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Guide to Gas Hot Water Heater Prices

A gas hot water heater is a single appliance that can be used to heat both gas and water for activities including cooking, bathing and washing clothes. It's normally a large metal cylinder and most consumers place them in the laundry room or basement. The basic design is a drum that is filled with water and equipped with gas on the bottom to heat the water. The inner part of the gas hot water heater is a heavy metal tank that can accommodate from 40 to 60 gallons of hot water. Other interior components include a dip tube, shut-off valve, drain valve and pressure relief valve. The heating mechanism used in a gas hot water heater is a burner and chimney system. This mechanism stays on until the water reaches a desired temperature. When water heats, it rises to the top of the tank and travels to where it is needed.

The Costs

  • Minimum cost of gas hot water heaters: $510.19
  • Maximum cost of gas hot water heaters: $660.70

Although the majority of gas hot water heaters look identical on the exterior, there can be differences in how the interior design is configured. Basically, the price of a gas hot water heater rises accordingly with the quality. The units with longer warranties normally have thicker insulation and larger heating elements. Most gas hot water heaters are sold based upon the number of gallons that they hold. An example is a family of four that might require up to 85 gallons of hot water per day for purposes of a few showers, running the dishwasher, one laundry load and turning on the faucet about 10 times. The most important rating to consider for gas hot water heaters are the first hour rating (FHR) because this will specify exactly how much water the heater can provide during an exact period. When trying to decide on the size of the unit, a professional can help calculate how much the homeowner will need on average per day.

A gas hot water heater is a single-unit device, which makes it quite easy for the consumer to obtain and compare prices among the different manufacturers. Four of the top manufacturers of gas hot water heaters are GE, Kenmore, Rheem and Whirlpool. Generally, a gas hot water heater will cost approximately $510 to $661 per unit. The more expensive units may include features such as increased energy efficiency, improved tank insulation, faster heating capability and an energy saving temperature control system. Other costs to consider are the labor and supplies that are required to install the unit. The installation of a gas hot water heater usually takes about five hours, with total labor costs running between $307 and $406. In addition, the supplies and necessary tools required to complete the installation will cost between $38 and $46. Altogether, a consumer can expect to pay a total cost between $855 and $1,113 for a gas hot water heater.

The warranty coverage on most gas hot water heaters runs between three to 12 years, and it is advised that consumers select the models that have the longest warranty available. Although these may be a bit more expensive, they normally have larger burners that can speed up the water heating process. As a result, this increases the amount of hot water available.

Advantages of Gas Hot Water Heaters 

A gas hot water heater will cost approximately half as much to run as a comparable electric unit. Therefore, a gas unit may reduce the up-front price difference in as little as one year. If a gas hot water heater goes bad, the unit can easily be replaced with a similar unit for about $500 to $700.

Energy Star tanks are now available for gas hot water heaters. The Energy Star program certifies conventional high efficient gas hot water heaters. Therefore, it is possible to save money on the reduced energy costs.

Gas hot water heaters are easily adapted to solar pre-heat applications, which are becoming extremely popular in modern society. A tank type hot water heater is a necessary element in most of these applications. Gas hot water heaters are easily adapted to recirculation applications.

Disadvantages of Gas Hot Water Heaters

The initial cost for gas hot water heaters is higher than electric hot water heaters. A gas hot water heater is always cycling. Regardless of the energy efficiency, the storage tank runs on a regular basis to heat and reheat the water at a preset temperature. Therefore, the system uses energy to heat water whether or not it is needed by the consumer.

Gas hot water heaters are quite large so the storage tanks take up a significant portion of a room in a home. This is especially a consideration in smaller living arrangements such as those in townhouses and apartments. Since the unit requires a fairly large space for installation, it cannot be placed outside of the home.

Gas hot water heaters may not be able to provide sufficient hot water needs. If the storage tank is not sized correctly for peak demand, the gas hot water heater will run out of hot water before desired. Also, approximately just 70 percent of the hot water in a normal tank is available for use. Gas hot water heaters may be less durable than other options. The life expectancy of most gas hot water heaters is about 12 to 15 years.

Last updated on May 17, 2016

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