Ashburn, VA

How much does water heater installation or replacement cost?

$600 – $1,800 Average standard tank replacement
$800 – $3,500 Average tankless installation

Water heater installation costs $600 to $1,800 on average. Tankless water heaters cost $800 to $3,500 to install on average. A new hot water heater costs $300 to $2,000 for the unit alone. Labor costs to install a standard replacement water heater are $200 to $1,000 or $300 to $2,500 for a tankless.

Get free estimates from water heater installers near you or view our cost guide below.

Reviewed and approved on June 15, 2021, by Tom Grupa and 11 expert water heater installers on HomeGuide.

Water heater installation cost

Water heater replacement costs $600 to $1,800 for a tank or $800 to $3,500 for a tankless. A new 40- to 50-gallon hot water heater costs $330 to $2,000 for the unit alone, plus the plumber labor cost to install is $200 to $1,000. Gas water heaters cost $100 to $700 more than electric to install.

Water heater installation cost - chart
Water heater installation cost - chart

Water heater installation cost
Type Average cost
Standard tank $600 – $1,800
Tankless $800 – $3,500
Solar $1,500 – $6,600
Hybrid heat pump $1,500 – $4,400
Indirect $1,200 – $4,300

*Price ranges include materials and labor. Solar prices include federal tax credit and rebates.

  • Tank units take 2 to 6 hours to install on average.
  • Most tank units last 8 to 15 years on average.
  • Most homes need a 40- to 50-gallon tank or a tankless system.
  • Annual operating costs are $225 to $580 for tank units and $150 to $535 for tankless systems.

Average cost to replace a water heater

The following table shows the average cost to replace a standard tank water heater.

Average cost to replace a water heater - chart
Average cost to replace a water heater - chart

Average water heater replacement cost
National average cost $1,200
Minimum cost $350
Maximum cost $5,000
Average range $600 to $1,800

*Based on 1,762 project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

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New hot water heater costs by type

A new hot water heater installation costs between $500 and $4,600 total, depending on the system type, size, labor, and fuel source.

New water heater cost by type
Type Unit cost Labor cost Total cost installed
Standard tank (gas) $400 – $1,800 $200 – $1,000 $600 – $2,800
Standard tank (electric) $300 – $1,100 $200 – $1,000 $500 – $2,100
Tankless (gas) $400 – $2,100 $300 – $2,500 $700 – $4,600
Tankless (electric) $300 – $1,000 $300 – $1,500 $600 – $2,500
Solar $1,000 – $6,000 $2,000 – $3,000 $3,000 – $9,000
Hybrid heat pump $1,200 – $2,800 $300 – $1,600 $1,500 – $4,400
Indirect $900 – $2,800 $300 – $1,500 $1,200 – $4,300

*Prices not including tax credits or rebates.

Hot water tank cost vs. tankless

  • A hot water tank replacement costs $600 to $1,800 on average. Storage tank water heaters are the most common and keep 30 to 80 gallons of water heated to a preset temperature. Most systems take 40 minutes to 2 hours to reheat a full tank.
  • Tankless water heater installation costs $800 to $3,500 total on average. Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient, last longer, and provide an unlimited supply of hot water on-demand.
Hot water tank cost vs. tankless
Factor Tank Tankless
Average unit price $400 – $1,000 $500 – $1,500
Average cost installed $600 – $1,800 $800 – $3,500
Lifespan 8 – 15 years 10 – 20 years
Installation time 2 – 6 hours 3 – 10 hours
Annual operating cost
  • $225 – $350 (gas)
  • $440 – $580 (electric)
  • $150 – $260 (gas)
  • $300 – $535 (electric)
Energy sources
  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Propane
  • Oil-fired
  • Indirect
  • Hybrid
  • Solar
  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Propane
Pros
  • Cheaper
  • Easier to install
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Lower repair costs
  • Operates during power loss (gas systems only)
  • Energy-efficient
  • Unlimited hot water supply
  • Longer lifespan and warranty
  • Compact and space-saving
Cons
  • Less energy-efficient
  • Shorter lifespan
  • Runs out of hot water when the tank empties
  • Takes up more space
  • More expensive
  • Limited flow rates
  • Special venting requirements
  • Requires a larger diameter gas pipe

Plumber installing new tankless water heater
Plumber installing new tankless water heater

Gas water heater cost vs. electric

Gas water heater installation costs $600 to $2,800 total for a standard tank or $700 to $4,600 for a tankless. Gas water heaters cost $100 to $700 more than electric up front, but cost $220 less per year to operate.

