An efficient water heater is essential for the comfort and function of your home. Whether planning a new installation or the replacement of an old unit, it is important to consider several factors when pricing the set-up of your new water heater.
Storage Tanks and Tankless Systems
A number of water heater options are available to meet the demand and efficiency requirements of different households. Tank-style heaters are the most popular on the market and are the most economical to purchase and install, costing an average of $372, nationally. These models heat cold water and store it in a tank until it is called for by a fixture or appliance. Electric tanks run by heat pumps have a higher purchase price than standard electric models, but the installation process is similar and the units are much less expensive to operate. On-demand systems quickly heat water as it drawn, eliminating the need for a storage tank. Both electric and gas tankless systems come with a higher price tag than heaters with storage tanks and generally cost an average of $657 to install.
Water Heater Location
If you are replacing your existing water heater with one of the same type, your contractor should be able to work with the connections that are already in place, keeping the set-up fairly simple. However, if access to the site is limited, added difficulty for maneuvering your water heater may increase labor costs. Typical installations in the basement of a home cost an average of $381 compared to $395 for installing in a garage and $409 for fitting a water heater in a closet.
Whole House vs. Single Point Systems
Whole house water heaters are installed in a single location and supply the hot water for all fixtures and appliances in the home. Both tankless and tank-type water heaters can serve as whole-house systems, costing an average of $679 to install. Some applications may warrant multiple point-of-use (POS) units, which are installed for an average price of $481. While multiple tank style water heaters may be used in one home, typical POS systems are made up of several tankless heaters installed throughout the house where hot water is used. Tankless systems are often most efficient in POS applications or used in conjunction with a whole-house system, requiring the installation of several units. Carefully evaluate your expected usage to determine if a more costly system will save you enough in energy costs to offset the installation expense.
Water heaters are typically powered by electricity, natural gas, or propane, though solar water heating systems are growing in popularity. An important factor in choosing your new water heater is which type of fuel you plan to use and whether any conversion will be necessary. The average price for installing a natural gas unit is $450 compared to $491 for propane heaters. While typically less efficient to operate, electric models are often more economical to purchase, with average installation rates of $403. Solar water heating systems have a more complex installation process than traditional heaters with typical installation costs of $430. Consult with your contractor about which fuel makes the most sense for your family’s needs and your location.
Contractor Supplied Water Heater vs. Homeowner Purchased Units
Though most contractors and installers can recommend and provide a water heater for your project, you may choose to select and purchase an appliance on your own. Ordering and delivery may play a part in pricing your installation, which averages $574 when contractors supply a water heater, and $345 when homeowners purchase their own unit.
Planning for Your Water Heater Installation
Since a water heater installation involves a connection to the plumbing of your home as well as to a power supply or fuel source, altering your set-up may lead to increased costs. Choosing a new location for a replacement heater or converting to a new type of heater or fuel will require modifications to your home that will add to your overall expenses. Your contractor can help you determine how the up-front cost of your heating unit, long-term efficiency, and site variables affect the total costs of your water heater installation.
Related Cost Guides: Tankless Water Heater Installation Cost