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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Plumbing & Waterproofing > Replacing a Water Heater

Replacing a Water Heater Cost


How Much Does Replacing a Water Heater Cost?

 
average costTraditional Water Heater: $300-$3,500+, Installedhigh costSolar Water Heater: $1,000-$5,000+; Tankless Water Heater: $1,800-$5,000+, Installed
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There are two basic types of water heaters: the traditional kind with a storage tank and tankless water heaters, which heat water as needed.

Typical costs:

  • With all needed parts and labor, hiring a plumber to install a traditional gas water heater costs $300-$3,500 or more, depending on capacity (with 40 or 50 gallons the most common sizes); length of warranty (typically 5-12 years); and the amount of repairs required to meet current building codes. CostHelper readers report paying an average cost of $948 for a 40 gallon unit (ranging $360-$2,800); an average cost of $1,211 for a 50 gallon unit; and an average cost of $1,937 for a 75 gallon unit (ranging $1,300-$3,588).
  • A tank-style gas water heater can also be purchased at a home improvement store, plumbing supply house or online retailer for $230-$2,000 or more, with installation done separately. Installation costs vary significantly depending on who does the work; the condition of the water heater hook-ups, and if any adaptations are needed to install a new, larger unit in the space. If extensive work is required, installation can cost as much as or more than the water heater. CostHelper readers report paying $70 -$1,706 for installation, for an average expense of $630.
  • An electric water heater can cost $400-$3,000 or more for complete installation of a conventional storage-tank model and $1,800-$4,500 or more for a tankless model (including a 220V/240V outlet). Electric water heaters typically cost less than gas units but are more expensive to operate.
  • Solar water heaters cost $1,000-$5,000 or more, with installation usually included in the purchase price.
  • A central, whole-house, gas tankless water heater can cost $800-$3,000 or more, without installation. Because tankless systems typically require the addition of a 220V/240V outlet and/or larger-diameter gas pipes than found in an average home, installation can bring the total cost to $1,800-$5,000 or more.
Related articles: Re-Piping a House, Replacing Copper Pipes, Replacing Galvanized Pipes, Tankless Water Heater, Plumber, Flooded Basement

What should be included:
  • Generally, 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 describes the different types of water heaters[1] .
  • Replacing an old water heater with a similar but updated model is relatively straightforward, but new and more-energy efficient units are often larger, and might not fit the existing space or hook-ups.
  • 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[2] to minimize pressure build-up.
Additional costs:
  • Less expensive units may cost the most to operate. The U.S. Department of Energy explains how to estimate and compare water heating costs[3] .
Discounts:
  • Do-it-yourself installation is possible, but can be challenging. This Old House explains how to replace a water heater[4] , calling it a moderate-to-difficult project that takes 2-4 hours and requiring basic plumbing skills plus the strength to wrestle out the old unit and carry in the new one. CostHelper readers report paying $385-$750 for do-it-yourself installation of new water heater, at an average cost of $574, while a New Jersey reader reports paying $2,500 a plumber (triple the normal rate) to fix the botched do-it-yourself installation of a 40-gallon water heater.
Shopping for replacing a water heater:
  • EnergySavers.gov lists tips for selecting a new water heater[5] .
  • CIDNetwork.com lists tips for choosing a plumber[6] .
  • Get several estimates. Request and check references, and be sure the company is properly bonded, insured and licensed[7] . Search for any complaints with the>AA www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/>Better Business Bureau.
  • 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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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments

