What To Consider Before Replacing Your Water Heater
Water heaters are some of the most commonly used appliances in most households and they are likely used every day. However, if the time has come and your water heater needs to be replaced, there are a few aspects that you should take into account before choosing the replacement.
Choosing the fuel sources for the replacement water heater is usually the most critical decision and these can range from electric to gas, and even solar models.
Closely related to the kind of fuel that you prefer, is the energy efficiency of your replacement water heater and the costs associated with installing this replacement.
Overview Of Tank Style Water Heaters
Tank-style water heaters remain the most common type installed in homes. Standard gas and electric models are more affordable when compared with tankless water heaters, despite not being as efficient. Thats the trade-off upfront vs. operating costs. Electric water heaters are the cheapest, but have the highest operating costs and dont heat water as quickly. Gas water heaters cost a bit more for the unit and installation, but cost less to run and heat significantly more gallons of water per hour.
This Costimate details tank-style, or conventional hot water heater prices for gas and electric models for you to compare. The cost for the water heater only and for water heater installation cost are covered, so you can see the cost savings possible with DIY installation. Reader-submitted water heater costs are found below, and we invite you to return once youve installed a water heater to add your cost details for the benefit of other readers. We also discuss DIY vs. Pro installation for those considering doing the work themselves, and provide a table of costs from other leading home improvement cost comparison websites.
Financial Benefits Of Tankless Water Heaters
According to the Department of Energy, on-demand water heaters can be anywhere from 8 percent to 50 percent more efficient than traditional storage tank water heaters, depending mainly on your water use patterns and system type . This is because, unlike tank storage systems, not much water is ever heated and left unused. The most efficient way to use on-demand hot water is with separate point-of-use systems at every hot water faucet in your home, but that type of setup can be very expensive upfront.
Regardless of exactly how efficient your specific system is, you can always save money on water heating with a tankless system. According to the Department of Energy, tankless water heaters typically save homeowners around $100 per year on energy costs when compared to storage tank water heaters. Check out our article on the pros and cons of tankless water heaters to learn more about how tankless water heaters can affect more than just your finances.
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Water Heater Installation Cost
Installing a water heater replacement costs between $832 and $1,656, or an average of $1,243, for a tank-based unit and labor. However, your actual price will depend largely on the size and type of heater you choose.
Larger units typically cost more, and other features and upgrades may drive the price up to $2,000 for the heater alone. Tankless water heaters cost an average of $1,000 to $3,500, including labor.
To arrive at your total cost, add together the price of your unit and roughly $45 to $150 per hour to hire a plumber. Note that labor costs may increase if your project requires additional venting, plumbing, or electrical work. Below, well discuss all of the factors that play into the overall cost of installing a water heater so you can choose the option that works best for your home and budget.
Tank Size Or Tankless Water Heating Capacity
The size of the water heater also plays into the cost. Tank-style heaters range in size from 20 to more than 80 gallons of storage, with most homes using either a 40 or 50-gallon size. Tankless water heater size is measured in a flow rating of between two- and six gallons-per-minute . A higher flow rate of four- to six-gpm is recommended for most homes.
Be sure to choose a new unit that will supply enough hot water for the number of individuals in the house. The average prices shown below reflect the unit price only, not including labor or additional costs.
|Number Of People|
|50-plus gallon tank, $400 to $3,000||6+ gpm tankless, $500 to $900|
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Ask What Your Options Are
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To schedule, fill out the form on their website.
Solar Power Water Heaters Cost:
Solar power water heaters are the least used amongst all. In this modern era, no one needs the old-school sun to run a machine. Nor does anyone have time for that, unless someone is super energy conscious. Not only its traditional heating method is a downside, but its price is sky-high. The starting price of such water heaters is $2000, so you can think of the maximum price!
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Cost To Convert From Electric To Gas Water Heater
Converting from an electric to gas water heater costs $355 to $2,000+, depending on if there’s an existing gas supply line. The average cost to convert from a gas to electric water heater is $200 to $500+ for a new dedicated circuit and wiring.
Switching the fuel source also requires plumbing, venting, and electrical modifications due to different connections.
- Gas line installation costs$350 to $750 to run a line from an existing connection or $500 to $2,000 to run a new gas line from the meter.
- Replacing plumbing pipes costs$450 to $1,800.
