How much does water heater installation or replacement cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does water heater installation or replacement cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does water heater installation or replacement cost?

$600 – $3,100standard tank replacement cost
$1,400 – $5,600tankless installation cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$600 – $3,100 standard tank replacement cost

$1,400 – $5,600 tankless installation cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
Are you a pro? Get new customers
Tamatha Hazen
Written by
Tamatha Hazen
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tara Farmer

Water heater installation cost

The cost to replace a water heater is $600 to $3,100 on average for standard tank models. The cost to install an energy-efficient tankless water heater is $1,400 to $5,600. Water heater replacement costs depend on the heater type and size, fuel type, and if any plumbing or electrical upgrades are required.

Water heater installation cost - chart
Water heater installation cost - chart
Water heater installation cost
Type Average unit price* Average installed cost**
Standard tank (40 – 50 gallon) $400 – $2,100 $600 – $3,100
Tankless water heater $600 – $2,600 $1,400 – $5,600
Solar water heater $1,000 – $6,000 $3,000 – $9,000
Indirect water heater $1,500 – $3,000 $2,000 – $4,500
Hybrid heat pump $1,500 – $3,000 $2,000 – $4,600

*Unit prices do not include installation. **Total cost before tax incentives or rebates.

Get free estimates from water heater installers near you.

Water heater replacement cost

The cost to replace a water heater ranges from $600 to $5,600 on average, depending on the type and capacity of the heater and the installation complexity. New installations and same-for-same replacements are typically cheaper than retrofits that require additional plumbing or electrical modifications or upgrades.

Standard tank water heater

A traditional tank water heater costs $600 to $3,100 on average with installation. Prices for a 40- to 50-gallon water heater are $400 to $2,100 for the unit alone, and costs increase for models with larger tanks. Tank units are budget-friendly to install, requiring fewer modifications and less labor than other types.

Standard tank water heater prices by size
Tank size (gallons) Average unit price* Total installed cost
30 gallon $300 – $900 $500 – $1,900
40 gallon $400 – $2,000 $600 – $3,000
50 gallon $500 – $2,100 $700 – $3,100
65 gallon $700 – $2,400 $900 – $3,400
75 gallon $900 – $2,600 $1,100 – $3,600
80 gallon $1,000 – $3,000 $1,200 – $4,000

*Unit price for tank only, not including installation.

The most common-sized tank water heaters are the 40 and 50-gallon tanks:

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

Tankless water heater

A tankless water heater costs $1,400 to $5,600 installed or $600 to $2,600 for the unit alone. The price depends on the heater size in gallons per minute (GPM), the brand, and whether you choose electric, propane, or natural gas as your fuel source.

Tankless units are more difficult and costly to install than a standard tank system but are more energy-efficient and provide a constant supply of hot water on demand. The following table provides a more complete comparison of tank and tankless water heaters:

Standard tank vs. tankless water heater comparison
Factor Tankless water heater Tank water heater
Average installed cost $1,400 – $5,600 $600 – $3,100
Annual operating cost $220 – $480 (gas)
$340 – $540 (electric)
$250 – $420 (gas)
$530 – $600 (electric)
Lifespan 15 – 20 years 8 – 12 years
  • Uninterrupted hot water available instantly
  • Enhanced energy efficiency, heating water only when necessary
  • Compact design without the need for a cumbersome storage tank
  • Consistent temperature maintained due to the absence of a tank, preventing heat loss
  • Lower upfront cost
  • Easier installation without major electric or plumbing modifications
  • Minimal maintenance requirements
  • Higher flow rateReduced likelihood of mineral build-up issues
  • Initial costs are higher
  • Installation is more complex, requiring upgrades to gas lines, electrical wiring, or ventilation
  • Restricted flow rate may struggle to provide sufficient hot water during peak usage
  • Energy inefficient resulting in higher utility bills
  • Limited hot water available for use may leave you waiting for more hot water
  • Takes up more spaceTanks can rust, crack, or leak over time

A new tankless water heater installed by a professional plumber
A new tankless water heater installed by a professional plumber

Solar water heater

A solar water heater costs $3,000 to $9,000 with installation or $1,000 to $6,000 for the unit alone. Solar water heaters have lower carbon emissions and are eligible for tax credits and rebates that bring the total cost down to $1,500 to $6,600 on average.

