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How Much Does Water Heater Replacement Cost?
A typical repair costs $500, but if the water heater is beyond repair and you need a new one, then expect to pay around $1,700 for the installation, with a full cost range of $1,300 to $5,500. Continue reading to learn the factors that impact the price.
Water Heater Repair Costs
According to technicians and inspectors at the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, the typical water heater has a ten-year lifespan. They go on to caution that lifespans depend on several factors: “These factors include correct installation, usage volume, construction quality, and maintenance.”
Since the national average for repair is less than half that of a new one, about $500, it pays to carefully troubleshoot the symptoms before replacement. The symptoms to look at depend on whether it is electric or gas.
Troubleshoot an Electric Heater
The first thing you should check is if the unit is plugged in and the circuit breaker or fuses are working. If the unit has power, take these steps:
- Turn the thermostat up. The default setting is 140 °F, but the recommended setting is 120 °F, so anywhere in there should be fine. Also, you can do a reset by turning it all the way down and then turning it back to 120-140 °F.
- Flush the tank to remove any sediment.
- Insulate the hot water pipe coming out of the heater.
Call a plumber if none of these avenues work. A plumber might suggest replacing the thermostat or heating element. The thermostat will cost about $120, and the heating element is about $200.
Troubleshoot a Gas Heater
Troubleshooting a gas heater is a little different from an electric one, though flushing the tank, turning up the temperature, and insulating the pipes are probable fixes for either. For gas heaters, take these additional steps:
- Check to make sure the gas is turned on and the pilot is lit.
- Clean the gas burner in a vinegar and hot water solution with a wire brush.
Remember that when working with a gas heater, it’s critical to shut off the gas before working with the pilot or other areas. If your water heater is leaking, shut off the water and call a plumber right away, as the water damage could increase the cost of the repair.
Once again, if these steps do not work, call a plumber. The plumber might suggest replacing the thermocouple, which is a device that detects if the pilot is lit. If it is not, this device will shut off the gas. A new thermocouple is about $400.
Plumbers charge between $50 to $250 per hour for labor. However, they might bundle it together and call it a service call, which is typically $300. If the cost of repair is more than $500, you might need to look at how old it is and consider if it’s worth repairing. Learn more about the costs of a plumbing service call.
Water Heater Replacement Costs
The most common in-home water heater is an electric tank-style heater, for about $970 to $1,300 installed for a 50-gallon unit. This technology has proven reliable and typically lasts 10-15 years. The better you maintain it, the longer it will last. For a family of three to four, it is the most suitable choice.
If you have access to natural gas and are looking for a larger heater, the average costs for a 75-gallon natural gas heater are $2,000 to $4,000 installed.
Gas or Electric
The cost of water heated by electricity is $100 to $300 per year more than gas, depending on the cost of electricity in your area. However, a gas heater can cost more up front, both to purchase and install.
A 50-gallon electric, tank-style water heater is about $500 to $1,800 for the tank only, while a gas heater is $700 to $4,000.
Tankless Water Heater
These units do not store hot water but rather heat it as needed, which saves energy. In fact, you could save up to one-fourth of your overall energy costs by installing tankless technology.
There are two general types – point of use and whole house. Point of use will heat the water to one source or one room – like a single bathroom.
The other type – whole house heaters – will supply hot water evenly to the whole home. Both units can be powered by either gas or electricity, and the average cost for a whole-house unit fully installed is $4,500 to $6,500.
Solar Water Heater
A solar water heater can be a stand-alone device that only heats water when there is sunlight or tied into a backup system. Solar water heaters are significantly more expensive to install due to the complexity of the system and can cost from $3,000 to $9,000 for the installation.
There are tax credits, however, that can go toward the cost of the installation, helping you save. If you’re interested in solar energy, check out our solar electric cost guide.
Cost of the Most Well-Known Brands
These are the most well-known water heater brands because they are affordable, reliable, and recommended by friends, relatives, and plumbers.
|Approximate Price Range
|$600 – $1,000
|$500 – $900
|$500 – $1,600
|$600 – $1,600
|$800 – $2,200
These are the average in-store prices for a 50-gallon tank before tax, installation parts, and labor.
Professional Plumbing Installation
A permit is usually required to replace a water heater, and they usually run $20 to $100 for this kind of work. Check with a plumber or the building inspector at City Hall before you begin.
A water heater is a significant investment, so before committing to a full replacement, we suggest getting several estimates from licensed plumbers for the project.
Check our other plumbing and HVAC resources before you start your project.
All pricing information on this page is based on average industry costs, and is subject to variance for project-specific materials, labor rates, and requirements.