Electric water heater installation costs $500 to $2,100 total for a standard tank or $600 to $2,500 for a tankless. Electric water heaters are cheaper to replace than gas and last 2 to 3 years longer.

Gas water heater cost vs. electric - chart
Gas water heater cost vs. electric - chart

Gas vs. electric water heater cost
Factors Gas Electric
Unit price $400 – $1,800 $300 – $1,100
Total cost installed $600 – $2,800 $500 – $2,100
Annual operating cost $225 – $350 $440 – $580
Recovery rate 40 – 60 minutes 1 – 2 hours
Lifespan 8 –­ 12 years 10 – 15 years
Works during a power outage Yes* No

*Excluding power vent units.
**Prices and factors are for a standard tank replacement.

New gas hot water heater installed in basement
New gas hot water heater installed in basement

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Direct vent vs. power vent water heater cost

Power vent water heaters cost $350 to $500 more than standard atmospheric vent or direct vent units. All tank and tankless gas water heaters need to vent harmful exhaust using one of three vent types:

  • Atmospheric vent – draws indoor air from around the water heater and vents through a vertical or upward-sloping duct. Atmospheric vents may be connected to an existing duct or chimney.
  • Direct vent – draws air through a duct that runs through an exterior wall and vents exhaust through a separate duct or a separate chamber within the same duct. Direct vent systems may be installed in small, enclosed spaces.
  • Power vent – draws indoor air from around the water heater and uses an electric blower to vent exhaust through a vertical or horizontal duct.

Propane water heater installation cost

Propane water heater installation costs $700 to $3,000 for a tank unit or $700 to $4,600 for a tankless unit. Propane water heaters connect to an on-site fuel tank. Installing a propane tank costs $1,200 to $2,400 for a 500-gallon tank.

Oil-fired water heater replacement cost

Replacing an oil-fired water heater costs $2,050 to $4,350 total or $1,700 to $2,500 for the unit alone. Oil-fired systems heat water up to four times faster than other tank units but require more frequent cleaning and maintenance. Oil-fired water heaters are more common in commercial applications.

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Average cost to install a high-efficiency water heater

High-efficiency water heaters cost $1,200 to $4,400 on average for the unit and installation. High-efficiency systems use less fuel to operate, create hot water quickly, and minimize heat loss, making them up to 300% more energy-efficient than standard tank water heaters.

High-efficiency water heater cost - chart
High-efficiency water heater cost - chart

High-efficiency water heater cost
Type Total cost installed
Solar $1,500 – $6,600
Hybrid heat pump $1,500 – $4,400
Indirect $1,200 – $4,300

*Solar prices include federal tax credit and rebates.

Look for the blue ENERGY STAR logo tag indicating the water heater is high efficiency.

Hybrid heat pump water heater

Hybrid heat pump water heater installation costs $1,500 to $4,400 for labor and materials or $1,200 to $2,800 for the unit alone. Hybrid systems pull heat from the surrounding air and pump it into the storage tank, making them up to three times more efficient than electric tank water heaters.

  • Works best in warm climates when installed in a hot garage or attic.
  • Taller than standard electric tanks and require 12' x 12' of open air space to operate efficiently.
  • Eligible for a federal tax credit of $300 and possibly additional rebates.

Indirect hot water heater installation cost

Indirect water heater installation costs $1,200 to $4,300 total, or $900 to $2,800 for the unit alone. An indirect water heater reduces energy costs by using the home's boiler as a heat source to circulate fluid through a heat exchanger in the storage tank.

