5 Factors That Affect Water Heater Replacement Cost

Hot water is one of the necessities of living life for most people. You need it to wash clothes, wash dishes, and take a bath or shower. Many people don’t think much about hot water until they turn on the tap and nothing but cold water comes out.
When you aren’t able to get hot water, you might need to replace your home’s hot water heater. The same is true if your water is rust colored, getting warm, but not hot, or smells like rotten eggs.

Some people might be tempted to just go buy a hot water heater to install on their own. That, however, can open you up to several safety issues. This is especially true if the hot water heater is a gas hot water heater.

Think about this for a moment — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that at least 430 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning that is considered accidental. You wouldn’t want to be poisoned by your hot water heater, so consider a professional installation and prepare yourself for these costs.

1. Type of water heater
The type of hot water heater you choose has a big impact on how much you will spend to replace your hot water heater. You can choose from a tank or tank-less model. Generally, the tank-less models are more costly.

You can choose from electric powered, gas powered, or solar powered. This will usually depend on the power source that your current water heater uses. Of course, it is possible to change the power source, but that will increase the price of the replacement.

Another factor that impacts the cost of the hot water heater is the size you need. Larger hot water heaters are more costly than smaller models. In some cases, such as for rental properties, Harris County has specific requirements for the minimum size of water heater that is available.

Solar panels to the boiler for heating water

2. Location of water heater

The location of the hot water heater can affect the cost of the replacement because it will affect the labor cost. Hot water heaters that are easily accessible will usually incur a smaller labor cost than those that are in tight spaces or spaces that aren’t easily accessible.

The location can also affect how the installation is handled. For example, if you have a gas-powered hot water heater in the garage, it must be at least 18 inches off the floor, which means that you will need a higher base or a way to keep it off the floor. That can increase the cost you will pay for the replacement.

3. Cost of permits

Replacing a hot water heater often requires a permit from the Harris County Permit Office if you live within the limits of Harris County. The cost of this permit depends on several factors, including if an on-site inspection is necessary and if there are any changes or upgrades needed to the electrical lines, water lines, or gas lines in your home.

When you get an estimate for the hot water heater replacement cost, you can find out if that includes pulling the permits for the job. If it does, you won’t have to worry about the permits because the installer will already have the permits prior to the water heater being installed.

4. Disposal of old hot water heater

Getting rid of the old hot water heater can incur an added expense. This may or may not be included in the estimate you receive for the replacement. If it isn’t included in the replacement, you will need to contact someone to haul it away or contact the waste disposal company that services your home to find out about having it taken away.

5. Other Factors That Affect The Water Heater Replacement Cost

It is always best to plan for additional costs that might not be included in the actual water heater replacement cost estimate, such as the cost of insulating the water heater or doing necessary upgrades to the existing service. These costs aren’t something that every homeowner will experience, but it is better to be prepared instead of trying to scrimp and scrape at the last minute.

Some hot water heaters, such as some that in rental units, will need an insulator. These are often referred to as hot water heater blankets. Purchasing one of these can add anywhere from $10 to $40 to your replacement cost, depending on the style and the size of the water heater insulator you choose.

There is also a chance that some wiring or piping might have to be replaced or upgraded when you replace a hot water heater. For example, the natural gas lines might need to be upgraded if you are replacing a tank style water heater with a tank-less model because of the increase in gas that might be necessary for the instant heating. Another example would be having to upgrade the breaker or circuit box to accommodate the new hot water heater if it is going to require more electricity.

The bottom line

Overall, you can expect to spend anywhere from $350 to $1,500 to replace a hot water heater. The average range that most homeowners will spend is $672 to $1,108. Getting a custom estimate can give you a more accurate idea of what the hot water heater replacement cost is for your home.


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