Tankless water heaters cost around 2-3 times more than traditional storage tanks. The average cost for a tankless water heater installation is $1,985, or between $1,470–$2,510. Get free instant estimates from plumbers near you.
Traditional hot water heaters are quickly becoming extinct as new tankless technology is paving the way. With a tankless water heater, consumers receive a quick and almost endless supply on hot water on demand. Do tankless water heaters save enough energy and money to make the investment?
Tankless water heaters cost around 2-3 times more than traditional storage tanks. The average cost for a tankless water heater installation is $1,985, or between $1,470–$2,510. If your home needs to be rewired, it can easily add $3,000 or more to the cost of installing a tankless water heater.
In addition to not heating water unnecessarily while you are not home, tankless water heaters are 24%-34% more energy efficient and don’t lose any heat, which traditional tank water heaters do. That reflects savings close to the cost of the system over the course of 10 years of use.
The two main cost factors for installation is the plumber's labor, as well as the heating equipment chosen. When hiring a plumber, you can expect to pay $50 to $125 per hour. For a simple install with no need to run additional gas lines to a new hookup, an install will take an average of around 3–4 hours for a total installation cost of $150–$600
You will also need to include the costs of parts and materials necessary for installation. Accessories include a gas connector kit, a vent kit, 2-peice brass valve set, along with fittings and mounting hardware. Typically, you will spend $50-$100 for a vent kit, while piping and insulation will cost $10 per foot.
If you have a current water heater that needs to be removed, or if your home needs electrical or structural updates to hold the new unit, these will add on to your final cost. If there is currently no gas hookup at the house, and one has to be put in to facilitate the new tankless water heater, that will cost extra. The national average to run a new gas line to a house is around $500.
To make sure a building stays up to code for the safety of the inhabitants, all renovations, retrofits to the infrastructure, and structural improvements will have to get a permit to ensure compliance with federal and local building, construction, and zoning codes. Expect to pay somewhere in the region of $200 to $500 for the permits.
Tankless water heaters or “on-demand water heaters,” as they are also known, are either gas powered or electric and are either sold as a single point unit or an entire house water heater. Understanding what type you need is the first step.
For some homeowners with a tank water heater/boiler already installed, it is far more efficient to install a few tankless water heaters in bathrooms as the family grows in size and the demand for simultaneous hot water increases.
Gas-powered heaters typically cost more than their electric counterparts; however, the gas heater will cost about a third less to operate—depending on how much gas the pilot light consumes in your model. An intermittent ignition device rather than a pilot light can cut costs on this gas usage.
Traditional storage water tank heaters, also known as "boilers" are the most common water heaters installed for the last 120 years or so and are used for central heating and can also heat the water for your home using steam. The cost of water heaters range from $2,500 to $6,000 because more labor will be involved. The hot water heater is one of the most efficient options for your home. However, these units are drastically more expensive than tankless models and take up more space.
Your GPM will determine your need for an entry level, single-point tankless heater, a whole house heater, or a combination of both. For a single-point tankless water heater suitable for a faucet in a laundry room or a shower, prices start at about $150, depending on the brand. You could go all the way up to almost $5,000 for a whole house gas-powered tankless water heater.
On average, natural gas and propane models have an installation cost of around $1,000-$1,500. While these units will fuel your system in a similar way, the main differences occur in operating cost.
Tankless gas models are available in a wide range of styles and size and produce output from 140,000 BTUs to 380,000 BTUs.
Less expensive than gas, electric models cost an average of $800 to $1,600 to install. With no need to vent, the installation work is not as complicated. Electric models run consistently, produce high energy ratings, and are easier to maintain than gas. Tankless electric units emits zero greenhouse gasses and are 20%-30% more efficient than ones with a tank. However, you may need to hire an electrician at $50-$100 per hour to rewire your home because they require much more energy than gas units.
Hooking your tankless heater up to a solar system yields the best energy savings and reduces water heating expenses by 50%-80%. It's the most environmental-friendly setup and the government offers a 30% tax credit on the cost of installation for solar-powered water heating systems. However, solar heating systems come with a large up-front cost ranging from $2,500 to $6,000, before counting the average savings of $1,200 from the tax credit.
There is a number of manufacturers in the tankless water heater market, and below is a list of some of the known brand names and their prices. Keep in mind that the capacity, wattage, and output of the water heaters vary dramatically, hence the flux in prices.
|Gas Tankless Brands||Average Prices|
|Gas Tankless Brands||Average Prices|
Traditional tank water heaters are sold clearly marked with their capacity in gallons on a label on the tank. Tankless water heaters are different in their ratings system—they are sold according to the demand they can meet, the flow rate, and are measured in gallons per minute (GPM).
