Tankless water heaters have garnered widespread acclaim due to their exceptional energy efficiency and cost-effective operation. If you're considering investing in one, you might be wondering, "How much does a tankless water heater cost?"
Electric tankless water heaters typically fall within the price range of $500 to $800, offering an economical option for homeowners seeking energy-efficient solutions. On the other hand, gas-powered tankless water heaters present a broader price spectrum, ranging from $750 to $2,300. It's essential to note that these cost figures can fluctuate depending on a range of factors.
In this article, we'll delve into the various factors that influence the price of these innovative water heating systems, providing you with valuable insights to make an informed decision for your home.
How Much Do Tankless Water Heaters Cost?
Are you weary of running out of hot water during your showers? If that's the case, it may be the perfect time to contemplate upgrading to a tankless water heater. Not only do these efficient appliances provide a continuous supply of hot water, but they can also save you money in the long run.
The average cost of a tankless water heater falls around $800. While this might seem higher than traditional tank water heaters, remember that tankless models offer long-term cost savings due to their energy efficiency and extended lifespan.
At the higher end of the spectrum, you can find premium tankless water heaters priced up to $2,300. These top-of-the-line models often come with advanced features, such as smart technology integration, enhanced warranties, and higher flow rates. If you have a large household or need a robust water heating solution, investing in a higher-priced model might be worth it.
On the other hand, if you're on a tight budget, there are more affordable options available. Some tankless water heaters are priced as low as $170, making them a cost-effective alternative to traditional water heaters.
Tankless Water Heater Costs by Fueling Method or Type
Tankless water heaters have revolutionized the way we access hot water, offering energy-efficient solutions for homes of all sizes. When considering a tankless water heater, it's essential to understand the different fueling methods and types available.
Now, let's explore the cost breakdown of tankless water heaters based on their fueling methods, including single-point and whole-house systems.
1. Single Point Tankless Water Heaters
Single-point tankless water heaters, also known as point-of-service units, come in packs of three and are perfect for homes with dispersed plumbing. They offer a closer water path, reducing energy consumption and providing hot water precisely where it's needed.
- Individual unit: $145 to $250
- Pack of three: $435 to $775
If you have a large house with bathrooms spread out, opting for a pack of single-point tankless water heaters at $775 might be more cost-effective than installing a whole-house system.
2. Whole House Tankless Water Heaters
Whole-house tankless water heaters are designed to provide hot water for the entire home, ensuring a constant supply without running out. They come in different fueling options, each with its cost range:
Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Electric tankless water heaters are a popular choice due to their affordability and easy installation. The cost for electric models ranges from $170 to $800.
Gas-Powered Tankless Water Heaters
Gas-powered tankless water heaters offer higher flow rates and are well-suited for larger households. The cost for gas models ranges from $230 to $2,300.
Propane-Powered Tankless Water Heaters
Propane-powered tankless water heaters are ideal for homes without access to natural gas. The cost for propane models ranges from $195 to $2,200.
Solar-Powered Tankless Water Heaters
Solar-powered tankless water heaters are environmentally friendly and harness the sun's energy to heat water. They are cost-effective in the long run, with prices ranging from $800 to $2,500.
Note: It's crucial to check local regulations and incentives for solar-powered water heaters, as some areas may offer tax credits or rebates to promote renewable energy adoption.
Tankless Water Heater Costs by Size
Tankless water heaters are measured based on their gallons per minute (GPM) output and their ability to achieve the desired temperature rise for hot water. In this part, we will explore the key factors to consider when determining the size of your tankless water heater, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your specific needs and budget.
1. Gallons Per Minute (GPM) - Meeting Your Hot Water Demand
Before investing in a tankless water heater, it's essential to assess your home's hot water demand, which is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). As tankless water heaters heat water on demand, you must choose a unit that can provide enough hot water to meet your simultaneous appliance and faucet usage.