- Adding a new vent for gas exhaust costs $100 to $600.
- Electrical wiring installation costs$1.56 to $3.75 per square foot to run wire to a new electric water heater.
- Installing a new dedicated electrical circuit costs $150 to $200.
- The cost to upgrade an electrical panel is $850 to $2,500 and may be necessary to support a new electric unit.
How To Cancel A Reliance Home Comfort Water Heater Contract
For agreements started after November 5, 2014 and until November 5, 2024, the 2014 Competition Tribunal orders to Reliance Home Comfort applies, which state:
- Reliance shall permit a Customer or its Agent to terminate a Rental Agreement at any time
Reliance shall permit a Customer or its Agent to:
- drain, disconnect, remove and/or return to Reliance the water heater that is the subject of the Rental Agreement or
- request that Reliance drain, disconnect, remove and/or pick up at the Installed Address the water heater that is the subject of the Rental Agreement
Other than any outstanding rental payments and interest charges owed, Reliance may not charge any Exit Charges other than a:
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Timeline Of Government Actions Against The Industry
Since the early 2000s, the Bureau has taken significant enforcement action to address concerns relating to alleged anti-competitive conduct in this market, including filing applications and Registered Consent Agreements with the Competition Tribunal.
- In 2002, the Competition Tribunal prohibited Enbridge Services from engaging in practices that intentionally suppressed competition and restricted consumer choice in a 10-year consent order. The investigation found that Direct Energy re-engaged in similar conduct after the consent order expired in February 2012.
- Bureau determines that the companies had policies that intended to frustrate consumers, including:
- a requirement to call to obtain authorization to return a rented tank
- aggressive retention tactics during these calls
- restrictions on when and where units can be returned and
- unwarranted fees and charges.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Tankless Water Heater
The cost to install a tankless water heater is higher than the cost for a tank-based system. This is due to the base price of the unit itself and because of higher labor costs. Licensed plumbers will charge anything from $50 to $150 an hour for labor, but not all plumbers will be able to install a tankless system, as it can involve putting in new gas and water lines. On average it takes eight to 10 hours to install a tankless system, compared with the two to three hours it takes to install a tank-based system.
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When You Should Call A Plumbing Professional
If your water heater is experiencing any signs of decline, or unexpectedly breaks down, its recommended to call a professional.
While you could choose to replace a water heater as one of your home improvement projects, the intense labor and comprehensive knowledge of installing a system makes water heater repairs and replacement a job better suited for a plumber.
Prices Of Hot Water Heaters
For a good-quality gas tankless water heater, youll need to pay at least $1,000. For a system with electronic ignition, the cost is closer to $1,200. These models have no pilot light, which means you see even greater energy savings over the long term.
The average Purchase price of a gas tankless heater is $1,000-$1,200
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Direct Vent Vs Power Vent Water Heater Cost
Power vent water heaters cost $350 to $500 more than standard atmospheric vent or direct vent units. All tank and tankless gas water heaters need to vent harmful exhaust using one of three vent types:
- Atmospheric vent draws indoor air from around the water heater and vents through a vertical or upward-sloping duct. Atmospheric vents may be connected to an existing duct or chimney.
- Direct vent draws air through a duct that runs through an exterior wall and vents exhaust through a separate duct or a separate chamber within the same duct. Direct vent systems may be installed in small, enclosed spaces.
- Power vent draws indoor air from around the water heater and uses an electric blower to vent exhaust through a vertical or horizontal duct.
Can You Install Or Replace A Water Heater Yourself
Water heaters are complicated pieces of equipment, and installing and replacing them should be left to professional plumbers.
Very experienced DIYers might be able to install theirs accurately and hook up all of the plumbing connections and electrical wiring properly, but the risk of damaging your water heater which can cost several thousands of dollars is very high.
The minimal amount of money youd save on labor costs performing a DIY installation pales in comparison to the damages you could cause to your equipment and your home if you make an error. Its best to leave the work to a plumber and electrician.
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Cost Of Water Heater Accessories To Save Money
Follow these tips to save money on your water heating bill:
- Insulate the tank and first few feet of water pipes connected to the water heater. Tank insulation blankets cost $20 to $50, and utility companies may provide rebates.