Solar water heater

A solar water heater costs $3,000 to $9,000 installed or $1,500 to $6,600 after applying tax credits and rebates. Solar thermal systems use the sun for water heating, reducing energy costs by 50% to 80%. Solar water heaters can operate as hybrid water heating systems, working with electric or gas heaters.

Rooftop solar water heater installed on residential home
Rooftop solar water heater installed on residential home

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Hot water heater prices

Hot water heater prices are $300 to $1,800 on average for a tank unit and $300 to $2,100 for a tankless unit, without installation. Water heater prices depend on size, type, brand, and fuel source.

Water heater costs by gallon

A standard 40-gallon water heater costs $330 to $1,500 for the unit alone, or $500 to $2,500 including installation labor.

Water heater prices by gallon - chart
Water heater prices by gallon - chart

Water heater prices by gallon
Tank size (gallons) Price range
30 $300 – $900
40 $330 – $1,500
50 $400 – $2,050
75 $850 – $2,500
80 $900 – $2,600

*Price for tank unit only, not including installation.

Hot water heater prices by brand

The best water heater brands such as Rheem, Bradford White, and AO Smith cost $400 to $1,600 on average for a tank unit and have a 6, 9, or 12-year warranty.

Hot water tank cost by brand
Brand Warranty length (years) Price range
American Standard 6 or 12 $360 – $1,020
AO Smith 6, 9, or 12 $300 – $2,100
Bradford White 6 $450 – $2,600
Reliance 6, 9, 10, or 12 $300 – $1,600
Rheem 6, 8, or 9 $330 – $1,450
State 6, 8, or 10 $470 – $2,550

*Prices for tank unit only. Warranty length depends on the model purchased.

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Labor cost to install a water heater

Labor costs to install a standard replacement water heater are $200 to $1,000 on average. Most plumbers quote a flat rate for materials and labor, but some charge by the hour. Hiring a plumber costs $45 to $150 per hour, with most installs taking 2 to 6 hours.

Labor cost to install a water heater - chart
Labor cost to install a water heater - chart

Labor cost to replace a water heater
Service Average labor cost
Local plumber $200 – $1,000
Home Depot / Lowe's $400 – $1,100

*Prices for a standard tank water heater.

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  • Attic, closet, or exterior installation adds $75 to $150 to the labor cost.
  • Plumbers charge $75 to $500 more to bring old plumbing up to code.
  • Hiring an electrician costs $40 to $100 per hour to run new wiring or install an electrical circuit.

New water heater installation of 50-gallon tank
New water heater installation of 50-gallon tank

Home Depot water heater installation cost

Home Depot charges $750 to $2,000 to install tank water heaters and $1,200 to $5,000 to install tankless water heaters. This cost includes the water heater, labor by a licensed plumber, permits, and old water heater removal.

Lowe’s water heater installation cost

Lowe's water heater installation costs $800 to $2,100. This cost includes a tank water heater, labor by a licensed plumber, permits, old tank removal, and an on-site plumbing assessment. Lowe's charges $200 more to upgrade old pipes to new code-compliant PVC pipes.

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Water heater replacement cost factors

Water heater replacement costs $530 to $2,800 for a tank water heater or $650 to $4,600 for a tankless water heater, including the unit plus labor costs. Prices depend on the water heater's size, fuel source, and any plumbing, electrical, or carpentry modifications required.

Water heater replacement costs
Factor Average cost
New hot water heater $330 – $1,800
Labor cost to install $200 – $1,000
Permit $25 – $250
Extended warranty $40 – $70
Expansion tank $100 – $400
Old tank removal $70 – $500
Bring plumbing up to code $75 – $500
Moving tank $500 – $2,500
Carpentry work $150 – $325
Converting fuel source $200 – $2,000
Most ENERGY STAR certified water heaters are eligible for a federal tax credit of $300 and possibly additional rebates.

How much does a water heater permit cost?

A water heater permit costs $25 to $250 and is required by most cities. An inspector verifies the water heater was installed correctly and won't create a hazard. Most plumbers pull the permit and include permit fees in their estimate.

