So, you woke up to find no hot water in the shower, or maybe you found a river running from your utility closest, or maybe you are one of those who likes to plan before one of the other two happens.
Whatever the case may be, you are now concerned or at least wondering how much it’s going to cost you to replace your water heater.
To give you the short answer between $800-$4000. As you can see, it really depends on various key factors:
1. Depends on where you live
Some parts of the country are higher than others. For this article, I’m going to focus on where we live, which is the OKC metro area. This could apply mostly to all of Oklahoma and Texas areas. Good news, overall it’s cheaper to have a water heater installed in Oklahoma than most of the country.
2. Access to the location
A huge determining factor will be where your current water heater is located. A water heater located in a garage utility closest generally will be cheaper than a water heater located in a basement or attic. Also, take a look around, is there a gas line in the way of the water heater that will need to be removed? The more accessible access and bigger the space to work generally means a more effortless install which will cost you less. The easier the access, the easier the install.
3. Code Upgrades
This is probably the most determining factor in what’s it going to cost. The plumbing trade is regulated by city and state officials. You read that right, people who sit at a desk all day get to tell you the homeowner how your plumbing should be installed. The State of Oklahoma has a standard codebook that is to be applied to all areas of the State, and then each city will have an addendum to that code book…
That’s right, depending on your city will play a factor how the water heater is to be installed, and that’ll affect the installation cost. For example, in the city of Edmond and Norman, they require expansion tanks, where not all of Oklahoma City requires these. The code will typically change every 6 months so you can expect a code upgrade unless your current water heater was installed a week ago.
Many customers over the phone will tell me, “oh, my water heater is up to code, it has a pan, and it’s elevated up off the ground.” Well, that’s a good start, and I wish there were only 2 codes required for a water heater, but that’s not the case.
Things like; CPVC pan drains, hydro arrestors, double wall vent, 1” clearance, combustion air vent and more all come into play when bringing a water heater up to code. A good question to ask yourself:
Is the current water heater the original? Or has it been replaced before?
Obviously, the newer the home generally is going to mean the fewer upgrades it needs.
4. Who does your water heater installation?
Assuming you are going to go with a licensed professional, depending on which company you use will play a big part. You want to make sure whoever does it does it right of course so this goes back to ‘you get what you pay for’, but at the same time you don’t want to be taken advantage of.
Big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes all subcontract their work out. This means Home Depot will expect to get a cut of the profit on the sale:
Gif of happy CEO celebrating his annual profits through higher cost for you….
As a general rule in life, it’s always good to take out the middleman, going with a company like Home Depot or Lowes will still cost you more than if you go directly with a local company.
Also, avoid big marketing plumbing companies like the plague. These are companies who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing to build their business instead of their brand.
Companies who are sponsoring the local weather report, those who have billboards all over the metro, those that hire local sports heroes to be their spokesman. Think about it, these types of companies have to pay a lot of money for advertisement, and it’s you, their customer who will fit the bill to pay for them. These types of businesses will always cost more than companies who don’t spend that type of money on advertising. Plain and simple.
5. Bait and switch.
Most companies will give you a low ball over the phone price and then double and triple (through add-ons) when they get out to your home. Don’t get tricked, they know the price will double and triple, it’s the old bait and switch. Remember, over the phone prices are about as worthless as an office worker telling others how to install water heaters. Only in-person, written down quotes are reliable, all others are not.
Here’s a good average total cost of installation for a 40-gallon water heater here in the OKC metro, but remember like was list above, these costs can range depending on certain factors:
Rapid Water Heaters
Big Orange/Blue Box Stores (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.)
Big “Marketing” Plumbing Companies