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75 gallon gas water heater with expansion tank
Amount: $3,000.00
Posted by: AVF in Parker, CO.Posted: February 14th, 2018 03:02PM
Installer: Professional
Water heater was leaking. Over 10 years old. Needed it replaced right away. Big home need high efficiency.
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Ripped off
Amount: $2,800.00
Posted by: stupid me in Millburn, NJ.Posted: November 30th, 2017 04:11PM
Capacity: 50 Nat-gasBrand: American Water
Installer: Pro plumber
Replaced water heater today, 50 gal Nat-gas. Added expansion tank, extended warranty from 6-yr to 10-yr. All in cost incldg permit etc. Checking this board and realized that I didn't do my research. I just went blank and took the plumbers words at face value.
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Paid way too much
Amount: $2,800.00
Posted by: Single mom in Summit, NJ.Posted: November 30th, 2017 03:11PM
Installer: Pro plumber
Replaced a 50-gallon gas water heater in basement, tight space. Included an expansion tank. All in cost 2800 including to extend warranty from 6- yr to 10-yr. now I’m beating myself for not doing my research and not asking around. Clearly I got ripped off.
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hot water heater
Amount: $825.00
Posted by: Loretta Franklin in Springhill, FL.Posted: November 14th, 2017 03:11PM
Capacity: 40 galBrand:
Installer: Third Geheration
With home owners insurance
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Replaced oil fired water heater with indirect water heater connected to boiler
Amount: $2,960.00
Posted by: jimCT in Simsbury, CT.Posted: October 2nd, 2017 04:10AM
Capacity: 40Brand: Utica
Installer: Beacon Mechanical
Our 32 gallon oil fired water heater began leaking after 20 years. Quotes for replacing it exceeded 2700. I got quotes to replace with an indirect . The price was similar and this would eliminate one oil burner to maintain. Beacon Mechanical was prompt and did excellent work for the quoted price.
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Replacement 50 gallon gas unit
Amount: $755.00
Posted by: thought about DIY but reconsidered in Bloomington, IL.Posted: July 21st, 2017 12:07AM
Capacity: 50Brand: Richmond
Installer: Redbird plumbing
Paid $387 including an 11% rebate merchandise credit check good on next purchase for 50 gallon Richmond-Reem Essential 6 year gas water heater at Menards (regular price $460, on sale for $430 plus tax)(150lbs). Loaded it into my SUV and we left it boxed in the garage for the plumbers to install. Replaced a 10 year old 75 gallon Richmond gas 6 year warranteed water heater (300lb behemoth) leaking from the top due to corrosion from its exhaust gases (not the fault of the unit - at sometime previously the 4" diameter metal exhaust pipe which vents to the roof had become clogged somehow, and was now functioning well as explained by Brad the plumber. Install price was $285 plus $50 in parts which included 2 dielectric unions and a new shutoff valve for the water supply running into the tank. Took 2 hours to install, I partially drained the tank before they arrived. They are leaving the old tank in the basement to drain for at least another day to avoid carpet rust stains.
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Easy to Get Ripped Off
Amount: $1,400.00
Posted by: Brian Slecter in Elkridge, MD.Posted: July 11th, 2017 08:07PM
Capacity: 75Brand: Bradford & White
Installer: Local Plumber
Quotes were from $1550 to $2200 which is ridiculous for a heater that costs $840 Wholesale. Included install of expansion tank (none present) and adding ball style shutoff valves and metal flex hoses. I offered the $1550 guy $1400 in CASH if he would do that day which means he made about $500 in 3 hours but the location was tight and the heater was heavy (275lbs) otherwise I would have installed myself. Some plumbing supply houses will deliver a large heater and remove the old one for a small fee (in my area it was only $20!)
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Replace water heater
Amount: $626.00
Posted by: Christy Haupt in Nipomo, CA.Posted: April 27th, 2017 03:04PM
Capacity: 40Brand: Rheem
Installer: DJ's plumbing
To replace 12yr old Bradford 40 gallon with a Rheem 40gallon from Ace cost $449 plus $32 tax and then $177 install by plumber. I really appreciated reading all your stories prior to buying as it gave me a heads up on what to expect and lookout for. The average cost for my area being $115 install from this site, I kinda felt I got a padded bill especially since he didn't use any extra parts to install. But what can you do?
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Water Heater Replacement - Nat Gas
Amount: $1,400.00
