If you’re moving into a new home, and you’re looking at a new water heating system, you may be looking at a tankless hot water heater. So how much should you be paying for a new one? Our guide breaks down the cost into parts and labor, compares the price to other heating solutions, and looks at whether it could actually save you money in the long run. Read on to find out more!
Tankless hot water heater cost: Heaters come in a range of prices
First things first, the exact cost of your water heater will depend on the kind that you would like to buy. There are two kinds of tankless water heaters. You can buy either electric or gas powered. Gas powered heaters cost less to run, but more to buy. Electric powered is the other way around.
If you want to buy an electric tankless water heater, you can pick one up for as little as $100. Mid range heaters are around $800 to $1500, and the most expensive are north of $2000. The price is a reflection of both quality and the amount of water a heater is able to provide. The cheapest tanks might be able to power just your shower, or no more than your bathroom, and are typically installed at the ‘point of use’. That makes them a great option for anybody who needs that flexibility. For a heater that can provide water for your whole house, you would have to pay $250 minimum for the device.
Gas heaters are a little more expensive. You can find the same smaller PoU units which can power one or two sources for between $150 and $200. But the mid range and top of the range models are more expensive than their electric counterparts, even up to $3000 for heaters that provide water for the whole house.
Tankless hot water heater cost: Installation is typically fairly expensive
You’re welcome to try and save money by buying a mid-range model, or even a model which is only for one source at a time. But if you do, bear in mind that installation is going to cost money too. In fact, since tankless water heaters are not plug-and-play appliances, installation is actually usually more expensive than the cost of the heater itself.
Your HVAC technician can work either for an hourly rate or a flat fee. If you agree a flat fee, this will mean that the cost will still be the same even if you encounter unforeseen difficulties installing the heater. Even so, the cost is expensive. Depending on where you live, you can have a heater installed for anywhere between $300 and $4000. Typically you’ll pay around $1500 to $1700 for installation, not including the cost of parts.
Tankless hot water heater cost: What about the rest of your plumbing system?
Before you choose to have a tankless water heater installed, you should consider whether your entire plumbing system is up to scratch. What do we mean? Well, if your boiler or furnace has broken down, that doesn’t just mean that the heater itself isn’t up to par. Typically, if your boiler or furnace was clanking, groaning and inefficient because of age then your pipes are probably just as old. And that’s the problem.
There’s no point plugging a brand new water heater into an old or ageing system. If your faucets and pipes are full of limescale and other mineral deposits, if the joints are leaky and corroded, and the seals are worn away, then you should probably think about replacing them too. Your heater will probably work fine even if you don’t, but when the rest of your plumbing fails, you’ll have to call us out again, and again, and again! This can mean that there are still costs to consider even besides the installation and labor for your tankless hot water heater.
Tankless hot water heater cost: How does the price compare?
Tankless hot water heaters are a reasonable price compared to other water heating solutions. Most tank water heaters- which are basically huge barrels filled with water, if you’re completely unfamiliar- cost between $300 and $600. Furnaces on the other hand cost much more, at between $1500 and $3000 for a regular model. But do bear in mind that furnaces can heat both water and your home. Tankless hot water heaters only provide hot water, and can’t heat your home like a furnace can. So you should factor in the cost of home heating, which you’ll have to pay for separately, further increasing your spend.
Moreover, tankless water heaters often require more time to install than the kind of boiler or furnace they’re replacing. If you replace like for like, installation is normally a (relative) breeze. So in terms of both parts and labor, tankless water heaters aren’t the most cost effective option.
Tankless hot water heater cost: Could it save you money in the long run?
Tankless water heaters can save up to (about) 30% of your energy bill. That’s because they only heat the water you absolutely need. Sounds good? Well, you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true.
The first thing to say about the supposed long term savings that a tankless heater could earn is that you now have two appliances that can break down: your water heater and your central heating. They’re also costly to repair, since they’re less common than furnaces and regular tank boilers. So will you save 30%, as advertised? Probably not.