Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand or instantaneous water heaters, are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and endless supply of hot water. However, many homeowners are taken aback by the initial high cost of installing a tankless water heater.
Tankless water heater installation is expensive due to several factors. These include the cost of the unit itself, which varies by model and type, installation and labor costs, location of the heater in your home, potential need for venting and gas line upgrades or electrical system upgrades, and additional materials required for installation. However, despite the high upfront cost, tankless water heaters can lead to long-term savings due to their energy efficiency and longer lifespan.
Understanding Tankless Water Heaters
A tankless water heater, unlike traditional water heaters with storage tanks, heats water only when it’s needed. This eliminates the need for a storage tank and the standby energy losses associated with constantly maintaining a tank full of hot water. They can be 24-34% more energy-efficient than traditional water heaters, leading to significant savings on utility bills over time.
Factors Influencing the Cost of Tankless Water Heater Installation
The cost of tankless water heater installation can be influenced by several factors:
1. Model and Type
The cost of the tankless water heater unit itself varies depending on the model, brand, and whether it is gas or electric. Gas models typically cost between $3,500 and $7,500, while electric models range from $2,500 to $6,500.
2. Installation and Labor
Installation costs depend on the complexity of the job and the labor rates of the plumber or contractor. On average, installation and labor costs range from $1,000 to $3,000.
The location of the tankless water heater in your home can influence the cost of installation. Difficult-to-reach areas, such as basements or attic corners, can drive up the installation cost.
4. Venting and Gas Line Upgrades
Gas-powered tankless water heaters require proper ventilation and may need upgrades to existing gas lines, which can increase the installation cost.
5. Electrical System Upgrades
Electric tankless water heaters may require upgrades to your home’s electrical system to handle the increased power demand, adding to the overall cost.
6. Additional Materials
Installation requires materials such as a gas connector kit ($20–$40), termination vent kit ($40–$100), mounting hardware, fittings, a two-piece brass valve set, and piping and insulation.
Despite the higher upfront costs, tankless water heaters can save homeowners money in the long run due to their energy efficiency. They can result in an average cost savings of $108 per year. In addition, tankless water heaters have a longer lifespan, typically lasting 20 years or more, compared to 10-15 years for storage tank water heaters.
DIY Installation Vs. Professional Installation
While it is technically possible for homeowners to install a tankless water heater themselves, it is not recommended. Improper installation can lead to safety risks and void warranties. Therefore, professional installation is highly recommended.
While the initial cost of installing a tankless water heater can be high, it’s important to consider the long-term benefits and savings. With their energy efficiency, long lifespan, and endless hot water supply, tankless water heaters can be a smart investment for many homeowners. However, it’s crucial to consider all the factors, including model, type, installation, location, venting and gas line upgrades, electrical system upgrades, and additional materials, when determining the overall cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average lifespan of a tankless water heater?
The average lifespan of a tankless water heater is typically 20 years or more, compared to 10-15 years for traditional water heaters with storage tanks.
Can I install a tankless water heater myself to save on installation costs?
While it is technically possible to install a tankless water heater yourself, it is not recommended due to potential safety risks and the possibility of voiding the manufacturer’s warranty. Therefore, professional installation is highly recommended.
How much can I expect to save on my utility bills with a tankless water heater?
Tankless water heaters can result in an average cost savings of $108 per year due to their energy efficiency.
Why do gas-powered tankless water heaters require ventilation?
Gas-powered tankless water heaters require proper ventilation to safely exhaust gases produced during the combustion process to the outdoors.
What additional materials are required for the installation of a tankless water heater?
Installation of a tankless water heater requires materials such as a gas connector kit, termination vent kit, mounting hardware, fittings, a two-piece brass valve set, and piping and insulation.