Buying a hot water heater is not like buying a book — the lowest prices does not always mean the lowest price over several years time, or even over the weekend it might take you to install your new heater.
So as you compare water heater prices, don’t forget to also figure in the installation costs and possible energy savings of different models (as you use the heater over several years time).
Here is a rundown on water heater prices, based on estimates for the three primary types of models that are used today: electric, gas and tankless.
Electric water heater prices
Electric water heaters can range from $200 to $700, depending on the size of heater that you buy. You can get a very good 50-gallon electric heater with a nice warranty for less than $400. Check this page for a list of electric hot water heaters and their current prices.
The installation of electric heaters is usually the least complicated among the different models. That will further reduce your costs, unless you are switching from gas to electric or installing a much larger heater than the one you previously owned (as your family grows?).
Other costs that you should figure in as you buy an electric heater is the cost of electricity (higher than for gas) and the energy efficiency of the different models that you are considering.
It will take several minutes of calculations, but you need to decide if the higher cost of electricity over gas will be more than compensated by the lower start-up cost of buying an electric model. Will the higher costs of electricity outweigh the lower costs of purchase over 10 years time? That is the central question as you make your decision, unless you are wary of gas and plan on buying electric no matter what.
Check this page if you’re looking for a good calcaulation tool.
(Please note that “the comparison assumes a storage tank water heater as the input type. To allow demand (tankless) water heaters as the comparison type, users can specify an input EF of up to 0.85; however, 0.66 is currently the best available EF for storage water heaters.”!)
Gas heater prices
Gas water heater prices range from $300 to $900, depending on size. You can get an outstanding 40-gallon gas water heater for under $500. Gas water heaters cost a bit more than electric models, but most consumer organizations will tell you that they make up the difference with lower operating costs over time. You can check this page for a list of gas hot water heaters and their current prices.
The energy efficiency of the two models is comparable; gas models lose a little more heat than electric versions. Installation costs for gas models are also a bit higher because proper venting must be ensured, and this could involve installation of extra lines or holes in the site area. Gas models might require an inspection, too, which can raise the cost.
People who do not mind having gas appliances in their home often opt for gas water heaters because they cost substantially less to operate than electric models (once installed). You shouldn’t mind turning on the pilot light now and then when it goes out, but most newer models have taken care of problems like that.
Tankless hot water heaters are in an entirely different price category. That’s because they will cost less to use right away — there is no extra or standing water being heated for use — justifying their higher price tag. Tankless heaters are also called “on demand” heaters for that reason.
That said, be prepared for sticker shock as you look at the prices for these new entries on the market, which are also said to last twice as long as gas and electric tank models, although not enough data has come in yet to verify that claim.
A couple of options that you have as you consider tankless is whether you want to install several mini-models at different places in your home, or one large model to handle all of your hot water heating needs. Most people opt for one large unit, although the mini-units can be had for as cheaply as $150 apiece.
The larger units start at $600 and go up to $1,200-$2,000 and more. You can get a very good electric tankless heater for $650 and a quality tankless gas heater for $750.
Check this page for a list of tankless hot water heaters and their current prices.
Another hidden cost for buying a hot water heater is the time and trouble that you consecrate for this task, as well as the gas that you burn while driving around to compare prices. Perhaps that is why more and more consumers are doing all of their research online, then buying online and even getting quotes for installation online.
All can be done through this website, we’re here to make the process easy.