Great question. The answer will vary from contractor to contractor but for the most part, you should see a price that falls within the two ranges below.
The cost to install a water heater in Colorado ranges from:
- $2,500 to $11,000 for a tank water heater
- $5,000 to $7,000 for a tankless water heater
Keep in mind though, that there are other factors (beyond tank vs tankless) that dictate how much you’ll pay for a water heater.
In fact, your water heater installation price also depends on:
- The size/capacity of the system
- The efficiency of the system
- The fuel type the water heater uses
- The contractor you hire
To help you budget for your project, we’ll explain how each of the above factors affect the price of a water heater installation.
Want a down-to-the-penny price estimate for your water heater installation? If you live in the Colorado area, just call the Cooper Green Team. We’ll come out to inspect your current system and chat with you about your hot water needs. Then we’ll provide you with exact price estimates for various water heater systems that fit your needs and budget.
Cost factor #1: The size of the system
The “larger” your water heater system, the more it typically costs.
However, the size you need is the size you should purchase. Going with a smaller system than you truly need to save some money will only result in higher energy bills and not getting hot water when you need it most.
Measuring the “size” of a water heater looks different for tank and tankless systems, though.
Tank water heater sizing
When measuring a tank water heater, you’ll want to look at a few different factors:
- The tank’s capacity The tank’s “size” is measured in the max amount of gallons of hot water the tank can hold. For example, an 80-gallon tank system can hold 80 gallons of hot water when it is completely full.
- The recovery rate. The recovery rate is the amount of hot water a tank system can provide one hour after being completely drained. Most manufacturers will standardize this number by assuming that the incoming water would need to be heated up by 90°F before it’s ready for use.
- The first hour rating. This is probably the most useful number to look at because it tells you how many gallons of hot water you can get from your tank if you use it continuously for one hour. The first hour rating is typically a little more than the tank’s capacity (as the tank will continue to refill itself and heat up water as hot water leaves the tank).
Tankless water heater sizing
The size of a tankless water heater is dictated by the:
- Temperature rise you need. This is the amount of degrees you will need your water to be heated before it’s ready to be delivered to you. This number will be different for every homeowner as it depends on the temperature of your incoming water (in Colorado this can range from 41°F to 68°F) as well as your desired hot water temperature (this typically ranges from 100° to 125°F).
- The system’s flow rate. 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 flow rate you need all depends on the number of your water appliances you typically use at the same time. For example, if you typically like to run the dishwasher, take a shower and run the kitchen sink all at the same time, you’d need a tankless system with a high flow rate.
Not sure what size tank or tankless system you might need? Don’t worry, it confuses most people. Just contact the Cooper Green team to help you accurately size your water heater.
Cost factor #2: The efficiency of the system
The more efficient the water heater, the more it will cost.
That said, high-efficiency systems typically save you money on monthly energy bills. And, over the lifetime of the unit, these savings typically more than pay back the higher upfront cost of the system.
A water heater’s efficiency is measured by its UEF rating (Uniform Energy Factor). The higher the UEF rating, the more efficient the system. UEF ratings for water heaters range anywhere from 0.64 to 2.00.
So what’s a “good” UEF? Well it all depends on:
- The kind of water heater you’re looking at (tank vs tankless)
- The fuel type (gas vs electric)
- The capacity of the water heater
The bottom line? Comparing one water heater’s UEF to another is not always an “apples to apples” comparison. We suggest getting a professional’s opinion on the UEF rating that fits your water heater needs and budget.
Cost factor #3: The fuel type
Regardless of the system type (tank vs tankless), gas water heaters are more expensive to install than electric water heaters. That’s because gas systems require extra venting and gas pipes, which can increase the cost of labor and materials.
But keep in mind that gas water heaters cost less to operate on a monthly basis.
That said, many Colorado homeowners opt for a gas-fired water heater over an electric water heater.
Note: Some Colorado homeowners won’t necessarily have a choice for their fuel type. For example, if you don’t have access to natural gas, you’ll likely just install an electric water heater.
Cost factor #4: The contractor you hire
More experienced plumbers often charge more, but they usually offer higher quality installations—which saves you money in the long run.
For example, lower quality contractors may charge less for a water heater installation, but that lower price tag often comes with less experience and know-how. Plus, a lot of contractors offer lower prices but then rush and have to cut corners in order to make a profit. And a rushed job can lead to expensive repeat work, higher monthly energy bills and more frequent repairs.
At Cooper, our customers find that they save more money in the long run by choosing us. That’s because our experience, training and know-how means they get an installation that’s done right the first time around. Plus, we offer the most high-efficiency water heaters available, which saves our customers money over the lifetime of the system.
If you’re looking for a high-quality plumber to install your water heater, make sure that they:
- Are licensed and insured in the state of Colorado to install water heaters
- Are experienced in installations for your specific type of water heater (tank, tankless, etc)
- Can provide upfront price estimates in writing
- Have good reviews on sites like Google, BBB, etc.
Want an estimate for your water heater installation? Call Cooper
The Cooper Green Team has over 42 years of experience matching Colorado homeowners with high-efficiency water heaters that save them money over the lifetime of the system.
When you call us, we’ll schedule a time to inspect your current water heater system and talk with you about your water heater needs. Then, we’ll give you upfront price estimates (in writing) for various water heater systems that match your needs and budget.
Luke Cooper is the General Manager of the Cooper Green team and son of Gary Cooper, owner and CEO of Cooper HVAC. After years in the field, Luke took his talents to management and has helped thousands of Colorado homeowners during hot summers and frigid winters. His decade of experience in the field and guiding the company makes him one of the most knowledgeable individuals in Colorado on HVAC, plumbing, electrical and other home services.