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water heater replacement

When the water heater is on the fritz, one of the first things you might ask yourself is: Does this need to be replaced, or should I just repair it and wait another year? Water heater replacement is an expensive decision to make, but our expert contractors laid out the cost breakdown below to help you make an informed decision. 

The Numbers 

What You Need to Know About Water Heater Replacement 

There are many different factors that influence the costs of maintaining a water heater over time. Sometimes, it may actually be a better economic decision to completely replace your water heater rather than opting for yet another costly repair. Numbers don’t lie, so we’re here to show you exactly how much you should expect to pay for the most common models of water heaters – plus how much it costs to repair and install them. 

Standard Tank 

  • Unit Price Range Average : $400 – $1,700
  • Cost to Install Average : $150 – $600
  • Repair Cost Range Average : $100 – 900
  • Lifespan Average : 8 – 12 years


  • Unit Price Range Average : $300 – $3000
  • Cost to Install Average : $400 – $1500 
  • Repair Cost Range Average : $150 – $800
  • Lifespan Average : 20+ years


  • Unit Price Range Average : $700 – $3000
  • Cost to Install Average : $3,000 – $8,000
  • Repair Cost Range Average : $150 – $750
  • Lifespan Average : 20 years 

Hybrid or Energy-Saving Model

  • Price Range Average : $700 – $3000
  • Cost to Install Average : $150 – $600
  • Repair Cost Range Average : $150 – $900
  • Lifespan Average : 15 years 

As you can see, the price ranges vary greatly for each unit, installation cost, and repair cost. When we look closely at the numbers, we can better estimate how much taking care of a water heater actually costs. 

Water Heater Lifespan 

A crucial factor in comparing water heater replacement costs is being aware of how old your current water heater is. Looking at the cost breakdown above, notice that a standard tank water heater might function optimally for as little as eight years, whereas a tankless water heater could last for more than twenty years. 

Say you’re debating whether to replace your 7 year old standard tank water heater with a brand new tankless water heater. If we’re going off of averages, your current water heater only has a few years left, which means it’s likely wearing out and needing more frequent repairs. Depending on the new unit model you choose and the rates of the plumber you pay to install it, you could be looking at a much lower cost spread out across the years.  

Easy Maintenance to Save You Money Anytime 

If purchasing and installing a brand new water heater just isn’t in the cards right now, there may be a few things you can do to preserve the one you have. 

  1. Check the anode rod (for Standard Tank Water Heaters). Unscrew the anode rod. If you notice that it is coated with calcium buildup or is less than ½ inch thick, buy a replacement. The rod itself only costs $20 to $50, and with the proper precautions, you can do it yourself. This rod is very important as it keeps the inside of your tank from corroding. 
  2. Drain the tank and wash out the sediment annually. 
  3. Insulate the pipes and heater so the appliance doesn’t have to work as hard to do its job. 
  4. Check out our guide to making your water heater last

Water Heater Repair and Installation Services 

Here at Shepherd’s Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, we are committed to providing you with plumbing services that last. Give us a call today at (650)263-6986 or visit our contact us page for any questions or general inquiries about our reputable plumbing services. 

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