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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Plumbing & Waterproofing > Electric Water Heater

Electric Water Heater Cost


How Much Does Electric Water Heater Cost?

 
average costConventional Tank: $400-$3,000+, Installedhigh costTankless: $1,800-$4,500+, Installed
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There are two kinds of electric water heaters: those with a traditional storage tank and tankless models, which heat water as needed. Electric water heaters typically cost less initially than gas models, but are generally more expensive to operate

Typical costs:

  • Conventional-storage (tank style) electric water heaters typically sell for $250-$2,000 or more from home improvement stores, plumbing supply houses or online retailers.
  • CostHelper readers report paying $588-$1,389, with an average cost of $777, for complete installation of a 40- or 50-gallon conventional storage electric water heater.
  • With all needed parts and labor, having one installed can cost $400-$3,000 or more, depending on capacity (10-80 gallons, with 40 or 50 gallons the most common sizes); quality and length of warranty (typically 5-12 years); local labor rates; and the repairs needed to meet current building codes.
  • A central tankless water heater providing hot water for an entire house can cost $800-$3,000 or more (without installation), depending on gallons per minute capacity and the unit's energy-efficiency rating.
  • For example, the Rheem Tankless Electric RTE 27[1] , with a maximum 5.0 gpm and a 10-year warranty, costs about $625-$750. Installation of a tankless electric water heater typically requires a 220v/240V electrical outlet, and can cost $1,000-$3,000, bringing total costs to $1,800-$4,500 or more.
What should be included:
  • For a conventional storage-tank model, a one- to two-person household needs a 30-40 gallon water heater while a household of five or more needs 50-80 gallons. However, a tank that puts out more than the household uses hourly wastes money and energy heating extra water.
  • Tankless systems avoid that cost and take up less space, but more than one unit might be needed to shower and run a dishwasher at the same time. The U.S. Department of Energy explains how conventional storage[2] and tankless [3] water heaters work.
  • Check with the local planning department; a permit and inspection may be required. Replacement water heaters typically are required to meet current building codes, which may mean upgrading the existing water and gas lines, installing new valves and other parts, and the addition of an expansion tank[4] to minimize pressure build-up.
Additional costs:
  • Operating costs can be significantly higher with an electric water heater compared with a gas model. According to the California Consumer Energy Center, it typically costs three times as much[5] to heat the same amount of water with electricity as it does with gas. Exact operating costs of electric compared to gas will vary significantly depending on local utility rates.
  • Less expensive water heaters may cost the most to operate. The U.S. Department of Energy explains how to estimate and compare water heating costs[6] .
Discounts:
  • Do-it-yourself installation is possible, but can be challenging, and requires both plumbing and electrical skills and tools. Home Depot provides written instructions[7] and Lowe's posts a how-to video[8] for electric water heater installation.
Shopping for electric water heater:
  • EnergySavers.gov lists tips for selecting a new water heater[9] .
  • CIDNetwork.com lists tips for choosing a plumber[10] .
  • Get several estimates. Request and check references, and be sure the company is properly bonded, insured and licensed[11] . Search for any complaints with the Better Business Bureau[12] .
  • A written contract should include a detailed outline of the work required and materials to be used, and dates within which the project will be done.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.rheem.com/product/tankless-electric-water-heaters-tankless-electric-rte-27
  2.  energy.gov/energysaver/articles/storage-water-heaters
  3.  energy.gov/energysaver/articles/tankless-or-demand-type-water-heaters
  4.  www.nachi.org/water-heater-expansion-tanks.htm
  5.  www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/appliances/waterheaters.html
  6.  energy.gov/public-services/homes/water-heating
  7.  www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/ContentView?pn=how_to_install_electric_water_h...
  8.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl7ea59dFdQ
  9.  energy.gov/energysaver/articles/selecting-new-water-heater
  10.  www.cidnetwork.net/finding-plumber.htm
  11.  www.contractors-license.org/
  12.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews
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