Water heaters cost $870 to $2,700 to replace, or an average of $1,583 per replacement. Let’s go over the most important factors determining your water heater replacement costs to determine how to get the most bang for your buck with your new water heater.
Average Cost to Replace a Water Heater
In most cases, replacing a water heater costs between $870 and $2,700, with the national average being around $1,583. The cost depends mainly on the type of water heater and the labor. Other factors like materials, permits, carpentry, and electrical work may play a role. Still, the type of heater is the most influential factor by far.
Factors that Affect the Cost
Water heater replacement costs vary depending on various factors. Keep these factors in mind to get a better cost estimate.
Type of Water Heater
The water heater makes up most of the cost of replacing your current one, and the type of water is the most influential factor. The two most common types are tankless and tank water heaters.
Tank water heaters are the most popular choice for homeowners, making up most US households at an installation cost of $1000 to $1500. Tankless water heaters cost $1,200 to $3,500. Tankless water heaters benefit from a limited capacity, but their initial cost is beyond many homeowner’s budgets.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the cost of tank and tankless water heaters.
|Type of water heater
|$773 - $2,096
|$1,133 - $3,500
Ultimately, whether you buy a tank or tankless water heater is the primary factor in replacement costs. Most homeowners will choose a water heater of the same type as their current one to avoid installing a whole new infrastructure for their new one, saving on costs and time.
Tank and tankless are the main types, but you must also consider the fuel your water heater will use. The two main fuel types are gas and electricity. You can find tank and tankless water that work with either of these fuels.
Here’s a breakdown of the cost of installing water heaters depending on the fuel type.
|Type of fuel
|$533 - $3,500
|$600 - $2,500
You should replace your water heater with a model that uses the same fuel type. This saves on installation costs and time.
Venting is the process of safely releasing combustion byproducts like carbon monoxide. Good venting prevents health hazards and increases your water heater’s longevity.
The two types of venting are power venting and direct venting. Power venting uses a powered exhaust fan or blower to expel the combustion byproducts. In contrast, direct venting draws outside air for combustion and removes any byproducts through a sealed vent pipe.
The venting system is part of the installation cost, but you should consider it a separate expense because it can be significant. Both types of systems cost around $500 to $1,000 to install.
Of course, if the system is already installed and working, you’ll save on this process step.
Size of Water Heater
The water heater’s tank size depends on the size of your home. The most commonly used tank water heater holds up to 40 gallons. It costs around $550 to $2,100 to install, with an 80-gallon water heater costing up to $3,500.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the cost of various water heater sizes.
|$550 - $1,900
|$550 - $2,050
|$675 - $2,300
|$1,075 - $3,250
|$1,175 - $3,350
Property Location and Water Heater’s Location in the Property
Your geographical location and the water heater’s location within the home affect replacement costs. You could face higher labor costs depending on where the water heater has been installed, such as a hard-to-reach area.
Finally, your city influences costs, too. Bigger cities are usually more expensive, so you’ll pay less if you install a water heater in San Antonio than in Los Angeles.
Sometimes, you’ll need to employ multiple technicians to solve specific problems you face during installation. If, for example, you require construction work to install the new water heater when it doesn’t fit in the old one’s space, you might have to call in another expert to do the job.
These costs appear case-by-case and depend highly on your needs and circumstances, making them challenging to anticipate.
Labor Cost to Install a Water Heater
The average cost of hiring a plumber is $45-$200 per hour, and installing a new water heater takes about two to four hours.
Technicians usually give you an estimate of the total cost before starting to work. Still, remember that any unforeseen issues can increase the time and money you’ll need to spend on the project.
Additional Costs Related to Replacing a Water Heater
Most of our established factors are directly related to the water heater. However, there are other factors to keep in mind. These are some of the factors that may also play in the cost of replacing your water heater:
- Permits. Permits for installing water heaters cost $25 to $300, depending on the nature of the project.
- Plumbing materials. Like pipes, pressure valves, connectors, etc.
- Electrician hourly rate. Hiring an electrician will cost $50 to $100 per hour if your project requires wiring.
- Water heater brand. Some brands cost more than others for similar products. Paying for a high-quality model may ensure a longer lifespan, more energy efficiency, and other benefits.
DIY replacement can spare you the labor costs of hiring a technician ($180 to $800 for a four-hour job). However, it requires experience, knowledge and the proper tools, as water heaters are potentially risky to install if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Additionally, installing the water heater yourself may void the warranty if the warranty requires a licensed or certified technician.
In short, you should only install a water heater if you have extensive experience and are willing to void your warranty.
How to Save Money when Replacing a Water Heater
Despite the essential nature of water heaters, they can be a significant investment. Consider these when planning your water heater replacement:
- Perform maintenance on your current water heater as often as necessary and try to repair it before planning a replacement.
- Look for discounts on energy-efficient water heaters. They may be more expensive upfront, but they’ll help you save energy for years.
- Get the smallest unit that fits your family’s needs.
- Get a water heater with the same fuel and type (tank or tankless) as your current water heater to avoid retrofitting the current system to make it compatible with the new model.
Replacing your water heater can be intimidating, given the upfront costs can be considerable. But if you follow what you learned here and search for a model compatible with your current one, you’ll find a durable replacement for a reasonable price.