Additionally, solar-powered water heaters pay for themselves with energy savings of 50% to 80% and an extended lifespan of 20 years. However, they require direct sunlight and are less efficient in cloudy or cold weather.

Active solar hot water heating system on rooftop
Active solar hot water heating system on rooftop

Indirect water heater

An indirect water heater costs $2,000 to $4,500 total with installation or $1,500 to $3,000 for the unit alone. These systems are paired with an external heat source, such as a boiler, furnace, or solar heating system.

The heated fluid from the external source circulates through a heat exchanger, warming the water in a separate storage tank. This harvesting of heated water leads to better energy efficiency. These water heaters provide better temperature control and a longer tank life than a standard water heater.

Hybrid heat pump

A hybrid heat pump water heater costs $2,000 to $4,600 with installation or $1,500 to $3,000 for the unit alone. Installation involves 2 to 8 hours of labor, depending on the difficulty.

A hybrid heat pump pulls heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the storage tank. The system is up to 4 times more efficient than a standard electric water heater, reducing energy consumption by 75%, and may be eligible for utility rebates of up to 30% of the project cost or a maximum of $2,000.

Hot water heater installation cost factors

The cost to install a water heater depends on several factors, including the type, fuel source, unit size, and any plumbing or electrical modifications required. Old tank removal, permits, code compliance issues, and tank relocations also add to the project costs.

  • Difficult installations: Expect to pay an additional $125 to $300 per labor hour for installations that require extra work, including accessing cramped spaces like closets.

  • Permits & inspections: Gas lines or electrical work permit fees can range from $50 to $200.

  • Piping: Running new pipes from the heater to fixtures costs around $12 to $15 per linear foot.

  • Venting: Gas water heaters need proper venting for adequate airflow and safety, increasing costs by $500 to $1,500 if installing vents for the first time or $100 to $600 if replacing existing vents.

  • Direct vent vs. power vent: Power vent gas water heaters cost $350 to $500 more than direct vent models, which have a simpler installation without an electric blower or electrical wiring.

  • Expansion Tank: Large tanks often require an expansion tank to control water pressure and prevent damage. Installation costs $100 to $400 depending on the type.

  • Code compliance: Bringing plumbing up to code can cost $75 to $500 or more.

  • Tank relocation: Moving a tank water heater to a new location increases costs by $500 to $2,500, depending on the tank size and accessibility.

  • Energy efficiency: More energy-efficient units have higher upfront costs but pay for themselves in 3 to 7 years through energy savings.

  • Brand: Competitively priced models include Rheem, American Standard, and Whirlpool, but these offer lower quality and shorter warranties than more expensive premium brands like Bradford White and A.O. Smith.

  • Disposal of old unit: Removal and disposal of an old water heater costs $75 to $500, depending on whether the tank is pre-drained and disconnected. Most plumbers include this service as part of their water heater replacement estimate.

  • Emergency or after-hours service: Extra service charges apply for emergency or after-hours installations.

Labor cost to install a water heater

The labor cost to install a standard tank water heater ranges from $200 to $1,000 on average, depending on the modifications required. Replacing a basic tank water heater with a new model of the same size is usually straightforward and takes a professional plumber 2 to 6 hours.

Upgrading from a tank model to a tankless water heater costs $600 to $2,500 in labor alone and usually requires a half to full day of work by a professional installer.

Labor costs are higher for difficult installations requiring major electrical or gas upgrades, which may include the following:

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

Cost to convert from electric to gas water heater

Converting from an electric to a gas water heater costs $400 to $2,000+, depending on if there's an existing gas supply line. You may want to consider this more costly conversion if you have a higher hot water demand, want to lower your energy costs, or experience frequent power outages.