Water heater expansion tank cost

A water heater expansion tank costs $100 to $400, including installation. An expansion tank provides extra space to relieve the pressure inside the water heater and pipes. An expansion tank prevents damage and prolongs the life of the system.

  • Local regulations may require an expansion tank when upgrading a water heater.
  • Some manufacturers void the warranty if you have a closed plumbing system without an expansion tank.

Water heater removal cost

The cost to remove an old water heater is $70 to $500, depending on whether the tank needs draining and disconnecting. Most plumbers include old tank removal and disposal in their new water heater installation cost.

Cost to move a hot water heater

Moving a water heater costs $500 to $2,500, depending on the type, fuel source, and the distance moved. The cost to move a water heater includes disconnecting and moving the unit, moving water and gas lines, replacing the exhaust vent, and reconnecting the heater.

Additional expenses may include drywall repairs, installing new plumbing pipes, or running a new gas line.

Cost to convert from electric to gas water heater

Converting from an electric to gas water heater costs $355 to $2,000+, depending on if there's an existing gas supply line. The average cost to convert from a gas to electric water heater is $200 to $500+ for a new dedicated circuit and wiring.

Cost to convert water heater fuel source
Conversion type Average cost
Electric to gas $355 – $2,000+
Gas to electric $200 – $500+

Switching the fuel source also requires plumbing, venting, and electrical modifications due to different connections.

Cost of water heater accessories to save money

Follow these tips to save money on your water heating bill:

  • Insulate the tank and first few feet of water pipes connected to the water heater. Tank insulation blankets cost $20 to $50, and utility companies may provide rebates.
  • Install a timer that turns off an electric water heater when it's not in use. Water heater timers cost $40 to $140 for the timer alone or $100 to $350 with installation.
  • Lower the temperature on the water heater to 120°F. Every 10°F reduction saves 3% to 5% on water heating costs.
  • Get regular maintenance, including draining the sediment from the tank every 6 to 12 months.

Water heater replacement cost by location

The cost to change a water heater is higher in major cities with a higher cost of living. The following prices are for a standard tank unit plus labor.

Water heater replacement cost by location
City, State Average cost to install
Atlanta, GA $900 – $2,000
Austin, TX $900 – $2,000
Boston, MA $1,100 – $2,450
Chicago, IL $950 – $2,100
Cleveland, OH $850 – $1,850
Dallas, TX $850 – $1,900
Denver, CO $850 – $1,950
Detroit, MI $850 – $1,900
Houston, TX $1,000 – $2,250
Indianapolis, IN $850 – $1,850
Los Angeles, CA $870 – $1,950
Miami, FL $800 – $1,800
Minneapolis, MN $900 – $2,000
Nashville, TN $800 – $1,800
New York, NY $1,050 – $2,350
Philadelphia, PA $900 – $2,000
Phoenix, AZ $800 – $1,850
Pittsburgh, PA $850 – $1,900
Portland, OR $900 – $2,000
San Diego, CA $850 – $1,950
San Francisco, CA $1,000 – $2,250
Seattle, WA $900 – $2,000
Washington, DC $900 – $2,000
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What size water heater do I need?

The following table estimates the water heater size needed based on the number of people in the house:

Water heater size needed
People in house Tank size (gallons) Tankless flow rate (GPM)
1 – 2 23 – 30 4 – 8
2 – 3 36 – 40 6 – 9
3 – 4 40 – 60 7 – 10
5+ 50 – 80 9 – 11+
  • Tank: Consider the water heater's first hour rating (FHR) and recovery rate.
    • First hour rating is the number of gallons of hot water supplied per hour when fully heated.
    • Recovery rate is the number of gallons of hot water the system can provide within one hour of being completely drained.
    • Electric water heaters have a slower recovery rate and need a larger tank size than gas.
  • Tankless: To determine the gallons per minute (GPM) needed, calculate the peak water demand by adding the flow rates of all fixtures and appliances that will use hot water simultaneously. View flow rates

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Signs to replace a hot water heater

Signs a water heater is going out:

  • Rusty, discolored, or metallic-tasting water
  • Loud clanging, knocking, gurgling, or whining noises
  • Hot water that runs out quickly
  • Low water pressure
  • Foul odor coming from hot water
  • Low or irregular water temperature, or no hot water at all
  • Leaks at the base of the tank or around the pipes at the top of the tank

Should I replace my water heater before it fails?

