There are a variety of factors that will impact the cost of your installation, so the only way to determine the exact cost to install a tankless water heater is to have a licensed plumber come to your home to assess your current system and hot water needs. The cost to install a tankless water heater in San Antonio ranges from $3,500 to $8,000, with an average cost of $5,200.
Some of the factors that will have an impact on the cost of your installation include:
- The size of the unit
- The type of tankless unit
- The type of fuel
- The plumber you hire
We’ll take a closer look at each of these factors below, so you can get a better idea of how much you’ll spend installing your tankless water heater.
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Cost Factor #1: The size of the unit
Unlike traditional tank water heaters that store 20 – 100 gallons of heated water, tankless water heaters don’t store any water at all. Instead, they heat water as it flows through the unit.
So, the “size” of a tankless water heater is determined by two factors:
- Temperature rise
- Flow rate
This refers to the difference (in degrees) between the temperature of the groundwater entering your home and the temperature you have your water set to. So, temperature rise is determined by how many degrees the incoming water needs to be heated in order to reach your desired temperature.
For example, the average groundwater temperature here in San Antonio is 72 degrees, but you want your hot water to be 120 degrees. So, you will need a tankless water heater with a temperature rise of 48 degrees.
This is the number of gallons of heated water that the unit can produce per minute (gpm). The higher the flow rate, the more expensive the tankless unit is.
The size of the water heater you need (flow rate) depends on the total flow rate of your other home appliances that you use simultaneously.
For example, if you run the kitchen sink and the washing machine at the same time, you will need a flow rate that equals or exceeds the flow rate of both your kitchen sink and washing machine.
The best way to pinpoint the flow rate you need is to have a plumber come to your home and perform a detailed assessment, but if you want a rough estimate, you can add the average flow rates of the appliances you use simultaneously.
For reference, here are the average flow rates of a few common water appliances:
- Washing machine: 1.5 – 2.0 gpm
- Kitchen faucet: 0.5 – 2.5 gpm
- Dishwasher: 1.0 – 2.5 gpm
- Showerhead: 1.0 – 3.0 gpm
Cost factor #2: The type of tankless unit
There are two types of tankless water heaters:
- Whole-home units
- Point-of-use (POU) units
Whole-home units tend to cost more than POU units, as they provide hot water to all of the plumbing fixtures in your home.
Point-of-use (POU) units provide hot water to a single appliance or room of your home (like a bathroom or laundry room).
So, how do you decide which type of unit is best for your home? If you have an average-sized home, a whole home unit will probably provide enough heated water for all of your appliances.
However, you may need to pair a whole-home unit with one or several POU units if your home has hot water appliances that are far away from the whole-home unit or appliances that have higher flow rates.
For example, if you have an appliance like a washing machine or a dishwasher with a high flow rate, you may want to install a POU unit in addition to a whole home unit, to ensure that you have enough hot water.
The best way to determine which type of water heater is best for your home is to have a plumber come and assess your appliances and hot water needs.
Cost factor #3: The type of fuel
Gas water heaters are more expensive to install than electric water heaters, but gas water heaters cost less to operate on a monthly basis.
Gas water heaters cost more to install because, in addition to the water heater itself, a gas water heater requires:
- Gas line installation: If you don’t already have a gas line piped to your home, you’ll need to have one installed, which will increase your water heater installation by about $1,500+.
- Gas line extension: If your home has access to natural gas, but the line isn’t close enough to your tankless water heater, the gas line will need to be extended, which raises the cost of the installation.
- Venting: Gas water heaters produce gases that need to be vented to the exterior of your home. If you’ve never had a gas water heater, a plumber will have to install the venting as well, increasing your installation cost.
Electric water heaters are cheaper to install because they don’t require the additional infrastructure that gas water heaters do. The only additional cost you may come across with an electric water heater is an upgrade for your electrical panel.
Your home’s electrical panel may not have enough power to support the load that comes with a new water heater. If you need an electrical panel upgrade, it will usually end up costing you an additional $1,000-$2,000.
Cost factor #4: The plumber you hire
The plumber you hire can directly impact the overall cost of your installation.
More experienced plumbers will often charge more, but they usually offer higher quality installations, which can save you money in the long run.
Lower quality contractors will frequently charge you less for a tankless water heater installation, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a contractor who charges less and actually does the job right the first time. A rushed job can lead to higher monthly energy bills and more frequent repairs.
How do you go about finding a quality plumber? Make sure they have:
- A valid license and insurance. You can find out if a plumber is licensed and insured by looking at their Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile. If they are accredited by the BBB, it means that they have a license and insurance.
- Credible online reviews. Check sites like Google, Facebook, and Better Business Bureau.
- Transparent pricing. If the company provides you with an upfront, written estimate on the cost to install your tankless water heater, you are protected from any hidden costs or fees.
Ready to have your tankless water heater installed by a San Antonio Pro? One of our trained plumbers will speak with you about your hot water needs, so we can help you find the best tankless water heater for your home.