Price for new water heater?
September 10, 2009 3:52 PM   Subscribe

Reasonable cost for a new hot water heater?

(Vancouver, Canada) We're replacing our water heater, plain old 40 gallon gas water heater. We have a quote from a company we have dealt with before (and liked a lot) for $1200, which seems very high. My father-in-law just had his 40 gallon tank replaced for $800, unfortunately he lives several hours away.

Is $1200 crazy or was $800 just a really great price?
posted by Cosine to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
$800 seems a little high. $600 sounds about right.
posted by electroboy at 4:09 PM on September 10, 2009

Gas is a bit more expensive than electric, and you're paying for installation, right? I was quoted $950 (also in BC).
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:26 PM on September 10, 2009

High efficiency or Mid efficiency? (Like, do you have a chimney?)

High efficiency is a lot more expensive, because it needs a motorized exhaust system. $1200 still probably isn't cheap, but for a top of the line high efficiency tank, installed...
posted by Chuckles at 5:00 PM on September 10, 2009

US Prices for GAS 40 gallon are ranging from high $400's to $700's depending on energy efficiency. Electrics in the $400-$600 range.

I have no concept what prevailing wage for plumbing/electrical in your area is. If all they're doing is swapping an old one for a new one then it SHOULDN'T take any more than an hour...seriously, I can do it in an hour and I'm not a professional, and that's with sweated joints.

Seems super high to me, but like Marx taught us---prices aren't based on aggregate materials, it's all about supply and demand and what the market will bear.

Regardless, wrap it in fiberglass insulation.

Also, super sidebar, only applicable if it's electric:
The only reason to discard an electric water heater is a tank rusted so badly it's staining clothes/leaking. Thermocouples and elements are both EXTREMELY cheap *sub $50 for high BTU* and very very easy to install. Are you super 100% sure the tank needs changed? Wouldn't surprise me if the same company offering a tank swap for $1200 wasn't also offering a tank swap that wasn't remotely necessary.
posted by TomMelee at 5:16 PM on September 10, 2009

I just replaced my rusted out gas water heater last week for $950USD. It's 50 gal, high efficiency, and it required 2.5 hours, including switching out the old one and changing out parts of the venting between the tank and chimney. The price included the tank, labor and tax. It seemed high to me at first, but it's been 17 years since I got the last tank installed.
posted by subatomiczoo at 5:39 PM on September 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Perhaps I exaggerate. It might take me 3. Regular billable time probably 2.5 hours makes sense, although in reality it would probably take a professional much less.
posted by TomMelee at 5:42 PM on September 10, 2009

If you post the model of the water heater from your quote here, then everyone will be better able to help you. Forty gallon gas water heaters have a fairly wide price range.
posted by ssg at 6:16 PM on September 10, 2009

We got ours from Sears and had them install it, take the old one away.

It's clear that the guys who came out do this ALL DAY LONG and were extremely good at it, even though we live in an older house. Seriously, it took them LESS THAN AN HOUR.
posted by gregvr at 6:54 PM on September 10, 2009

Yeah, 40 gallons under $400 for the tank, and about 1/hour actual labor to remove and install. Some plumbers have a minimum trip rate that could be in the $150 to 200 range. (USD)
posted by Gungho at 8:13 PM on September 10, 2009

I got a tankless water heater off the internet for ~$500 US. It was cheaper than my local plumber's wholesale cost (by about $300) & will pay for itself in less than two years.
posted by torquemaniac at 8:58 PM on September 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Tank-less is a cool route to go but you need to make sure your electrical box can handle it.

It would have been very helpful if you posted what the water heater was. Some of them are very cheap but have bad warranties and high failure rates. Others are more expensive but have 10 year warranties, etc.
posted by zephyr_words at 11:03 PM on September 10, 2009

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