The cost to replace a tank water heater in Idaho ranges from $900 to $2,100.
We know—that’s a pretty big price range. But the reason the cost varies so much is because it depends on these cost factors:
- Difficulty of installation
- Type of water heater (gas vs electric)
- Size of water heater
- The contractor you choose
Let’s go into more detail about each of these cost factors…
Note: In this article we’ll focus on traditional tank water heaters, not tankless water heaters. For pricing on tankless water heaters, read our article, “How Much Does It Cost to Install a Tankless Water Heater in Idaho?” or contact us for more info.
Cost factor #1: Difficulty of installation
The more difficult it is for the plumber to install the water heater, the more expensive the total cost will be.
Some situations that make the installation more difficult include:
- The current water heater was installed incorrectly
- Your home’s plumbing isn’t up to code
- Additional plumbing or gas line needs to be installed
- There are obstacles in the way to remove the old water heater
- The new water heater is larger (due to new 2015 regulations) and the space needs to be modified
- Venting needs to be adjusted, or new vents need to be added
- Other appliances need to be hooked up to the water heater
Note: In addition to those installation factors, sometimes the job also requires changing out the water supply flex, the gas flex and installing new carbon monoxide detectors to have your water heating system operating safely.
Cost factor #2: Type of water heater (gas vs electric)
Whether you have a gas or electric water heater affects how much it will cost.
Gas water heaters typically cost more upfront but are cheaper to operate (i.e. lower monthly bills).
Cost factor #3: Size of water heater
Water heater size is measured in gallons. The more gallons of water your water heater can heat, the bigger it is. And the bigger the water heater, the more expensive it will be.
Now, you may think bigger is automatically better, but that’s not the case. Instead, you’ll need a water heater that matches your hot water needs exactly. Here’s why…
- If you get a water heater that’s too small, you’ll run out of hot water
- If you get a water heater that’s too big, you’ll pay more for hot water that you’ll never use
Wondering what size water heater you need?
If your current water heater met your hot water needs, you could probably go with the same size water heater. But if you were constantly running out of hot water with your old heater, you’ll probably want to rethink the size water heater you have.
Ways to determine what size water heater you need are:
1. Match household size to gallons (see chart below)
2. Calculate your “first hour rating”
Your first hour rating determines the maximum amount of hot water your household would need at any given hour. (Don’t worry, this is easier to calculate than it sounds.)
To calculate your first hour rating, use the worksheet below from Energy.gov to estimate how many gallons you use at one time:
Cost factor #4: The contractor you choose
The plumbing company you choose to install your water heater affects how much you’ll pay. Higher quality contractors are generally more expensive, but they’ll actually save you more money in the long run because they do good work.
On the other hand, a poorly installed water heater can breakdown and require more repairs down the road, so it’s better to have the job done properly the first time.
When you choose a contractor, you’ll want to make sure…
- They have good client service reviews online
- They’re licensed and insured (in case something goes wrong on the job)
- They offer a written contract, so they hold to their word