 - 5
4 - 540 - 504 - 6
6+55+5+

*May require two or more units run parallel or with separate units for point of use, such as a dedicated one for each bathroom, shower or appliance. For a detailed estimation you’ll need more information:

  • Tank style heaters: find your FHR (First Hour Rating) or the peak-hour hot water demand and your tank's recovery rate.
  • Tankless: determine the flow rate of each appliance, fuel source and rise in temperature needed.
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Signs You Need a New Water Heater

About 90% of hot water heater installations are the result of a sudden failure, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. You can avoid the stress of that situation by watching out for the following warning signs that your water heater is nearing its end of life:

the average lifespan of a tank water heater is 8 to 12 years
  • Water is rusty or discolored or there’s a strange metallic taste. This means the anode inside has failed and the heater is corroding.
  • Water isn’t heating up enough. Likely an issue with the main heating element.
  • Not 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 heating system.
  • Loud pops and cracks. These noises indicate that the heating element is failing.
  • Leaks. This indicates major failure going on internally. Shut off the electricity or gas to the system and let it cool down before replacing it.
  • Over 10 years old. It’s nearing the end of its life expectancy.

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

DIY vs. Hiring a Plumber to Replace a Water Heater

A water heater is a must in your home. As technology advances, the efficiency of these systems will increase. It’s tempting to save a few hundred by installing one yourself. But you’ll need to deal with pipes, gas lines, or electricals.

You’ll also need a permit and inspection. If anything fails, the cost of repairs, cleanup or updating an improper installation might end up costing more than hiring a pro in the first place. If you want to save money on this project, look for multiple water heater installation companies near you today. Compare rates, reviews, and get multiple quotes before you hire.

FAQs

How much does a standard hot water tank cost?

It will cost you anywhere from $812 and $1,572, or an average of $1,184 for a hot water tank unit and installation.

What type of water heater is best for small homes or studio apartments?

Small families and studio apartments can often use a 20-gallon electric tank or tankless water heater (if the apartments are on individual units).

What is an expansion tank, and do I need one?

An expansion tank is a safety system for water that expands when it heats up. Most have a little room inside for expansion. However, any system can fail. In this case, the expanding water flows into the expansion tank rather than your pipes. Many codes now require installing one with new construction. Without a safe place for the expanded water to go, in a worst-case scenario, your pipes burst from the pressure.

How much does it cost to run a water heater?

Water heater costs range from $150 to $700 per year. It makes up 14% to 20% of your total household energy use.

How much do water heater services cost?

Water heater repairs cost $200 to $1,000. The actual bill depends heavily on what work you have done, if you have a tank or tankless unit, and the fuel source.

How long do water heaters last?

A tank style water heater lasts 8 to 15 years. Tankless has a 20+ year lifespan.

How do you know if your water heater is going out?

When your hot water runs out quicker than normal or it begins to taste metallic, you know your water heater is going out.

How long does it take a 40 gallon water heater to drain?

It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to completely drain a 40-gallon water heater.

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

A 50-gallon water heater can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours for electric or 30 to 60 minutes for gas to heat water to 120 degrees.

Still Have Questions About Water Heaters? Ask Local Pros
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How do we get this data?

  1. Homeowners visit HomeAdvisor.com 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.