- Install a timer that turns off an electric water heater when it’s not in use. Water heater timers cost $40 to $140 for the timer alone or $100 to $350 with installation.
- Lower the temperature on the water heater to 120°F. Every 10°F reduction saves 3% to 5% on water heating costs.
- Get regular maintenance, including draining the sediment from the tank every 6 to 12 months.
Electric Tankless Water Heater Installation Cost
Installing an electric tankless heater is also less complex and less expensive than a gas tankless heater. Theres no need for venting, a condensate drain, or a gas line, nor will you need to update your gas meter.
Below are all of the possible installation tasks you may need to undergo for installing a new electric unit:
Plugging or Wiring
You will need to plug your heater to 240-volt power, though. Most of the time, homeowners just plug the heater to an outlet. If this is the case, it may be possible to install the electric water heater yourself.
Alternatively, you may need to wire the electric heater directly to your service panel. Unless you have ample experience in this kind of task, youll need to hire an electrician. Youll need to install a subpanel next to your heater. This has its own circuit breakers to disconnect the power from the water heater. The wiring needs to run to this subpanel and from the subpanel to the water heater.
In some cases, simply wiring a water heater to your current system is insufficient. It is possible that youll need to update your electrical system or its configuration. This will add to the costs of installation an electrician will likely charge between $65 and $85 an hour.
Remove the Current System
Finally, as with a gas water heater, youll need to pay a plumber to remove your current system and you may want to ask a carpenter to create a space for the heater.
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Signs That You Need A Replacement Water Heater
If your water heater stops working or has sprung a leak, youll obviously need a new unit. However there are several subtler signs that your water heater needs replacing. Here are some clues to watch for that indicate your heater is failing:
- Warm water only or water that only runs hot for a very short time
- Rusty, cloudy or metallic-tasting water
- Small leaks or moisture around the base of the unit
- Loud noises coming from the tank
- Your current water heater is 10 years old or more
Water Heater Price Ranges By Type
- Tankless, externally mounted: $4,211.67 to $4,703.04
- Tankless, internally mounted: $3,743,85 to $4,404.52
- Electric water heater: $928.20 to $1,327.86
- Natural gas water heater: $1,020.05 to $1,939.82
- Natural gas, direct vent: $1,488.57 to $2,968.66
- Natural gas, power vent: $2,888.14 to $3,663.53
- Propane water heater: $1,208.99 to $2,046.75
- Propane, direct vent: $2,147.49 to $3,055.08
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Drain The Tank Until It Runs Clear
Once a year, or once every time you think of it while youre in your utility room, open the drain at the bib at the bottom of the tank and let a water drain out until it runs clear and ideally empty it out completely. You want to drain and rinse the sediment off the bottom of the tank, and exercise your hose bib because they get seized up.
Over time, minerals and sediment in the water collects in the bottom of the tank and a layer builds up. This makes it harder for heat to transfer from the burner to the water through the tank bottom, leading to longer burner run times, a hotter tank bottom and increased risk of the tank splitting. It can also compromise its energy efficiency, lead to clogs in fixtures throughout the house as well as:
- Less hot water available
- Tank corrosion and eventually leaks or failure
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Cost Factor #: Size Of The Water Heater
Water heater sizing is a reference to the volume of hot water it provides. Its important to note that the size of tank and tankless water heaters are measured differently.
Tank water heaters size is measured by:
- Tank capacity: How much hot water the tank can hold when its completely full. On average, tank water heaters hold between 50-80 gallons of hot water, which is the standard amount of water for a household of 1-4 people.
- First hour rating: How much hot water the tank will provide if the water heater is used continuously for one hour. Since the tank refills itself as hot water is used, this number will be higher than the tank’s capacity.
Tankless water heaters size is measured by:
- Temperature rise: This is determined by the difference in temperature between your incoming water and your desired hot water temperature. For example, if your incoming water temperature is 60°F and your desired hot water temperature is 125°F, the temperature rise needed would be 65°F.
- Flow rate: The amount of hot water your system can produce per minute. Flow rate is important because your water heater will need a certain flow rate if you want to use different household appliances simultaneously. For example, to use your bathroom sink and your shower at the same time, youd need to ensure your water heaters flow rate exceeds the flow rate of the two appliances added together.
To find out the best water heater size for your home, call an expert at Michael & Son today.
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