The cost to install a water heater in Buffalo ranges from $1,100 to $7,200.
We know—that’s a big price range.
The reason the price can vary so much is because the cost to install a water heater depends on the following factors:
- The type of water heater you choose
- The fuel type of the water heater
- The heating capacity of the unit
- The efficiency of the water heater
- The plumber you hire
Let’s look at each of these cost factors in more detail to give you a better understanding of what you could pay for your water heater installation.
Cost factor #1: The type of water heater you choose
You can choose between 2 types of water heaters: a tank or tankless water heater. For context, tank water heaters are typically less expensive than tankless water heaters.
Here’s the difference:A tank unit heats and stores water in a large tank, then delivers hot water when it’s needed at a plumbing fixture or appliance. A tankless unit, on the other hand, doesn’t need a storage tank at all. Instead, a tankless unit heats water directly as water passes through the unit, providing an endless supply of instant hot water to your plumbing fixtures or hot-water appliances.
Let’s look at how the 2 types of water heaters compare in terms of price:
- A tank water heater costs $1,740 on average
- A tankless water heater costs $3,900 on average
Wondering why tankless water heaters cost more?
Tankless systems are more expensive because the equipment costs more, and installing a tankless unit usually requires more labor. However, because they don’t have to constantly keep water heated in a tank, tankless water heaters can save money on energy costs compared to a tank unit.
A plumbing expert can help you weigh the pros and cons of each kind of water heater so you can choose the best type of water heater for your hot water needs and budget.
Cost factor #2: The fuel type of the water heater
Regardless of the type of water heater you choose, gas-powered water heaters are usuallymore expensive to install than electric-powered units. Gas-powered water heaters require ventilation and gas pipes, which increases materials and labor costs.
However, because natural gas is a less expensive fuel source than electricity here in Buffalo, you’ll save money every month on your utility bill with a natural gas water heater (vs an electric water heater)..
If your home doesn’t already have access to natural gas, your best option is probably to stick with an electric water heater. Adding a gas main line can be prohibitively expensive, so you’re usually better off using an electric water heater. If you want to make the switch from electricity to natural gas, you’ll need to consult with a professional to see if the long-term savings of a gas unit will make up for its higher installation cost.
Cost factor #3: The heating capacity of the unit
The hot water capacity of a water heater refers to how much hot water a unit can deliver at once. In general, the more hot water a unit can deliver at one time, the more expensive it will be.
Heating capacity is measured differently depending on the type of water you have:
- For tank water heaters, heating capacity is measured by the size of the tank and first hour rating.
- For tankless water heaters, heating capacity is measured by flow rate and temperature rise.
Let’s take a look at each of these types of heating capacity measurements in more detail.
Tank heating capacity
The first indicator of a tank water heater’s heating capacity is the size of the tank. Most residential tank water heaters range from 50 to 80 gallons. The bigger the tank size, the more hot water the unit can provide.
A tank water heater’s first hour rating also determines its heating capacity. First hour rating measures how many gallons of hot water a tank can supply per hour, starting with a full tank of hot water. The higher the first hour rating, the more hot water appliances and plumbing fixtures you’ll be able to use at one time.
The plumber you hire to install your water heater can help you determine what tank size and first hour rating you need. The plumber will calculate this based on your family’s peak hour demand, which is the time during the day when your family uses the most hot water.
Tankless heating capacity
The heating capacity for tankless units is measured by flow rate. Flow rate is how many gallons of hot water a tankless unit can supply at one time. The higher the flow rate, the more hot-water appliances and plumbing fixtures you’ll be able to use simultaneously.
In addition to flow rate, you’ll also need to consider the temperature rise, which is the difference between the incoming (cold) water temperature and your desired hot-water temperature (usually around 120° F). If there’s a big difference between the two water temperatures, the flow rate of the tankless unit will be reduced.
Don’t worry—you don’t have to calculate the temperature rise and figure out what flow rate you need by yourself. The plumber you hire for your water heater installation can help you calculate the ideal flow rate and temperature rise for your tankless system, based on your family’s hot water usage.
Cost factor #4: The efficiency of the water heater
In general, the more energy efficient the water heater, the more expensive it will be. However, energy-efficient water heaters cost less to operate, which lowers your monthly utility bills.
A water heater’s energy efficiency is measured by its UEF (Uniform Energy Factor) rating. The higher the UEF rating, the more energy efficient the water heater. Most standard gas or electric water heaters have UEF ratings that range from 0.65 to 0.95.
When choosing a UEF rating for your water heater, you’ll want to consult with a plumbing expert. They will help you find a water heater that strikes the right balance between long-term energy savings and upfront cost.
Cost factor #5: The plumber you hire
Higher quality plumbers generally charge more to install water heaters, but they also do thorough installation work, which saves you more money in the long run.
Plumbers who offer low prices often rush through the installation, cutting corners or glossing over important details. If you hire one of these less reputable plumbers, your new water heater may not perform at its highest efficiency and it may require expensive repairs down the road.
To find a plumber who will do the installation correctly and thoroughly, make sure the plumber:
- Is licensed and insured
- Offers upfront, honest pricing
- Gives guarantees or warranties on their water heater installations
- Has good reviews on sites such as Google or Better Business Bureau
If the plumber meets the above criteria, chances are you will have a good experience working with them and they will do high-quality work when they install your water heater.
Need a new water heater? Call Roy’s for a free estimate
At Roy’s, we strive to provide the highest quality water heaters and service at affordable prices. Since 1974, we’ve installed countless water heaters and received thousands of 5-star customer reviews. When you hire Roy’s to install your water heater, you can count on first-class customer service and upfront prices—without any scary sales tactics.