Posted by: Tommy R. in Alpine, CA.Posted: February 3rd, 2017 01:02PM
Capacity: 40 GallonBrand: State Water Heaters
Installer: Pride Plumbing
1-yr ago we purchased a 24-yr old home. Existing 40-gallon Rheem water heater installed in 1996 [20 years!] began malfunctioning a couple of weeks ago. Due to interior natural sediment buildup issues per plumber [Hot Water just suddenly stopped flowing out 2 days ago]. After estimate response, pro-plumbers replaced next day with new 40-gal "State Water Heater". They also had to bring it all up to applicable California Code after new Hot H2O Heater codes enacted during prior 20-yrs since last H2O heater install. Disassembly/Removal old H2O heater, Replaced H2O heater, Replace old hot/cold Flex-Lines with new copper Flex-Lines, Add new in-line cold side H2O shut-off Ball-Valve, Add new attachment of "Expansion Tank" with copper piping, Add new "Smitty Pan" and PVC drain to House Exterior, Replace H2O Heater Vent-to-Roof attachment, Add new Nat Gas Line "T"-trap [sediment], Replace old Earthquake Stability Straps. With all that came the sizing, cutting, soldering, new copper pipe, etc.
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Hot Water Heater Estimates
Amount: $2,200.00
Posted by: Lisa Wilson in Stone Mountain, GA.Posted: April 22nd, 2016 06:04AM
Capacity: 40 GalBrand:
Getting estimates is a nightmare. I called in Plumb Pros for an estimate and to replace my existing hot water heater,which completely went out. Thank goodness its in the garage only had to put towels down on the wet cement. They quoted me 2,200 because the old heater wasn't up to code. The heater itself would be 1,400. Is this a rip-off?
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Replace Water Heater
Amount: $2,300.00
Posted by: a user in Denver, CO.Posted: April 2nd, 2016 11:04PM
Capacity: 40 gallonBrand:
Installer: Applewood Plumbing Heating Electrical
Had old leaking water heater replaced with Bradford White, new ducting, new gas pipes, and expansion tank. Permits and warrenty included, and now recent and up to code. Took 3 hours.
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DIY water heater replacement
Amount: $680.00
Posted by: JimTh in Layton, UT.Posted: March 24th, 2016 11:03PM
Installer: Self
12 yr old Bradford White WH died
Bought new Rheem performance plus 50 gal plus all new fittings/ball valve at Home Depot
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Water Heater Feb 2016
Amount: $800.00
Posted by: Jetspitt in Warren, NJ.Posted: March 3rd, 2016 05:03AM
Capacity: 50Brand: Rheem
Installer: Myself
Viewed some Youtube videos before install. Used Shark fittings instead of solder. Purchased 12 year Rheem Platinum 50g water heater from HD which cost 726 and Shark fittings, overflow pan, and new 24" gas conection cost around 75. Water heater was brought down to basement the previous day. It took about 1/2 hour to drain old unit and 2.5 to install, inspect, and clean up area. Not that difficult, used Plumber Dope on gas line to seal and on the water connections used teflon and Plumber Dope on top of it.
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Replacement Water heater
Amount: $750.00
Posted by: ZDawg in Simi Valley, CA.Posted: February 23rd, 2016 05:02PM
Capacity: 50galBrand: Whirlpool
Installer: Self
Bought from Lowes, heater, drip pan & new copper hoses. February 22, 2016 form wouldn't allow 2016.
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valve replacement?
Amount: $520.00
Posted by: David Davis in new york, NY.Posted: January 25th, 2016 09:01PM
Capacity: Brand: Rheem
It is interesting to me that you suggest replacing the valve even if there is the smallest leak. This type of thing might seem unnecessary, but I totally agree that you need to take action before you have a problem. Winter is pretty hard on water heaters, so you need to be very certain that yours is prepared. Thank you for the helpful information and the applicable maintenance instructions!
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Water Heater Maintenance
Amount: $20.00
Posted by: Goldbug in Dawsonville, GA.Posted: January 25th, 2016 05:01AM
Capacity: 50 gals.Brand: State
Installer: myself
You'll double the life of a water heater if you replace the anode rod every 6-8 years! It's a sacrificial rod that will prevent the tank from being destroyed by electrolisis. Most people never heard of a anode rod and suppliers won't tell you because they want to sell water heaters. The rod cost about $20.00 and only takes about 15 minutes to install! And lastly, remember to drain your tank at least once a year! For an electric tank, turn off power, drain, then refill and turn your power back on! Make sure the tank is filled before you turn the power back on or you'll burn out the heating elements.