Consider replacing a water heater over 10 years old or if the repair costs are more than 50% of the replacement cost. Replacing a water heater before it fails may prevent leaks and expensive water damage. New water heaters are also more energy-efficient and may lower utility bills.

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Frequently asked questions

Who installs water heaters?

Licensed plumbers install tank and tankless water heaters, including gas, electric, and hybrid heat pump systems. Home Depot and Lowe's also offer water heater installation through their network of licensed plumbers.

How long does it take to install a water heater?

Installing a tank water heater takes 2 to 6 hours, depending on accessibility. Tankless water heater installation takes 3 to 10 hours for a new install or 2 to 4 hours to replace an existing tankless unit. Replacing a water heater in an attic, closet, or other tight space increases the labor time.

How long do hot water heaters last?

Tank hot water heaters last 8 to 15 years on average. Tankless water heaters last 10 to 20 years on average. Extend a water heater's lifespan by:

  • Performing regular maintenance
  • Flushing the tank every 6 to 12 months
  • Replacing the anode rod every 3 to 6 years
  • Adding an expansion tank

How much does hot water heater service cost?

Water heater repairs cost $150 to $700 for tank water heaters and $300 to $1,300 for tankless water heaters, depending on the type of problem and the parts that need replacing.

How much does it cost to run a water heater?

Water heater operating costs are $12 to $50 per month or $150 to $600 per year, depending on the type, fuel source, and local utility rates. Tankless water heaters are 8% to 34% more energy-efficient than standard tanks for the average household.

Operating cost to run a water heater - chart
Operating cost to run a water heater - chart

Water heater operating costs
Type Monthly cost to run Annual cost to run
Gas (tank) $19 – $30 $225 – $350
Gas (tankless) $16 – $22 $150 – $260
Electric (tank) $37 – $48 $440 – $580
Electric (tankless) $25 – $45 $300 – $535
Solar (tank) $8 – $15 $90 – $175
Hybrid heat pump (tank) $12 – $16 $145 – $250

How long is the warranty on a hot water heater?

Most tank water heater warranties last 6 to 12 years, depending on the brand. Tankless water heater warranties last 5 to 15 years. Extended warranties cost $40 for 2 years or $70 for 5 years and must be purchased with the water heater at the time of installation.

Water heater warranty length
Type Warranty length
Tank 6 – 12 years
Tankless 5 – 15 years

How long does it take for a water heater to heat up?

A 40- to 50-gallon gas water heater takes 40 to 60 minutes to heat up. The average electric water heater takes 1 to 2 hours to heat the full tank. Water heaters with a high recovery rate heat up faster.

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Hiring a plumber to install a water heater

Hire a licensed plumber to install or replace a water heater. Before signing a contract, be sure to:

  • Get at least three estimates from licensed plumbers to compare.
  • Look for plumbers with experience installing tank or tankless water heaters.
  • Check out their reviews and previous work on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Select companies that are licensed, insured, and bonded.
  • Make sure the quote includes removal of the old water heater.
  • Get an itemized estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Follow a payment plan instead.

Questions to ask

  • Do you recommend a tank or tankless water heater for my needs, and why?
  • What size water heater do I need for my home?
  • Which type of water heater do you have the most experience installing?
  • Would a gas, propane, or electric water heater be best for my home, and why?
  • Would my home benefit from a hybrid heat pump water heater, and why?
  • Which water heater brands do you offer, and why do you recommend those brands?
  • Are there any manufacturer rebates available?
  • Does your estimate include removing and disposing of the old water heater? If not, how much extra will that cost?
  • What additional costs should I expect?
  • What permits do I need, and will you obtain them?
  • How long will the installation take?
  • How long is the warranty, and what does it cover?
  • How long will the water heater last, and what can I do to make it last longer?
  • What kind of maintenance will my new water heater require?

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