What Does a Tankless Water Heater Cost Over Time?

The information about tankless water heaters and how much they cost can be confusing if you don’t know how to assess these costs. On one hand, you may have heard that the tankless water heater cost is higher than a traditional storage water heater, which is definitely true. However, it is also true that running a tankless style is much cheaper, and that they don’t have to be replaced as frequently. So, when all is said and done, which type of water heater is the cheaper way to go? Let’s look at all the costs over time and find out.

Purchase Costs

Right out of the gate, a tankless water heater is going to seem like the more expensive option. The initial purchase price of a tankless model generally runs around $1,000 or $1,200. This is roughly double the cost of a traditional water heater with a tank, which will only run you between $500 and $700, according to Bankrate.

Installation Costs

When adding up the initial tankless water heater cost, don’t forget about installation. Gas-heated tankless water heaters need to have a ventilation system installed, which tacks on extra cost. Electric tankless water heaters don’t have this requirement but generally aren’t as powerful, requiring a larger water heater or additional water heaters to provide the same amount of hot water. Gas is generally preferred, therefore, so unless your home is already set up for a tankless water heater, expect to add another $1,000 to $2,000 in installation fees.

Utility Bills

When you start looking at the long-term tankless water heater cost is when things start to get interesting. Now that you’ve sunk all that money into your home’s hot water system, you will start to enjoy lower utility bills: as much as 34 percent lower, according to the US Department of Energy. This means savings of $100 or more per year, depending on how energy efficient your new water heater is. It might not seem like a lot at first, especially compared to the hefty initial costs, but the savings add up over time.


A tankless water heater does require a little more maintenance than a traditional storage tank model, as they’ll need to be cleaned occasionally to remove the buildup of water deposits. How often this maintenance is needed depends largely upon how hard or soft the water is in your area. Hard water means more buildup, so your tankless water heater might need to be cleaned once a year if you want to maximize its lifespan. In areas with softer water, you could get away with cleaning it once every few years. As a result, you should plan on spending around $100 or less per year on maintenance, depending on your local water.


Replacement is where things really get exciting, and when your investment starts to really pay off. The tankless water heater cost may have seemed like a lot initially but remember that you won’t have to pay that again for a long time. Storage tank-style water heaters have to be replaced every 10 to 12 years on average since they are prone to the kind of corrosion that comes from having water sitting around in a metal tank for years on end.

On the other hand, tankless heaters don’t store water, so they can easily last 20 years or more. As a result, someone who bought a storage-tank water heater at the same time as you will have replaced their water heater at least once, and maybe twice more by the time you have to replace yours, as much as tripling their initial costs.

Making a Decision

Ultimately, a tankless water heater will save you money over the long run while helping the environment by wasting less energy, but not everyone will feel comfortable with the initial tankless water heater cost. For more information or to discuss the types of water heaters with a pro, contact your neighborhood plumber today, and one of our experienced Greenwell Plumbing technicians will help you weigh your options and make a decision that’s right for you.