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install water heater
Amount: $1,579.00
Posted by: Dutchman in Orange, CA.Posted: January 23rd, 2016 08:01PM
Capacity: 40 gallonsBrand: Bradford White
Installer: Affordable water heaters
After looking online on " yelp " I realized that affordable water heaters, is any but. The installation, included all new plumbing, but the water heater was probably about $700. I paid close to $900 for additional parts and installation. Do not use this company. Check yelp comments before using them. The far majority of the comments are one stars out of 5.
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Replacing water heater
Amount: $700.00
Posted by: Brad E. in Jenison, MI.Posted: January 16th, 2016 11:01AM
Capacity: 40 galBrand: Bradford White
Installer: RJ Walters H&C
My less than 5 year old BW failed, leaking out of the bottom. Ron came out on a Saturday morning and installed the new unit in about an hour. Now he's taking the faulty unit to the distributor for inspection, and if it comes back under warranty, he'll reimburse me $400. Highly recommend the company.
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Electric Water Heater Remove/Replace
Amount: $1,365.00
Posted by: Les Clark in Washington, DC.Posted: January 13th, 2016 01:01PM
Capacity: 40 GallonBrand: AO Smith
Installer: Jiffy
For Center City DC Resident, fast, friendly, speedy service, as "Billy" showed up at 9AM and was 100% done, cleaned up and gone in under 4 hours and that included the trip to buy the AO Smith Water Heater as he checked and offered to repair the 9+ year old water heater for about $650.00. So was my choice to toss good $ after bad and perhaps purchase a new one in the coming months anyway. (bought Jan. 2016)
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Water Heater Replacement
Amount: $837.21
Posted by: John Kelly in San Diego, CA.Posted: November 23rd, 2015 11:11AM
Capacity: 50 GallonBrand: AO Smith
Installer: HD SUpply
I was happy with the price and the next day delivery. I didn't wait for mine to go out but it was really old and well past any warranty. After shopping around, not many installers could beat their price.
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DIY Installation
Amount: $500.00
Posted by: Montelatici in Upper Marlboro, MD.Posted: October 5th, 2015 04:10PM
Capacity: 40 gallonBrand: Rheem Performance
Bought a Rheem Performance 40 gallon short which is normally priced at $499 but was on sale at Lowes for $327. I bought a pan, Shark connectors and the WIFI option module so the total spent was about $500. This is a top of the line Rheem which is equal or better than the water heaters that plumbers supply. It weighs more than an A.O Smith equivalent, for example. It also has two 5,500 watt elements instead of the usual 4,500 watt elements so it recovers quicker and performs more like a 50 gallon without having to keep 50 gallons hot.
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Hot Water heater
Amount: $1,599.00
Posted by: Huang in Boise, ID.Posted: October 3rd, 2015 06:10PM
Capacity: 50Brand:
Installer: A1
Bradford and white Defender series
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Bradford White 50 gal gas water heater
Amount: $1,004.00
Posted by: Handymam in Hammond, IN.Posted: September 30th, 2015 02:09PM
Capacity: 50 galBrand: Bradford White
Installer: Whiting Plumbing
Our 16 year old Bradford White water heater started leaking last night. I read these comments so I was prepared when I called my plumber this morning. He quoted me 875 for a 40 gal or 950 for a 50 gal. I went with 50 gal since we have a jetted tub now. Work was done within 3 hours and hope to get at least another 16 years from this new water heater.
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Gas Water Heater
Amount: $1,875.00
Posted by: GaryIF in Bethesda, MD.Posted: September 27th, 2015 06:09PM
Capacity: 75 gallonBrand: Ruud Pro+G75
Installer: Leahy Plumbing
Straightforward replacement of a nearly 20 year-old unit. Did so as preventative maintenance, figuring the old one more than lived out its typical life and it was easier (and cheaper) doing it when convenient than amid a crisis (e.g., leaking tank).
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External Resources:
  1.  energy.gov/energysaver/articles/selecting-new-water-heater
  2.  www.nachi.org/water-heater-expansion-tanks.htm
  3.  energy.gov/public-services/homes/water-heating
  4.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20053957,00.html
  5.  energy.gov/energysaver/articles/selecting-new-water-heater
  6.  www.cidnetwork.net/finding-plumber.htm
  7.  www.contractors-license.org/
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