For the average home, a GPM rate between 5.5 and 7.5 is recommended to ensure an ample supply of hot water. To put this into perspective, let's look at the average flow rates for common appliances:
- Showerhead: 2 to 3 GPM
- Faucet: 1 to 2 GPM
- Kitchen sink: 1.5 GPM
- Dishwasher: 1.5 to 2 GPM
- Washing machine: 2 to 2.5 GPM
For example, if you anticipate using the dishwasher while someone else is taking a shower, you'll need a tankless water heater with a GPM rate that accommodates both appliances' combined flow rates.
2. Temperature Rise - Meeting Regional Requirements
The temperature rise is another critical factor in determining the size and capacity of your tankless water heater. It refers to the temperature increase needed to heat the incoming water to the desired hot water temperature. In most cases, the incoming water temperature is around 50° F, and the desired hot water temperature is approximately 120° F.
However, keep in mind that the temperature of the groundwater can vary significantly based on your geographical location. In colder regions, the groundwater temperature may dip as low as 40° F or even lower. Consequently, the amount of temperature rise required in your area will influence the type of tankless water heater you need.
For instance, if you live in a colder climate with a temperature rise of 70° F (120° F - 50° F), you'll need a tankless water heater with the capacity to handle this demand effectively.
Labor Costs for Tankless Water Heaters
When considering the installation of a tankless water heater, understanding the associated labor costs is crucial to making informed decisions. The total expense varies based on the system type and power source, with the typical installation ranging from $500 to $3,000.
Here's what you need to know about the labor costs for installing tankless water heaters:
1. Basic Installation
A standard installation of a tankless water heater typically falls between $1,000 and $3,500. Most homes opt for a whole-house tankless water heater system, with the heating source being similar to what was used for the previous storage-tank water heater. While the installation cost may vary, this range covers most standard setups.
2. Heating Source Change
If you decide to switch the heating source for your tankless water heater, additional labor costs come into play. For instance, transitioning from gas to an electric-powered tankless system or vice versa will require the expertise of both a plumber and an electrician.
- Plumber Charges: Local plumbers generally charge between $45 and $150 per hour for their services. Additional plumbing work may be necessary, depending on the specific system and location.
- Electrician Charges: An electrician's services are required for electrical work such as installing a new outlet, circuit, or wiring. The hourly rate for an electrician typically ranges from $50 to $100.
- Time Estimate: The conversion process may take a few hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the project.
- Gas-Powered Conversion: Switching from an electric-powered system to a gas-powered system may involve running a new gas line or routing one to the tankless water heater. Labor costs will depend on the scope of work and the time required for completion.
Factors That Affect Tankless Water Heater Costs
The cost of a tankless water heater can be influenced by various factors that every homeowner should consider. By understanding these factors, homeowners can select the most suitable and cost-effective tankless water heater to meet their hot water needs while maximizing energy efficiency and savings in the long run.
Let's explore the key elements that dictate the price of a tankless water heater:
1. Type of System
The choice between a whole-house tankless water heater and point-of-service units will have a significant impact on the overall cost. While a whole-house system typically comes with a higher upfront expense, installing individual point-of-service units might lead to additional installation costs. Evaluating your home's hot water needs is crucial in making the right decision for your specific requirements.
2. BTUs (British Thermal Units)
The fluctuation in cost for gas-powered tankless water heaters is determined by their British Thermal Units (BTU) output. Models with higher BTU capabilities, such as 199,000 BTUs, will generally have a higher price tag than those with lower ratings. The BTU capacity affects the unit's heating efficiency, making high-BTU models more suitable for homes with greater hot water demands.
3. GPM (Gallons Per Minute)
The gallons per minute (GPM) or flow rate of a tankless water heater directly impacts its cost. Units with a higher GPM rating can supply a larger volume of hot water at once, making them ideal for households with significant hot water needs. Flow rates for home models vary from 2 GPM to nearly 10 GPM, so choosing the appropriate flow rate depends on your household size and usage patterns.
