The cost to replace your hot water heater is different than the cost of installation alone.
It doesn’t necessarily need to be higher though, because you may save money on meeting codes or venting if this was taken care of with the first heater.
The cost to replace your hot water heater will vary according to several factors:
- Are you replacing like with like?
In other words, are you simply buying another 50-gallon gas hot water heater to replace your old 50-gallon gas model?
Or, are you going electric after having a gas heater?
Are you going gas after having an electric heater?
Are you taking the bold move to go tankless?
All of these decisions will have a huge impact on the installation cost for your new model. The work site and its condition will either keep the installer’s job short or elongate it up to a day and a half.
- What type of materials will you need if you are replacing yourself?
If you feel qualified to install your new hot water heater, will you need to buy a blow torch for the job? Will you need several feet of new piping, thimbles for new holes, etc.? How much is the permit to do this job in your area? You must calculate all of these costs into your self-installation budget.
- Which type of heater are you buying, and what size?
A 20-gallon electric hot water heater will be fairly quick and easy to replace, and it will also be cheap as a unit. A tankless water heater, on the other hand, will be very expensive as a unit and quite costly to install. There are different prices for gas, electric and tankless water heaters as units, and the installation costs also vary for each of these types of heaters.
- Does your new heater need to be inspected?
In some localities, a third person must come into your residence and inspect your hot water heater for safety. This needs to be figured into your total cost as well, if there is a charge.
- If you are having a plumber replace the heater, is s/he a master plumber?
The more highly qualified the plumber is, the higher his/her work rates will be. If you are replacing with a gas heater, a master plumber is recommended. Master plumbers will be fully licensed and quite aware of the building codes in your area that need to be followed. They do cost more than the first guy that you find online, however.
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- Are removal costs included?
The cost charged to get your old water heater to the dump or recycling station is often included in an installation charge, but sometimes it is not. Be sure to finalize this cost before signing off on the project.
For those who have hot water heaters already in place, or want to know how to maximize energy efficiency once the new one is installed, consider these tips:
In summary, the cost to replace your hot water heater can stay reasonably low if you are in a fairly modern home and installing a new electric heater. If, however, you live in an older home and are installing a gas heater, you might need costly modifications to your home.
The third level of cost upward is for replacing your hot water heater with a tankless model. That replacement cost will be quite high, but these new models are said to last twice as long as tank models, and they are more energy efficient as well because they are not heating water when it is not being used.