On the other hand, the average cost to convert from a gas to an electric water heater is $250 to $1,000+ for a new dedicated circuit and wiring. This option is popular for homeowners who are trying to reduce their environmental impact and rely on a more renewable source like solar or wind.

Cost to convert water heater fuel source
Conversion type Average cost
Electric to gas $400 – $2,000+
Gas to electric $250 – $1,000+

What size water heater do I need?

The water heater size you need depends on your household size, hot water usage patterns, and the specific requirements for your fixtures and appliances. The following table provides an estimate of the water heater size needed based on the number of people in the house:

Water heater size calculator
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+

For a tank water heater, 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.

For a tankless water heater, determine the flow rate capacity and temperature rise requirements:

  • Flow rate capacity is the maximum amount of water it can heat per minute, measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The flow rate capacity depends on the number of hot water fixtures you use simultaneously, the desired hot water temperature, the fuel type and burner size, and your climate.

    • 1 – 2 fixtures (shower + sink): 3.5 GPM is the minimum suggested size.

    • 2 – 3 fixtures (shower + sink + dishwasher): 5 GPM is recommended.

    • 3 – 4 fixtures (multiple showers + laundry + kitchen appliances): 7 GPM or higher is needed.

  • Temperature rise refers to the difference between the incoming cold ground water temperature and the hot water temperature you want the tankless water heater to produce.

    • To calculate the temperature rise, subtract the ground water temperature in your area from your desired hot water temperature. For example, if your ground water is 60° F and you want it heated to 115° F, your temperature rise requirement would be 55° F (115° F - 60° F).

    • Higher temperature rise requirements will demand more power and capacity from your tankless water heater.

Get free estimates from water heater installers near you.
United States ground water temperature map
United States ground water temperature map

Water heater FAQs

When should I replace my water heater?

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.

Who installs water heaters?

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

How long does it take to replace a water heater?

Installing a tank water heater takes 2 to 6 hours, depending on how easy the unit is to access. Tankless water heater installation is more complex and takes up to 10 hours for a new installation. Same-for-same replacements are faster than retrofit installations.

How long do hot water heaters last?

Tank water heaters last 8 to 12 years on average. However, you can extend the water heater's lifespan to 15 years with proper maintenance, including:

  • Flushing the tank every 6 to 12 months

  • Replacing the anode rod every 3 to 6 years

  • Adding an expansion tank

Tankless water heaters last 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance, including routine flushing and descaling of hard water deposits.

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 average $13 to $50 per month or $160 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.

Water heater operating costs
Type Monthly cost to run Annual cost to run
Gas (tank) $21 – $35 $250 – $420
Gas (tankless) $18 – $40 $220 – $480
Electric (tank) $44 – $50 $530 – $600
Electric (tankless) $28 – $45 $340 – $540
Hybrid heat pump (tank) $13 – $16 $160 – $190

Hiring a plumber to install a water heater

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

  • Get at least 3 estimates with water heaters of the same type and size to compare.

  • Look for plumbers with experience installing your preferred type of water heater.

  • Check out their reviews from previous work on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Select from experienced installers that are licensed, insured, and bonded.

  • Make sure the quote includes the removal of the old water heater and any permits.

  • 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 a plumber

When you want to replace your old water heater, choose from experienced plumbers who are willing to answer these questions:

  • What experience do you have installing standard tanks and tankless water heaters?

  • How do you determine the proper water heater size needed for my home's demand?

  • Which fuel type–gas, electric, propane–do you recommend for a water heater in my situation?

  • What type of venting does my home require for a new gas water heater installation?

  • Will the existing gas line, electrical, or ductwork need modifications to accommodate the new heater?

  • Which water heater brands do you recommend and why?

  • Are there any rebates available on water heaters I should know about?

  • Does your estimate include the removal and disposal of my old water heater?

  • What permits and inspections are required for the installation?

  • How long will the water heater installation take?

  • What is the warranty coverage and period for the new unit and your labor?

  • What is the expected lifespan of this model with proper maintenance?

  • What kind of maintenance will this water heater require?

  • Can I see references from past water heater customers?

  • What are the next steps to take if I decide to hire you for the installation?