The average GPM capacity of most residential tankless water heaters is between 2–5 gallons per minute, with many gas-powered units producing a higher flow than electric units. Following is a list of average household water demands in respect to their gallons per minute usage in the typical household.
Calculate the maximum simultaneous demand for hot water in the house and you’ll know which system(s) should be installed and where it should be located. Because of the demands of larger households, it might make sense to install one or more additional tankless units.
The difference between the temperature of the water from the local supply coming into the home and the temperature of the water that the water heater produces is called rise.
A house in a warmer climate will require a tankless system with a lower gallons-per-minute rating than a house in a more northern state: In those colder states with a more drastic rise from the temperature of the incoming water to the desired temperature, the tankless water heater is not able to produce as many GPM.
For example, for a home running a shower, dishwasher, and sink on water at 120 degrees at the same time in North Dakota’s winter will require 195,000 BTUs, while a home in Texas with the same appliances running and water demand will only require 100,000 BTUs.
Most gas tankless water heaters fall between 95,000–195,000 BTUs.
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The benefits of a tankless water heater system far outweigh those of a stored-water tank heater. The following is a list of the aspects you can look forward to:
Tax credits for Energy Star-compliant tankless water heaters expired in 2016 but were recently renewed for gas-powered, whole home tankless water heaters. According to the US Department of Energy’s website Energy Star, “ Tax credits for all residential renewable energy products have been extended through December 31, 2021, and feature a gradual step down in the credit value.”
Also, the government offers a 30% tax credit on the cost of installation for solar-powered water heating systems. You can read more about this cost reduction credit via Energy Star's website.
Some state energy providers offer rebates. These rebates are different for electric and gas tankless systems, and can be as much as three times the value of available rebates for traditional water heaters, ranging from $100–$650 for the more expensive whole home water heaters. Whenever you are ready to move forward with your tankless water heater project, your plumber or licensed installation professional should be well versed in the current status of rebates available and add that information to his recommendations. Check Energy Star to see examples from across the US.
To prevent serious health issues from interior air contamination, gas-powered tankless water heaters require special venting to remove the hot carbon monoxide exhaust fumes and expel them to the outside air.
The power vent systems only need an exhaust vent, and the unit has to be installed in a location that provides the right amount of air needed for combustion to take place. A power vent tankless water heater will function best when it is installed in an area with adequate airflow around it for combustion to take place. One major benefit from a powered vent system is that it will eliminate the possibility of backdrafting—toxic fumes coming back down the pipes and releasing them into the house.
The direct vent system draws in air from outside and instead of just one vent, it has a second one for intake in addition to the exhaust vent. One of the upsides to the direct vent system is that because of the second vent, these systems can be installed in tighter spaces. Typically, the systems are set up to vent through the roof or exterior walls, using fans to assist in the process.
Choosing a lower cost installer for the work of putting in your tankless water heater could end up costing you more because of a higher potential for substandard installation work—resulting in unnecessary expensive repairs in the future.
When looking for a contractor for your tankless water heater installation, create a top list of 3 to 5 companies which you can make your final selection from. To get the best companies onto that shortlist to request bids from, look for installers who have as many of the following as possible:
The more experienced the contractors, and the more highly rated they are, the higher the bid will likely be, but if they meet the recommendations above, the extra price could be worth it.
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In this system the heater heats up the water in the tank and then feeds it through the house through a hot water line. Tankless water heater systems are usually installed really close to the location where the water is needed—sometimes on the wall near the faucet or by the shower—and they use a gas burner or electric heating coils to heat the water as it passes through, enabling them to deliver constant, instantly hot water for hours. Compare this to a setup in a home with a small water heater where, potentially, the second or third person wanting to take a shower might have to wait for 20–30 minutes for the water heater to heat enough water.
BTUs are the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit
Tankless water heaters are a higher initial cost, but they will cost less to operate because they only need to heat water as it is needed and use less energy. The Department of Energy computes average annual operating costs of $388 for a storage-tank heater, and $272 for a tankless heater. That's $116 in savings. That reflects savings close to the cost of the system over the course of 10 years of use.
Granted no other work needs to be done, the average cost to install a tankless water heater is $150 to $600, and currently these costs can be offset to a small degree by a tax credit.
For most residential water heaters, the maximum temperature most homeowners will set their heaters to is 120 degrees, because beyond that can cause scalding.
For a simple install with no need to run additional gas lines to a new hookup, an install will take an average of around 3–4 hours.
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