The Labor Cost To Install A Water Heater And Water Tank Costs

When it comes to making changes in your home, one of the top priorities for most people is the costs. Both material costs and labor costs. One thing that will eventually need to be done is to replace your water heater.

The labor cost to install a water heater is half the cost of the water heater. So you can usually double labor costs for most projects. But to be more specific let’s take a look at these water heater costs and how much you may pay.

What Is The Labor Cost To Install A Water Heater?

labor cost to install water heater
Image from Flickr.

While you’re figuring the cost of buying the water heater, don’t forget to figure the cost of hiring someone to install it. This is definitely something you don’t want to do alone nor should you do it alone.

In fact, it may be against the law to install your own water heater where you live, so you’ll have to forfeit the money to have it installed. The labor costs vary but are generally somewhere between $500 and $1500. 

Water Heater Replacement Cost

Hot Water Tank Cost

If you’re simply replacing the water heater, you’re going to have to pay for the new tank as well as the labor. The labor will still be under $2000 but not likely less than $200, with $1000 being a good average to go by. 

Chances are, you’ll pay less than $1000 but you can never be too sure. In some cities, the prices are outrageous while in other places you’ll pay couple hundred dollars. Look around before deciding on a plumber. 

When To Replace Water Heater

Finding out when to replace your water heater is important. You don’t want to wait until the thing is gushing water or scalding you every other day even though you have the cold water on. You want to catch it early.

For tank water heaters, replace it every 10 years or when you notice changes and the plumber recommends changing the heater. Tankless water heaters need to be replaced at least every twenty years rather than ten. 

How Much Does A Water Heater Cost?

There are many things that affect the water heater replacement costs. Some are simple while others require a bit of knowledge to figure out. Here are the biggest factors in the cost of a water heater. 

How Much Does A Water Heater Cost

Gas Or Electric

There are currently only two major types of water heaters. There are gas-powered and electric-powered. Gas water heater costs $100 to $500 more than electric heaters. They are powered with a gas pilot light.

Electric water heaters are actually cheaper and more energy-efficient. They use less fossil fuel, however, they will cost more each month due to the higher price of running your electricity all the time. 

Extra Materials 

You may need extra pipes for your system and you may choose copper where PVC is the cheapest choice. You may also want to have a special tank put in or need different venting options for your home.

These materials really affect the price of the installation. But they can only be determined after the plumber has begun working or has at least taken a look at your project in order to give you an accurate quote.

Tank Vs. Tankless

Tank Vs. Tankless

Tankless water heaters are much cheaper over a period of time but will have higher initial costs. As of 2021, tank water heaters are much more popular than tankless but the popularity is expected to turn the corner soon. 

Tank water heaters usually cost around $1000 to $1500 to install. But tankless water heaters can cost double that cost. This pays off in a few years but the initial cost is too much for most people to deal with. 


This means two things. This is the location of your home and the location of the water heater. The further the water heater is away from what it is heating, the more it will cost because the more pipe, and stronger heater, you’ll need.

Also, your geographical location matters. Some areas have much cheaper material and labor costs than others. Just the salaries of plumbers in your area compared to others to find out if it is cheaper or more expensive where you live. 


You probably have to have a permanent for your water heater installation. These can cost as little as $50 or as much as $1500. It all depends on the type of work you’re getting done and where you live.

Not just your geographical location but also whether you live in a condo, a duplex, or a private estate. So make sure your plumber knows the necessary permits and whether or not that is added to the cost. 

Hot Water Tank Cost

Hot Water Tank Cost

The actual tank matters here, and this refers to the size of the tank. Tanks range from 20-gallons, which is very rare to 100-gallon tanks which are also very rare. The middle range is what you’ll see 90% of the time. 

  • 80-Gallon Water Heater Cost – you probably don’t want larger than an 80-gallon tank because you won’t use it. An 80-gallon tank ranges from $1,000 to $3,500, depending on the cost factors above.
  • 60-Gallon Water Heater Cost – a 60-gallon tank will cost around $2000, with the range being anywhere from $900 to $3000. This isn’t a common size but it can be seen in large to medium-large homes. 
  • 50-Gallon Water Heater Cost – this is more of a rare tank size because forty and sixty-gallon tanks are more common. But 50-gallon tanks can be seen. They range from $500 to $1500, but this price varies. 
  • 40-Gallon Water Heater Cost – this is the most common size of water tank for a water heater. It will cost around $300 to $1000 for the tank which is not a bad range at all for something that will last a decade. 
  • 30-Gallon Water Heater Cost – a 30-gallon tank water heater runs approximately $250 to $900. This is the smallest you will want to go for a normal small house. Only a tiny house can have a smaller heater. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Why Isn't My Water Hot?

This is actually usually a fairly easy fix. You may need to upgrade to a larger tank but it could also mean you need a few pipes replaced. A plumber can tell you what needs to be fixed fairly quickly after a visit. 

Why Is The Heater Leaking?

If your heater is leaking, it isn’t a good sign. A leaking water heater means a serious internal issue. So turn off the water to it and call someone to come take a look. Don’t attempt anything alone, especially before it cools off. 

Cross your fingers and hope it’s nothing too costly. It could easily be something simple that can be fixed but it could also mean the entire water heater needs to be replaced, which isn’t fun for anyone. 

Can You Get A Solar-Powered Water Heater?

Yes, you can get a solar-powered water heater. However, solar-powered water heaters are not everything they need to be yet. This is why they can cost up to $15000. Always get a quote before installing one of these.

Because while some may only cost $2000, the high end for a standard water heater, if the person isn’t qualified or if the project is too complicated, it can cost a fortune. So be careful choosing this route.

Why Does My Water Taste Funny?

This usually means a rusty or metallic taste and it usually means that a node inside the heater isn’t working and is rusting. This can be an easy fix with a qualified plumber so make sure you tell them this. 

They can check that directly saving you a lot of time and money. So tell them what you think it is and why you think it. It could be the answer to what seems like a big problem but with a simple fix!

Why Is My Energy Bill Getting Higher?

There are many reasons that your energy bill is getting higher. It could simply be the times and the changing economy. But it could also be an inefficient water heater that needs to be inspected, even if there are no other signs. 

So it’s usually best to go ahead and have your water heater and everything else inspected if your energy bill is going up but your neighbors say that their’s isn’t. It could be that your water heater needs to be replaced. 

Should I Always Replace After Ten Years?

In short, yes. But it’s always better to have your water heater inspected at ten years. If the plumber says that you don’t need to replace it for a couple of years then trust them and wait until the next inspection. 

But with tank water heaters, replace them or sure after fifteen years. Any more than that and you could have underlying problems that even an inspector couldn’t catch. So replace it before then just to be safe.

Can I Write Off The Costs?

Yes! You can write off around 30% of the cost of your hot water heater on your taxes. Let your tax preparer know when you had your water heater replaced and how much it cost, sending them the receipt for it.

This is a great incentive to go for that solar-powered hot water heater or to make sure you get it replaced before the end of the year. Check your other home improvements to see if they qualify as a deduction.