4. Tax Credits
Tax credits can play a crucial role in offsetting the initial investment in a tankless water heater. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides an opportunity to claim a tax credit of 30% of the project cost or up to $600 for purchasing a gas-powered Energy Star-certified tankless water heater. Utilizing these tax credits can lead to substantial savings and make the investment more financially attractive.
5. Condensing vs. Non-Condensing Units
Condensing tankless water heaters, which recover heat from exhaust gases, tend to be more expensive than non-condensing units. However, the increased efficiency of condensing models may lead to long-term savings on energy costs. Consider the trade-off between the upfront cost and potential energy savings when choosing between the two types.
6. Installation Costs
Finally, the total cost of a tankless water heater includes installation expenses. Hiring a professional plumber or electrician to install the unit correctly is essential to ensure optimal performance and safety. The complexity of the installation and any necessary modifications to the plumbing or electrical systems can influence the overall installation cost.
Frequently Asked Questions about Tankless Water Heaters
Considering a tankless water heater for your home? Here are some common questions that homeowners often ask:
How much should I expect to pay for a tankless water heater?
The cost of a tankless water heater can vary based on factors such as the brand, size, features, and installation requirements. On average, tankless water heaters can range from $500 to $2,500 or more.
Higher-end models with advanced features and higher flow rates may be at the higher end of the price range. Additionally, installation costs should be factored into the total expense.
Is it worth switching to a tankless water heater?
Switching to a tankless water heater can be a worthwhile investment for many homeowners. These units offer numerous benefits, such as energy efficiency, continuous hot water supply, space-saving design, and longer lifespan compared to traditional tank-based water heaters.
While the upfront cost may be higher, the long-term savings on energy bills and the convenience of endless hot water make it a valuable upgrade for many households.
Do you really save money with a tankless water heater?
Yes, tankless water heaters can lead to energy savings. Unlike traditional storage tank water heaters that continuously heat and store water, tankless units heat water on-demand only when needed.
This results in reduced energy consumption, as there is no standby heat loss. Over time, the energy efficiency of tankless water heaters can lead to significant savings on utility bills.
What is the downside of an electric tankless water heater?
While electric tankless water heaters offer several advantages, they do have some drawbacks. The main downside is their lower flow rate compared to gas-powered models. Electric units may struggle to provide high hot water demand for large households simultaneously.
Additionally, depending on the home's electrical capacity, upgrading to an electric tankless water heater may require rewiring or electrical modifications, leading to increased installation costs.
Is a tankless water heater worth the cost?
Yes, tankless water heaters are often worth the cost for many homeowners. While the initial investment can be higher compared to traditional tank-based water heaters, tankless models offer long-term benefits such as energy efficiency, lower utility bills, longer lifespan, and continuous hot water on-demand.
The cost savings on energy bills and the convenience of never running out of hot water make them a valuable and worthwhile investment for many households.
What is the average cost to put in a tankless water heater?
The average cost to install a tankless water heater can vary depending on factors such as the size and type of unit, installation complexity, location, and additional plumbing or electrical work required.
On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $1,000 to $3,500 for the installation of a tankless water heater. It's recommended to get quotes from professional plumbers or contractors to get a more accurate estimate based on your specific installation needs.
What is the disadvantage of a tankless water heater?
While tankless water heaters offer many advantages, they do have some drawbacks. One of the main disadvantages is the higher upfront cost compared to traditional water heaters. Additionally, gas-powered tankless models may require more significant upfront costs for gas line installation.
Some electric tankless water heaters may struggle to meet high hot water demands for large households simultaneously, leading to reduced flow rates. Ensuring the proper sizing and type of tankless water heater for your household needs can help mitigate these disadvantages.
Is a tankless water heater more expensive?
Tankless water heaters are generally more expensive than traditional tank-based water heaters when considering the upfront purchase and installation costs. However, as mentioned earlier, they offer energy savings and longer lifespans, leading to potential long-term cost savings on utility bills and replacement expenses.
The cost-effectiveness of a tankless water heater will depend on your household's hot water needs, energy consumption patterns, and the duration of usage.